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December 09, 2006

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ajacksonian

I've seen the basic tribal outlay maps and geneology maps... you don't get three regions in Iraq. What you can get are multi-province alignments that shift over time based on ethnicity and tribal affiliation with some generalized religious overlay. But with 3-4 Shia factions, at least 3 Sunni factions, all on the Arab side and 1 Kurdish faction, you start to see a different sort of map appear. Three regional federal areas you do *not* get out of that. 18 Provinces divided amongst tribal based factions and some religious adherance starts to look more like it, with demographics shifting power north and south, generally away from the Sunni areas.

Sooner or later the Sunnis will either have to realize that they can get their act together and play a new role in Iraq or end up having to become a faster dwindling minority than they already are. Their place at the table is set, if they can keep a coherent concept across their tribes.

What is that setting when you have multiple factions all nearly able to get a majority, but unable to do so because of bickering and intense, internecine strife?

Kingmaker.

Its not a bad seat, really, as no matter who you choose to win, you still get a small portion of the spoils and your favor is *sought* by the other sides. The 25 pro-government aligned tribes against the 6 insurgent tribes in Anbar will probably be the key to it. If the 6 basically are marginalized and defanged, then the Sunnis can re-organize and reorient themselves out of the 'rulership' idea. I am sure that they would love the role of deciding who rules, and who doesn't...

TCO

(Literally) kill Saddam, and then do a phased withdrawal. That works for me.

dad29

I think that hunting/killing AlQuaeda is much more palatable to the US population than is "planting democracy."

It's been reported that there are Shi'ite 'death squads' already taking out recalcitrant Sunnis all over Iraq.

So OK. Too bad for the Sunnis.

Save our power and resources for the AlQ jackals.

Sem

Kurdistan is the goal of all the plans, with the exception of another Saddam. So, why did we get rid of Saddam, someone like the Shah that we put in power? Royals would like to beleive he wasn't and that is why, but they know in the long run they are just like Saddam to the US and probably will get the same fate in spite of all the diplomatic games played to make them think otherwise.

Kurdistan is what everyone but the US and Iraq want to divide. Taking it over will always be a goal of Turkey as evidenced by all the spies they sent during the war, so why would they change? Turkey no longer has any claim to Kurdistan and neither do the surrounding countries. Thinking other wise is not realistic.

Sacrificing Kurdistan to the surrounding countries is a quick way to appease them, but if Iraq is too divided, it may already be the goal with Iraq as a united country, so why appease?

A strong man might work if some type of royal line could be tied to him, but that will never be the case. Another Saddam is a mistake and unity must be complete or Kurdistan will be sold off, leading to division, so Kurdistan cannot be anything but an equal partner regardless of tribes and religions.

Unity has to be created in spite of tribes and religions and this is where Iraq apparently fails. Tribes and religions are confused with political parties and a division here is necessary as we see in the US.

So, why is everybody focusing on Kurdistan?


============================================
Death squads became the Iraqi police. They became popular after Plame confirmed who she was in 'Vanity Fair' and they immeditely assassinated 10 operations officers in Iraq. Most of those were either arrested or killed after Madrdid ended its investigation of the bombing and went to trial. Death squads are going to be the resposibility of the police, but its hard to see them ever being effective after the Plame assassinations-they made a big bet and it paid off in Madrid, costing us an ally, but that may be more America and the CIA's fault rather than a loyal Iraqi police force trying to protect it's country the best way it knew how. Saddam had less to do with this than most think and killing him is really a waste. A Spandau with tourists is better idea. But, maybe we shouldn't talk too much about 'the devils' paintbrush.'

Cecil Turner

I don't really see why a "strongman" would be better . . . the need is for a stronger government, and democracies have historically been as ruthless as anyone when pursuing national goals. There's already an elected government in place, a dictatorship isn't a plus. It's also a bit silly to pine for a strongman when our support for the current government is apparently dependent on their making concessions to the insurgency sponsors. If we wonder at the source of their wimpiness, a look in the mirror is probably warranted.

Partition rewards the minorities (predominantly the Sunnis). Adding in oil revenue is icing on the cake. It both rewards the insurgency and ensures an active terror sponsor will emerge, and prosper, with close ties to Al Qaeda. It's about as bad an idea as possible from the standpoint of our national security (unless we want to send in Jimmy Carter to negotiate a nuclear powerplants-cum-enrichment program . . .).

