Monday, November 27, 2006

What Next?

After Donald Rumsfeld was summarily dumped after the elections, I wrote that we were watching the beginnings of a rout. Was I wrong?

  • Bush and Maliki discuss a speedier handover of security control to Iraqi forces as a prelude to the start of a U.S. withdrawal when they meet in Jordan this week, top Iraqi government officials said Monday. Meanwhile, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani sought Monday to enlist Iran's help in quelling the escalating violence that threatens to tear apart the country. "We are in dire need of Iran's help in establishing security and stability in Iraq," Iran's state-run television quoted Talabani as saying after he met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran. (AP)
  • Britain, Poland, Italy plan Iraq withdrawal: Thousands of British soldiers will leave Iraq over the next year, significantly downgrading the country's commitment in the region, the defense secretary said Monday. Poland and Italy also announced the impending withdrawal of their remaining troops. (AP/Forbes)
  • Foreign ministers of countries neighbouring Iraq will meet at the Arab League in Cairo on Dec. 5 to talk about ways to stop the violence, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. It will be the first such meeting since nine ministers -- from Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey -- met in the Iranian capital Tehran in July. (Reuters, hat tip: Winds of Change)

This comes at a time when King Abdullah of Jordan is asking the US to hold the region together. King Abdullah of Jordan told journalists that "the Middle East is on the verge of three civil wars -- in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories".

He said that "something dramatic" must come out of George Bush's meeting with Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, to stop the violence. The United States must look at the "big picture" and seek Middle Eastern solutions involving all the regional players, he told ABC's This Week programme. He said there would be another decade or two of violence if a regional peace process was not developed soon.

Now I'm thinking to myself, King Abdullah is going to argue that the American invasion of Iraq unleashed a regional struggle for power between the Sunni and Shi'ites. But I was wrong. Abdullah's exposition makes a ninety degree turn. The core problem isn't Iraq, according to Abdullah, it is Palestine.

Jordan's King Abdullah said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained the "emotional core issue" of the Middle East. Jordan is home to the largest number of Palestinians outside the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Asked if Syria and Iran should be included in an international conference on the Middle East, he said: "the problem is, that America needs to look at it in the total picture. It's not just one issue by itself. Palestine is the core. It is linked to the extent of what's going on in Iraq. It is linked to what's going on in Lebanon. It is linked to the issues that we find ourselves with the Syrians. So, if you want to do comprehensive - comprehensive means bringing all the parties of the region together."

Parenthetically Abdullah's father was responsible for the expulsion of the PLO from Jordan into Lebanon during the Black September in 1971, an incident which illustrates how everything is interconnected. Given his experience, Abdullah can be forgiven for thinking Palestine was the problem and hoping the Palestinians can acquire Israel, the better to get rid of them. Here's the background to Black September.

In Palestinian enclaves and refugee camps in Jordan, the police and army were losing their authority. Uniformed PLO militants openly carried weapons, set up checkpoints and attempted to collect what they called "taxes". ...[an agreement was negotiated to stop this creeping takeover -- Wretchard]

The PLO, reneging on this agreement, acted like a state within a state in Jordan. Between mid-1968 and the end of 1969, no fewer than five hundred violent clashes occurred between the Palestinian guerrillas and Jordanian security forces. Acts of violence against civilians and kidnappings frequently took place. Chief of the Jordanian royal court (and subsequently a Prime Minister) Zaid al-Rifai claimed that "the fedayeen killed a soldier, beheaded him, and played soccer with his head in the area where he used to live." ...

Many elements in the PLO extorted money from merchants at gunpoint under the claim that they were donations to the Palestinian cause. ... The PLO also continued attacking Israel from Jordanian territory without regard to Jordanian authority. Heavy Israeli reprisals resulted in high Jordanian civilian and military casualties. Jordanian soldiers who were on weekend leave were continuously attacked by Palestinians.

When a "regional peace process" works Abdullah will be the first to know. The kindest and fairest thing to say about the Middle East is that everybody's got a beef. And the Jew and more latterly the US provides the inestimable service of being the convenient reason for problems which are at least partly rooted in the warring parties themselves. So Abdullah's strange declaration makes sense in, with apologies to Chester, a "magical realism" kind of way. Viewed from that perspective, it really is America's or Jew's fault that folks are fixing to kill each other in Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. Now some people are inevitably going to ask why, if the Sunnis and Shi'as are dead set on killing each other across the Middle East because of some disturbance caused by the presence of America or Israel (remember this makes sense in some way), the reason this shouldn't be cold-bloodedly regarded as the greatest act of strategic genius since Alexander beat the Persian Empire. A variety of objections come to mind, chiefly to do with morality and the oil security, the preferred order depending on whether you are an idealist or a "realist". I will add a third. The killing's not going to stop and we're not going to stop it. In another era we might not have cared, but the lesson from 9/11 which we have forgotten already is that they will carry their magically realistic hatreds to other shores with unimaginable weapons. And remember, it's always our fault.


Blogger Brother D-Day said...

I agree. It all starts with Palestine.

Push the occupants of Gaza into the sea and build casinos in their place.

The Palestinians are what the Middle East would look like were it to not have oil.

11/27/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Well the US Democratic Congress has orchestrated a cut and run debacle in Iraq before even being sworn in! Now that is quite an achievement! And no, Iraq won't be a debacle until it becomes a complete rout--when the Americans withdraw in ignominy. Joy to the US Democratic Party.

11/27/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

desert rat said...
Bill Roggio reports,

" ... The Anbar Salvation Council was formed in September of 2006 and has made progress in working with the U.S. military in Ramadi and throughout western Iraq. Several foreign al-Qaeda have been kiled and captured.

In an effort to counter the Anbar Salvation Council and Iraqify the jihad, al-Qaeda formed the "Mutayibeen Coalition," which is comprised of al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Mujahideen Shura, six Anbar tribes and some minor insurgent groups. ..."

Now one wonders, we obviously know which six tribes are allied with the aQ. Why are we not clearing and holding the areas controlled by those tribes, then destroying their holdings?

When that is seen, the tide could be turning. Until it is seen, the announcements and proclamations from DC or Baghdad will carry little weight.

11/27/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Democratic Party hegemony in Washington DC before they even take Power or have to vote on an issue.

Woe is that lame duck now, wow, al fin, the Holiday duldrums have really got you down.

We are just pulling into Port, why the "long faces"? It was all charted, the course well known.
Where else did you all think we were coming ashore?
Who but Iraqi were coming to the relief of US troops, no one here seriously thought we'd maintain the Op tempo of 150,000 troops deployeed at $1 Billion USD per month indefinately, waiting to catch another aQ fly, did you, really?

11/27/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It's closer, I guess to $1 Billion USD per week, but who'se counting, anyway?

11/27/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Kremlin Murders
James Jesus Angelton on Alexander Litvinenko.
By Michael Ledeen
ML: Yes, I know Bukovsky well. He was one of the bravest anti-Soviet dissidents, spent over a decade in the Gulag, underwent torture with chemical agents, and somehow emerged stronger than ever. Gordievsky I think I met once; he was the KGB’s man in London until he defected. They both know a lot, and they have friends in Russia who know even more.

JJA: There you go. Good sources, good men. Anyway, they pointed out that a new law had just been rushed through the duma that permitted the use of the secret services as “death squads” to eliminate “extremists” anywhere in the world. And then a law on “extremism” was amended so that anyone who says or writes something “libelous” about Putin’s government
ML: Good grief. So according to Russian law...

JJA: According to Russian law, anyone who criticizes Putin can be killed. And that letter was quite prophetic, because they wrote that “a stage is set for any critic of Putin’s here (that is, in England), especially those campaigning against Russian genocide in Chechnya, to have an appointment with a poison-tipped umbrella...”