If the "chaos" in Iraq results in lots of dead terrorists, that's all good. Rather than station soldiers in trouble spots trying to keep the lid on, I'd suggest we can more actively target the bad actors (with suitably loose ROE). Adding in more troops without changing the mission is a recipe for more Coalition casualties . . . and not much else.

TCO

The issues in Iraq are not well countered by traditional firepower. The country needs to be controlled by police force, secret police, reprisals, etc. Adding more US troops will not do anything. We have the ability to prevent other actors from entering, to take peices of territory (for peices of time) and to act against any large, open assembled groups. We already have that. We don't need more troops to have that.

Forget changing the rules or "loosening ROE". It will not happen and I'm not even sure it should happen. Our troops will abide by the law of war, will not murder in reprisal, etc. Considering that we will as an option is clueless.

Jeff

So, if I must order off of this menu, I would pick the 80% Solution. The goal would be a Shiite government strong enough to more or less present the Sunnis with their own state and oil revenue stream.

"The goal"? Whose goal? Yours? Fine. It's a great goal. But the 80% minus Shiites' goal? Please. Did you listen to a word Hakim said in DC last week? Who is going to persuade the 80% minus Shiites to share your goal, instead of taking the chillingly and aptly named 80% solution itself as the goal? Your shiny magic unicorn?

And while we're at it, who is going to persuade the Sunnis who dominate the Muslim world to stand by while your good Shiites implement the 80% solution in Iraq? Dick Cheney and his own personal shiny unicorn?

And if anyone responds that a Shiite-Sunni regional war would be fine, they'd be killing each other instead of targeting us, you are moronically unserious and unstrategic, to say nothing of immoral.

Cecil Turner

Did you listen to a word Hakim said in DC last week?

You mean this stuff?

The only way to eliminate the danger of a civil war, he added, was through "decisive strikes" against insurgents once loyal to former leader Saddam Hussein. "Otherwise we'll continue to witness massacres ... against innocent Iraqis."
Because it looks pretty much spot-on to me.

And while we're at it, who is going to persuade the Sunnis who dominate the Muslim world to stand by while your good Shiites implement the 80% solution in Iraq?

Oh please. They're already pumping men and money into the mix at nearly the limit of their abilities. Pretending the "Arab street" is going to "rise up" in some militarily effective frenzy is laughable. The idea that the attacks on civilians are predominantly Shia sponsored, or that we need to protect the Sunnis because they're losing their edge in mass murder is equally risible.

And if anyone responds that a Shiite-Sunni regional war would be fine, they'd be killing each other instead of targeting us . . .

It's just as much a "regional war" as it is a "civil war" now. Further, as it stands now, they're killing each other and targeting us. Reducing that to a single dimension is an improvement.

Jeff

Cecil - with the Plame stuff, your utter and selective literal-mindedness is fine if annoying. Here it's just insane. Do you really think Hakim would come to DC for his tryout and give voice overtly and with no ambiguity to his murderous intentions toward the Sunnis? Did you see the laughable answer he gave when pressed on the Badr Brigades involved in death squads, murderous violence and so on?

I said nothing about the Arab street rising up and going to fight in Iraq, and that's not what I had in mind. And of course I'm not saying the attacks on civilians are predominantly Shia-sponsored, I'm saying the 5.2 million Sunnis in Iraq will be in terrible and much worse trouble if we let OVP follow through with its 80% solution and unleash the Shias.

And it's not just as much a regional war as a civil war now, compared to what it is likely to be if OVP unleashes the Shias and sanctions the 80% solution. And likewise, what we see now is nothing compared to what would happen if there were full-blown all-out civil war, especially if we've beefed up the ISF into a powerful Shia- and Kurd-dominated force and unleashed them on the Sunnis.

TCO

I'm not IN FAVOR of them killing each other. I'm just not WILLING to stand between them.

clarice

Capt Ed notes one problem:
"Obstacles still exist. Revenue sharing will rely on an accurate census, a topic that has been avoided since the end of Saddam Hussein's rule. The very attempt to conduct a census could destabilize the nation, especially if the counts differ significantly from the commonly-accepted ratios of the various ethnic/sectarian demographics. Security problems will also make it difficult to accurately count everyone, and the vast wealth that will be at stake will no doubt inspire plenty of cheating. The commission proposes to use the numbers from Saddam's rationing programs, but no doubt those favored the Sunnis.