ML: Yeah, except that it wasn’t an umbrella this time. It was a very rare radioactive substance, discovered by Marie Curie and named after her native country.

JJA: Yeah, Polonium.

ML: How did they know what dose to use? I shudder to think they had tested it on humans.

JJA: Perhaps they did. They’re very methodical, after all, my old adversaries. They would have wanted to be quite sure they would succeed, and I think they had a pretty high confidence level.

ML: So you think they tested it.

JJA: Here’s an article from Le Monde on November 25, bylined Moscow, written by Marie Jego, entitled “The Poisons of the Kremlin.” She says that a Russian parliamentarian who had been snooping into the peculiar bombings in Russia in 1999, the ones that justified Putin’s massive attack on Chechnya, came down with terrible headaches in June 2003. A week later he was in the hospital, and his symptoms sound just like Litvinenko’s: “Hair loss...drop in the number of white blood cells, cardiac problems...

JJA: Putin’s birthday.

ML: Next thing you’ll tell me that Litvinenko was poisoned on an auspicious date.

JJA: It seems to have been the anniversary of his flight from Russia.

ML: You must be kidding.

JJA: Me? Joke about the files? Not bloody likely...

I knew I’d made a mistake as soon as “kidding” came out of my mouth. I almost got burned by an eruption of sparks from the ouija, but after a torrent of static and fragments of words unsuitable for a family blog, I got him to calm down for another minute.

JJA: Some of these damn policymakers should listen more carefully to Natan Sharansky, you know.

ML: I thought they did. Bush had him as a guest of honor in the Oval Office.

JJA: Yeah, he let him in the room, but he didn’t pay attention.

ML: You mean Sharansky’s insistence that you cannot possibly have a meaningful peace with leaders who oppress, kill, and torture their own people.

JJA: Exactly. Those leaders will always hate America and always try to destroy us.

ML: So you agree with Bukovsky and Gordievsky that the other G8 leaders should have either cancelled the summit or demanded that Putin revoke his license to kill his critics.

JJA: Damn right. And somebody ought to tell Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton that it is utterly unrealistic to talk about peace with the likes of Assad and Khamenei, who are the Middle East versions of Putin.

11/27/2006 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


For a long time now the US has been ensuring the security of Chinese, European and Japanese oil. Parking the fleet in the Persian Gulf. Holding off the Soviets in Europe. Holding off the N. Koreans in South Korea. There were defeats here and there, but by and large the US didn't run off and in the long run America prevailed.

This particular rout is a result of policies the voters have chosen in the last election. The Dems are taking credit for withdrawal. Let's just make sure they get all the credit. Fair's fair.

11/27/2006 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ledeen's son, a Marine, is back from Iraq, but still has plenty of time for redeployment.
Let's hope he is better served by the command next time around.
God Bless Them All.

11/27/2006 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wretchard -
Bush still had public support when many of us were calling for action to be taken against sanctuaries in Iraq and Syria, and calling for Sadr, who had a murder warrant outstanding and was killing our troops to be dealt with AT THAT TIME.
(When His "Militia" consisted of about 40 Yuts.)
He did not!
I'll defend Nancy that far and no farther.

11/27/2006 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Wretchard wrote: "This particular rout is a result of policies the voters have chosen in the last election."

Really, Wretchard? When I cast my vote, there were lots of ballot items but not a single one saying "Do you want the US to cut & run from Iraq?" There was no national party with a clear unified platform of "Cut & Run". The closest anyone had to a straight vote on Iraq was the choice facing the generally liberal voters of Connecticut -- who stomped all over anti-war Democrat Lamont to vote for Independent Lieberman in a landslide.

The Media of course ignores facts, and recycles the same old garbage supported by biased exit polls or by nothing at all. Don't let their enthusiasm for their cause mislead you.

The American people did not choose a "Cut & Run" policy in the last election -- and the Democrats know it; otherwise, implementing "Cut & Run" would be the first item on their agenda for the new Congress.

11/27/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

There's an urgent meme now on the lib op-ed pages that no dominoes ever fell after Vietnam.

That's why we shouldn't worry now.

The 70's never happened. America and the West in general is invulnerable, nothing can really be much of a bother. History ended in the 90's, don't you remember?

Surely you do, Pres. Clinton had Arafat to the White House more often than Monica, and finally crafted a peace accord with those damnable Israelites. I specifically remember the Palestinians celebrated in their traditional intifada. Intifada means "peaceful happy joy joy" - doesn't it?

- - -

So yes, let's concentrate on Palestine, that lulled America back to sleep all during the 90's. Pay no attention to those funny characters in the Nativity outfits in all those weird faraway desert worlds.

11/27/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I just don't see where Sunni's killing Shiites, Shiites killing Sunni's, and Hamas, Hizbollah and all the other Palestinian terrorists killing each other is a bad thing either for America or for democracy as a whole. Wretchard says we can't ignore them, but surely if they're busy ducking each other's IED's and beheadings and power-drills, how are they ever gonna have the time to come after us again?

I don't think we should cut and run, but I do definitely think we should draw behind some very thick and tall walls and hunker down while they have at each other.

If I was Mr. Bush, I'd be telling King Abdullah that if we interfere in these internicine massacrees, surely that would be disrespecting the will of the "Arab Street", and that as partners and adults, we need to do them the courtesy of assuming they know what they're doing and let them do it. If that means that the Palestinians and/or Hizbollah are going to go after Israel again and become stomped in reply, so be it.

However, we *will* stomp France if they start shooting down Israel planes, since they are in our sphere of influence. (I know they're really not, but let's not let the Arabs know that.)

Abdullah is absolutely right about the three potential civil wars, but I think he's resolutely ignoring the rumblings coming out of Egypt, the unhappiness of the Shiites and the Sunni's with each other in Bahrain, and the fact that Saudi's are now whisking their hard-earned bribes out of the country in suitcases because they don't trust the international banking system.

The whole Middle East is teetering ... and isn't it a PRETTY sight, though?!?

11/27/2006 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

“Fair’s fair”

How did I miss this?!

The Republicans took control of the Congress in 1995. The Bush administration took control of the executive in 2001. Since October 2001, the administration in conjunction with a Republican dominated Congress has successfully conducted two major wars and a host of other international actions.

Since “Fair’s fair”, the new, unsworn Democratic Congress must get credit for these successes? Otherwise, it would appear that what passes for Republican leadership is looking for a scapegoat to carry the sin of the failure of its “Democracy Projects.”

We can’t have that, if “Fair’s fair.” It must be all or none.

Republicans should avoid foolishly jumping the gun; Madame Pelosi is just about as bright as Madame Rice. There will be ample criticism for one and all.

Oh, one final thought: “rot” seems so much more apropos the occasion than “rout”. “Rout” requires the breakdown of an orderly process.

11/27/2006 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


re: Good King Abdullah II

You know, I am sure, that the little monarch is no more interested in the Palestinians than were his father and grandfather. Like them, however, he is interested in keeping his tiny hinny on the throne. Moreover, the Jews are always the target of convenience for Muslim autocrats with their turbans in the wringer. Mr. Baker likes things that way.

We should all give thanks that the President did not appoint a Baker- Brzezinski Committee. There have never been two more Jew hating Secretaries of State than these.

11/27/2006 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> The American people did not choose a "Cut & Run" policy in the last election -- and the Democrats know it

Very true. It has been discussed here in detail how the voters didn't choose that, and how the majority of the Democrats aren't looking to cut and run.

The biggest problem since the election has been the continued lack of leadership by President Bush. Even though he still has the votes in Congress to fight the war, Bush has acted like a deer caught in the headlights ever since the election. Bush fired Rumsfeld the day after the election, announced he is reviewing the war plan, and hasn't said a strong word for continuing the war on terror since then. If Bush had talked the way Democratic Senator Leiberman has, Iran & Syria would never have been so confident.