Nonetheless, this is an important step to stabilization for the Iraqis. They need to iron out the rest of the related issues quickly and pass the law. If the government can successfully implement this and start delivering revenue to all Iraqis, they can quickly build confidence in their ability to properly govern the entire nation."

http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/008664.php

Cecil Turner

Cecil - with the Plame stuff, your utter and selective literal-mindedness is fine if annoying. Here it's just insane.

Jeff - your insistence on prefacing any argument with lame personal insults is annoying. Why not do something novel, and stick to the substance?

Do you really think Hakim would come to DC for his tryout and give voice overtly and with no ambiguity to his murderous intentions toward the Sunnis?

Your apparent position is that Hakim was talking around his nefarious plan for mass-murder of the Sunnis. It'd be a lot more compelling if there wasn't already a far more effective, and longer-lasting, mass-murder campaign by the Sunnis against the Shia. Now that numbers are finally beginning to tell, the utterly frenzied hand-wringing is misplaced.

And likewise, what we see now is nothing compared to what would happen if there were full-blown all-out civil war, especially if we've beefed up the ISF into a powerful Shia- and Kurd-dominated force and unleashed them on the Sunnis.

And yet, when we scan the daily news, the incessant explosions predominantly target Shia areas (or Coalition forces in Sunni areas):

  • Iraqi police say a car bomb has killed at least five people and wounded 44 others near a revered shrine in the Shi’ite holy city of Karbala . . .
  • Officials in the Iraqi capital say a mortar attack on a mostly Shi’ite neighborhood killed 25 people. And at least three people died in a car bomb explosion in the northern city of Mosul . . .
  • The U.S. military says an American soldier died today in western Anbar province from combat wounds.
Expecting the Shias to put up with this sort of thing forever is silly. And crying about a hypothetical (though entirely possible) slaughter of Sunnis, whilst the slaughter of Shias is ongoing, is similarly hard to credit. And to my mind, our reaction ought to be precisely what Mr Hakim recommended:"'decisive strikes' against insurgents."

SunnyDay

CQ also noted this, speaking of "behind the door."

This is the new era of transparency in government? Bush administration is too secretive?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA

Barney Frank

And if anyone responds that a Shiite-Sunni regional war would be fine, they'd be killing each other instead of targeting us, you are moronically unserious and unstrategic, to say nothing of immoral.

Liberals hailed Nixon's visit to China, one of the purposes of which was to exacerbate the schism within communism in a very serious and strategic manner. And it carried with it the very real possibility of some type of war between China and the USSR. Since it is apparent that Iran and Syria and their proxies are quite intent on waging war against us regardless of whether we choose to believe them, and that the other actors in tghe area are overwhelmingly hostile to our interests, what precisely would be unserious, unstrategic or immoral if, having exhusted all other options, we precipitated a war amongst our enemies?

Aaron

Imagine intervening in Bosnia in the 1990's but with the demand that Yugoslavia must not be broken up. Yeah right. Serbian provinces = Anbar. Bosniaks/Kosovars = Shia.

Support the Shia to the hilt. Screw the Sunnis.

Reasons:

1. Shias will actually prefer our support to Irans. THus we cut of Iranian influence.

2. Sunnis need to be taught a lesson. Think about how this will play to all the Jihadis.

Martin

We've been in Iraq for almost 4 years and our new plan is to make "decisive strikes" against insurgents?!

That says it all really.

Cecil Turner

That says it all really.

It does, unfortunately. Especially when the proposed alternatives inlcude silliness like Biden's plan "bind[ing] the Sunnis to the deal by guaranteeing them a proportionate share of oil revenue." Of course, what can you expect from a party whose leaders think Al Qaeda in Iraq doesn't exist (parroted by Tim Russert and Al Jazeera), and who can't reliably tell which of Al Qaeda or Hezbollah are predominantly Sunni. Kinda sad, actually.

Carol_Herman

The "KICK IN THE PANTS" solution!

Maliki thinks Bush is backing the Saudis! Who are the sunni's in Iraq. And, who caused all the havoc these past few years. Maliki TOLD the Americans to back of Sadr! He didn't want the Americans dealling a blow to the very people who were taking Sunni (Saudi) terror seriously. And, who've managed to move out the sunni's from Iraqi teritory. Leaving them at most, in the future, with the sands down south. A nice border arrangements, where they can kiss their pals, the Kuwaitis. And, beg for a share of "oil money."