Indeed, some of Bush's supporters have the theory that he is deliberately acting like a wimp in order to bait Iran into turning the world against it.

Few of my fellow conservative republicans totally trust President Bush on issues like cutting government spending & programs, amnesty for illegal aliens, and appointing conservative judges. I don't see why we must automatically assume that Bush is the ideal commander in chief, and the perfect war fighter.

11/27/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kinuachdrach wrote: The American people did not choose a "Cut & Run" policy in the last election -- and the Democrats know it; otherwise, implementing "Cut & Run" would be the first item on their agenda for the new Congress.

As Colbert quipped, If people were voting on Iraq, was there actually a lever in the booth that said “Surrender?”

allen wrote: You know, I am sure, that the little monarch is no more interested in the Palestinians than were his father and grandfather. Like them, however, he is interested in keeping his tiny hinny on the throne. Moreover, the Jews are always the target of convenience for Muslim autocrats with their turbans in the wringer.

Abdullah probably fears that the current intellectual argument that this is indeed a world war between Shiites and Sunnis will gain credence and support within Jordan itself and drag it unwillingly into sectarian conflict - opening the floodgates for Palestinian terrorists to perpetuate not just a Black September but a Black Year, or Decade. You get the idea.

That explains why he is quick to point out the localised natures of conflict: of THREE separate civil wars instead of a global struggle for religious domination within Islam.

Abdullah hoped al-Maliki would have ideas for Bush on how to be "inclusive" in bringing together different groups in Iraq.

"And they need to do it now, because, obviously, as we're seeing, things are beginning to spiral out of control ... there needs to be some very strong action taken on the ground there today," he said.

Abdullah expects Maliki to do a Black September in Iraq. Not a chance.

Scapegoating the US while ignoring the core problem that is Iran only serves to cover Abdullah's behind, but the king himself doesn't realise by drawing the cloak of delusion over himself and Jordanians, he's not going to see what's coming when Iran decides to work on Jordan and Egypt. By work, I don't mean diplomatically.

11/27/2006 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Do you ever have the feeling that the world's so-called leaders still believe it is 1 August 1914? It is, instead, 1 November 1914. The Devil is unbound and nothing will do now but to subdue him. King Abdullah, among the other autocrats of the ME, will not survive to see 11 November 1918.

11/27/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Sorry for failing to say I enjoy your posts.

11/27/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


You really need to examine the relationships that existed for centuries prior to the establishment of the "Zionist entity". When you have, we can talk.

As to the Jordanian "refugee" utopia you so blithely reference, consider,

"Addressing their special relationship with the Jordanian Government, refugees express a set of clear-cut demands:

___to stop the discrimination between Palestinian refugees who are citizens of Jordan, and persons of Jordanian origin, especially in public sector employment."

*Jordanian Unemployment '98*
___Average/all citizens (including Palestinian refugees) 14.7%*
___Average/citizens of Jordanian origin 5.2%*
___Average/13 refugee camps 20.8%


C4, do note the usage of "refugee camps". In Israel, Palestinians are neither housed in refugee camps nor concentration camps. Indeed, they are full fledged citizens, with some number serving as MKs. Moreover, very few of Israel's Arabs are terribly interested finding themselves governed by the PA, or Jordan for that matter. Why is that?

You may recall that the West Bank once was allegedly Jordanian territory. Rather than deal with those peace loving Palestinians, whose struggle you so admire, the Jordanians, without a shot being fired, voluntarily surrendered all claims to sovereignty.

While I fully appreciate your high regard for your own opinions, humor me and provide a link occasionally. You know, I don't want to have the impression that you are a bigoted nutjob.

For the entertainment and enlightenment of BC regulars, I post a collage of photos showing the state of civilization of your Palestinian “Special Friends”. If you find anything even remotely similar among the population of America’s “Special Friend”, do post.