BARKING AT THE DOOR, aren't the Iranians. But the Chinese. And, the Russians. And, all the other countries (like france and britain), who "could halp" Iraq retrieve her oil wealth. And, build up a "SOCK IT TO EM" PUNCH to the Saudis.

Who, funny enough, seem to be directing American Military might in Iraq; even though they gave us 9/11. (And, other headaches.)

Maliki is not through kicking the shi't out of Bush. There is an anger level in Iraq, now, that is palpable against junior, in the white house. AND, ALL THE THINGS HE DID WRONG.

If you think Jimmy Carter was our worst president, ever. Hold up on the awards ceremony. The contest winner may be Bush #43. Who carries his dad's parachute.

Pete

The irony of this all is that to deal with 9/11 which was a result of a VERY SMALL and VERY DISGRUNTLED minority which hated us with a passion, the Iraq war is going to create a lot more disgruntled people whom we are providing ample reasons to hate us with a passion.

The Saudis are already raising the alarm bells and even summoned Cheney to Riyadh to discuss the situation in Iraq. Furthemore the Saudis are privately funding the Sunnis in Iraq. This could destabilize the entire region and would be very harmful to our interests in the region.

Realistically - the Shias are a majority in Iraq and would gain power, but the Shias in Iraq are going to be far more aligned with Iran than with us. In a conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, would Iraq support Iran and Hezbollah or would it support us? Even when they depended on us, Iraq publicly supported Hezbollah and snubbed us. I guess this was a scenario that the neocons never even considered when they pushed for the war.

The news article aptly called the Bush administration groping for a viable new strategy.

wrd

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim was at US Institute for Peace
http://www.usip.org/building/index.html

blessing the new iraq war memorial and claiming that Saddam's iraqi police are still out there doing evil and must be stopped..........

This looks real good to everybody, but the problem is it's an obvious agreement that if Bush called on the ISG, which was created by the US Institute for Peace, we were leaving Iraq and Congress would back it. Iran immediately bought missiles and China signed a 100 billion dollar oil deal(ya, we can bomb now).

US Institute for Peace created an agreement with Congress and the administration for the withdraw from Iraq and, just like Abdul Aziz al-Hakim is saying he bought it all and wants to be paid, so is the US Institute for Peace. It's wrong that the agreement was there and Congress would agree to work around the DOD.

Somehing wants me to say Plames work there too, but, hey, they're worser.

Cecil Turner

The irony of this all is that to deal with 9/11 which was a result of a VERY SMALL and VERY DISGRUNTLED minority which hated us with a passion, the Iraq war is going to create a lot more disgruntled people whom we are providing ample reasons to hate us with a passion.

Oh nonsense. The WaPo was trying to sell the same hogwash back in '04: Poll Shows Growing Arab Rancor at U.S. . But if when you get down to the seventh paragraph, you see the quantitative shift, and it's hardly earth-shattering:

In Zogby's 2002 survey, 76 percent of Egyptians had a negative attitude toward the United States, compared with 98 percent this year.
Roughly translated: more than 3/4 of 'em hated us before the Iraq War. (During that heady little period when we had all that "sympathy" for 9/11.) Only then, the excuse was "Israel." Bad news for ya . . . most of these folks are still fighting the Crusades. And even if we tied every Israeli down so that they could cut their throats more efficiently, we might get a ten-minute hudna before the next round. I'm not sure why it's hard for people to accept that they're serious when they spout crap like this:
"Killing the infidels is our religion, slaughtering them is our religion, until they convert to Islam or pay us tribute."
And while that level of commitment is rare, it's not a minority view. Trying to make them love us is a waste of time. Limiting their capacity to wreak mass havoc is a better focus of effort.

clarice

Melanie Phillips has a piece today on the most dangerous terrorist found in the UK to date. He was a top AQ operative. Began his planning before 9/11 and had been born a Hindu who flipped to AQ about Kashmir. I blame Bush.

richard mcenroe

"And it carried with it the very real possibility of some type of war between China and the USSR."

China and the USSR had been having border clashes over mineral resources and water for decades. That was nothing we started.

Pete

Cecil - polls don't matter. 9/11 was caused by 19 people - a number that is so statistically insignificant that no poll is going to treat it with any kind of significance.

It doesn't matter how many hate us, whether the number is 50%, 75% or 100% (BTW - a lot of non-muslim Europeans hate Bush and Bush's policies too, I'm sure you can find a poll where a majority of Europeans hate the US/Bush policies). What is more important is how many hate us with such a passion that they are willing to go to the extreme and even sacrifice their life. And in that respect the Iraq war has created substantially more people in Iraq. Words like crap and nonsense are more suitable for the stupid war policy that you are supporting.

Forget about the Muslim world. Look in Iraq. Do you think that someone whose innocent love one is killed by the Iraq war is going to have the same kind of attitude towards us as s/he did pre-war?

Cecil Turner

Cecil - polls don't matter. 9/11 was caused by 19 people . . .

Polls matter if you want to make the false claim that we were only hated by a minority before the Iraq War. And the fact that a mere 19 of the haters can pull off a 9/11 bolsters my position rather better than it does yours.

What is more important is how many hate us with such a passion . . .

No, it doesn't. There are plenty enough who do to carry out any foreseeable terror attack. What matters is whether they have access to national-level weapons programs. And operations like the one in Iraq are a direct answer to that concern.

Do you think that someone whose innocent love one is killed by the Iraq war is going to have the same kind of attitude towards us as s/he did pre-war?

The attitudes of the ones that are actually going to attack us are not righteous anger against injustice, it's religious extremist zealotry. Making nice with them won't work, and it's nonsensical to try.

Terrye

I remember seeing people dancing in the streets over there when the Towers fell. And as far as the Iraq war is concerned, I thought they hated us for the sanctions that killed 50,000 or 100,000 a year in the 90's and/or for the bombing of Iraq both in Gulf War1 and in 1998 when Clinton went after them for kicking out the inspectors. Osama was even complaining about the U.S. treatment of Iraq years before Bush came into office. But then again Clinton had a D behind his name so the 90's don't count.

And besides the Taliban were the real deal, real jihadis and I never hear people whine about how much taking them out made the Muslim world hate us.

I think dividing the country of Iraq will not work... but at the same time they can have a federal system something like we have here. After all in the United States each state is sovereign and the Governor is the Chief Executive aka boss man/woman. In fact the states are so sovereign that Bush could not send troops into Lousiana after Katrina without Blanco's consent.

But I have to say it will be hard to stop all the violence in Iraq. In fact we can not get rid of the drug dealers right here.

clarice

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061207/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/afghanistan_attitudes_1

SteveMG

9/11 was caused by a mere 19 people.

That, hands down, is the single most stupid idiotic statement I've read on any blog anywhere.

Thank God, Pete, you're a liberal. For if you were on my side of the aisle, I'd switch sides overnight.

Moron.

SMG

SteveMG

Moron.

I apologize.

Let me retract that.

Your statement was moronic.

But the rest stands.

Sheesh.

SMG

TCO

You guys are running in circles like dogs. Trying to pin the blame on Bush or defend him and reargue the decision to go into Iraq and redefine it, &ct.

Look, there is a serious situation. We are spending a shitload of money. Are losing 2000 troops a year. Iraq is a mess. Now let's get real practical and figure out what we want to do. And for gosh sakes, take off the blinders of proving Bush wrong or of defending him, when it comes to making decisions about the national interest.

Shit. You guys really piss me off.

Terrye

TCO:

Your math sucks. If we are losing 2,000 troops a year and we have been there for 3 and half years then that means we have lost.....7,000 troops? No? Well then...

The truth is it is a waste of time arguing about how it started, but we do need to keep in mind that Iraq never has been an easy place. We do not have stay in the past, but understanding history can help when it comes to creating future policy.

Perhaps the single thing we need the most is patience and I am not sure the American people have enough of that. The terrorists have all the time in world, however.

clarice

Sunnis seeking our help. US Commanders won't allow slaughter of anyone.

http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/world/16204117.htm

SteveMG

Sunnis seeking our help. US Commanders won't allow slaughter of anyone.

The McClatchy Newspapers? Bradenton Herald Today?

Fine by me.

At this point, I'll take it even if it's from the grocery store Weekly Reader with the puppies for sale in the back pages.

More please.