Momma, don’t let your babies grow up to be Jihadis


11/27/2006 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...been the continued lack of leadership by President Bush.

So if we have a world-wide war of Muslim vs. Muslim becoming ever more likely, I take it we are absolutely rejecting the idea that that was the plan from the get-go, and Mr. Bush is resolutely holding steady and not rocking the boat because it's all unfolding as planned and he doesn't want to derail the coming inter-Islam bloodbath?

11/27/2006 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger IceCold said...

So many chickens being counted, not a single one yet hatched.

So far the only rout (multifarious) has been of:

1) the intolerable and uncontainable (post-9/11) former Iraqi regime

2) the odd de facto alliance of MidEast despots, jihadis, and western naysayers who believed the US would never take bold action such as that noted in (1), above - this completes the beginning of the rout begun by a similar act in 1991

3) the jihadi and "insurgent" forces, whenever they come into contact with Coalition forces

No one's "cut and run" from anywhere, and its most unlikely anyone will. The delusional meanderings and obsessions of the MSM, Beltway lightweights, and others mean nothing. The decisions will be made by those who took the bold decisions to begin with.

Oh, one more element that's been routed - though tragically no one seems to have noticed. The US military (particularly the Army's) approach of all finesse and leverage, and very little force, in quelling vicious and desperate opponents. We've probably got the finest military ever to take the field, but much of their leadership has disastrously unrealistic ideas of how to win a war. The relentless search for non-military solutions troubles many officers and other observers, and we can only hope that this peculiar flaw will be bred out of the system after Iraq.

Meanwhile, remember the date and this comment, and when the great non-event, non-course-correction occurs a few weeks hence, don't say you weren't warned ....

11/27/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


I respect what you say, and hope with all my might that you are proven entirely right. As a citizen, nothing would bring me greater joy than to find my low opinion of the President's character repudiated by the future you predict.

Having said that, allow me to offer a thought for folk to start getting their heads around. If Mr. Bush makes a deal that leaves the Republican base angry and vulnerable, I predict that the base will join with interested Democrats to impeach the President. Mind you, I do not imply his removal from office; rather, his ostracism.

I cannot imagine the Republican movers and shakers wanting to go into the 2008 election with the blood of 500,000-1,000,000 Iraqis on there hands because of a botched deal that left Iraq open to unrestrained civil war and the depredations of a three pronged thrust by Turkey, Syria, and Iran. Additionally, the Republicans will not want to take the blame for a ME where Iran controls the Strait of Hormuz and the distribution of the petroleum resources of Iraq and the KSA.

11/27/2006 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> The US military (particularly the Army's) approach of all finesse and leverage, and very little force, in quelling vicious and desperate opponents.

I see the problem as being the exact opposite. Strong force was used properly and successfully to eliminate Saddam's regime.

However at that point the administration blew it by continuing to operate as a conventional occupation force, instead of switching to a counter insurgency operation which was based largely on finesse. Bush seemed to treat Iraq as a colony, like it was going to be the 51st state, instead of treating it with finesse.

For example, the Bush administration could have been talking about elections from day 1, and could have set up an Iraqi government with exiles or Sistani & others early on. But instead Bush held off on elections until Sistani forced them by kicking and screaming, while Paul Bremer tried to run Iraq as a colony.

After the early days of the invasion, the Bush administration didn't do anything properly, because they had no plan. There was no unified command, so each army or marine group used whatever balance of force or counter-insurgency it wanted to.

11/28/2006 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

We should have had the attitude from the very beginning that we were liberators, not occupiers. The attitude should have been that we were in Iraq for a few specific reasons, and other than that we were going to turn control back to the Iraqi people, and would keep our heads down and stay out of their way.

We came to eliminate Saddam's regime, weapons of mass destruction, and to hunt global terrorists. It should have been realized that every thing we did besides that was a threat to the Iraqis and bred the insurgency. It wasn't our job to patrol Iraq, presence patrol for years. That is occupation, not liberation. The first thing we should have been done was contact local tribes and leaders to get them to take over the policing, instead of endless presence patrols by the US troops. We should have realized that Iraqis don't like to see foreign troops controlling their territory, just like we wouldn't like occupation troops in the US.

Now, years later, the Bush administration has finally realized that we get better results by training and working with locals instead of doing everything ourselves. They now support elections. Now that it is three years too late.

11/28/2006 01:47:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Wu Wei, you're right that things are exactly opposite as posited by icecold re: force but Good God Almighty, everything hasn't been done "wrong" since Saddam was toppled. Quite the contrary. There was no "right" way to go forward. Isn't that blatantly obvious by now? Still, we had no choice but to go forward in Iraq.

As for these USMC or Marine Corps sycophants, those of the velvet glove absurdities (talk about finesse and leverage!) who must slip in some critique the Army because (apparently) of their own insecurities, how about admitting that the Fedayeen never gave a damn about any Western style counterinsurgency crap or Marine lessons learned from Vietnam that are completely irrelevant to this conflict and this part of the world.

We Wei, you seem to still disrespect how skillfully the Iranians and Russians have planned to oppose us in Iraq. This is a major failing of the Democrats as well.

None of the present situation is about a right or wrong plan and only our own hubris blinds us from this fact. It is now and always has been about taking action and breaking a medieval stalemate in a region that has to be nudged forward into modernity. We are opposed by the enemies of freedom and they have the benefit of not operating under the weaknesses of democracy.

It helps them in the short-term, but they will lose in the long-term. It isn't three years too late, it has taken a few years to prepare the ground to move forward and there is no possible way this process could have been shortened. The path could have been changed to suit your bias but neither the length of time nor the current political/governmental landscape in Iraq would have changed.

11/28/2006 07:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ice cold wrote: So far the only rout (multifarious) has been of:

3) the jihadi and "insurgent" forces, whenever they come into contact with Coalition forces

I wouldn't call those fierce firefights as simply routs. The sheer propensity of these forces to retaliate and sustain prolonged battles with the Iraqi and US forces on the ground has been clearly underestimated.

The MSM would rather have us believe that it is the sectarians who are carrying out the rout and rendering our "feeble" proto-counterinsurgency troops ineffectual and utterly incompetent in that aspect - of course, that is an exaggeration as saturated with untruth as that perpetuated by those who thought fighting the insurgency would be a piece of cake - and continue to do so at the soldiers' peril.

wu wei wrote: The first thing we should have been done was contact local tribes and leaders to get them to take over the policing, instead of endless presence patrols by the US troops.

I'm surprised that we didn't execute that principle when we first entered Iraq, seizing the precedent as we did in Afghanistan, where we enlisted the help of the Northern Alliance against the Taliban. The historical chronicity of warlordism and factionalism presented us with a chance to play upon internal rivalries.

Though the situation in Afghanistan (the "good" war) has been encouraging at best, it seems that such an outcome is the optimum result that we may be able to achieve without threatening the fragility of the liberal democratic ideological superstructure upon which Karzai's government is based on. We might have to accept that Arabs - with all their internecine rivalries and deep mistrust of each other - might be more contented with anarchical order.

Personally, I'm not sure whether the Iraqi scenario has already crossed this moment in time. al-Sadr is attempting to engineer the facade (or is it?) of a united Shiite insurgent front, helmed by the Mahdi Army, one sectarian ideology of hatred to rule them all.

Should this discourage us from attempting to find and exploit the chinks in al-Sadr's armour? Obviously not - though we should have very clear expectations where that course of exploitative, divisive action may very well take us: anarchy in Iraq, with Shiites less concerned about Sunnis but more about fellow Shiite co-religionists.

If we are ever to consider funding any such sects, let's not be foolish and empower any specific group. The key is anarchical order, not hegemonic power.

11/28/2006 05:40:00 PM  

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