SMG

Barney Frank

And for gosh sakes, take off the blinders of proving Bush wrong or of defending him, when it comes to making decisions about the national interest.

Surely ascertaining what Bush has done right or wrong and defending or criticising it is helpful in "figuring out what we want to do".

You guys really piss me off.

You seem to be in that state on any site where the regulars don't acknowledge your criticisms as holy writ. Lighten up a little buddy.

TCO

There is SOME use to discussing what Bush (or his opponents) did right or wrong. It's just when you guys see this as the main issue, that you come accross as complete newspaper readers with no conception that there really is a real world out there with our troops in it. With the audacious 9-11 attack, etc. etc.

SteveMG

Man on horseback is about the best option. I can't see the current government establishing any type of national reconciliation. Sectarianism is too deeply entrenched.

It's the best - or least bad - institution in terms of sectarianism.

So, we keep training the military for two years. Then they take over.

SMG

kazinski

It is should be apparent to most people that really think about the situation that the American need to be seen as the "good guy" is what has caused us these enormous problems in Iraq. If we were as ruthless as some would portray us then Iraq would be a relatively peaceful, if some what trepedatious place. Pre 2003, Iraq was relatively quiet because they feared Saddam, not because they thought that if they opposed them they would be killed, but because they thought if Saddam even suspected they were thinking of opposing him they would be killed.

I think the solution in Iraq that would have the likeliest chance of success is the 80% solution. But that is one of the most cynical options, pick the likeiest winner and side with them. And it is not a blood free option. The solution with the probability of the lowest body count, and the likeliest outcome of a centrist democracy is to create a ruthless death squad that would summarily kill any leader or target any factions that were seen as hindering that goal. It wouldn't be pretty, but I think it would be the most effective way to put Iraq on a more stable footing. Iraqis are used to a strongman government, maybe a message that any activity is pro-peace and pro-reconciliation will not be targeted, and anything sectarian and anti-democracy would be a death sentence would resonate in Iraq. It would be easy for such a strategy to get out of hand. but after all we are the "good guys" and I think we could make it work.

Terrye

We really don't know what is best. I know I am not qualified to make a decision like that. The internet can be a great thing, however, it also allows lots of people with opinions but little in the way of experience and knowledge to shoot off their mouths. That is not always a bad thing, but sometimes I wonder if it actually gets in the way of finding real life solutions to difficult problems. Whatever happens in Iraq will have to happen on its own time table. The idea that we can force the situation to change just because we are tired of seeing this stuff on the evening news and want to move on is not only unrealistic, it is childish.

Cecil Turner

It's just when you guys see this as the main issue, that you come accross as complete newspaper readers . . .

I ignore most comments like this as empty, but on the likely chance it's aimed partly at me . . . I'm a retired Marine officer and a front-line combat vet, and my support for Bush is entirely dependent on his conduct of the war on terror (and the "central front" in Iraq). And to answer a couple of your specific comments above:

  1. There is no need for US troops to "murder in reprisal." The Sunnis are already engaged in it wholesale, and there are plenty of Shias getting into the act lately. The question is whether or not we restrain the Shias . . . and I'd suggest we ought not to.
  2. The ROE, as represented here, requires:
    There must be a positive ID on every individual displaying hostile intent or hostile acts before using deadly force.
    If true, and I have no reason to believe it isn't, that is a ridiculously restrictive wartime ROE. (In fact, it's not even a wartime ROE, but a peacekeeping one.)
We could discuss at length whether blowing up houses where enemy fire was suspected to originate was "proportionate," but there's little doubt that a requirement to ID individuals is well in excess of GC requirements. I'd also submit that when we see proposals like this from an outgoing SecDef, it's a pretty good indicator that some areas are openly hostile:
Initiate an approach where U.S. forces provide security only for those provinces or cities that openly request U.S. help and that actively cooperate, with the stipulation being that unless they cooperate fully, U.S. forces would leave their province.
And that ROE in those areas ought properly to be somewhat looser than for the country as a whole. Further, the rush to charge ROE violations as war crimes (e.g., the Marines in Haditha) has a chilling effect on the use of force, and ought to be restricted to clearly intentional violations.

Semanticleo

"Adding in more troops without changing the mission is a recipe for more Coalition casualties . . . and not much else."

Is that a modification of your position?
(Mt Rushmore facelift will follow)

happyfeet

The problem with Iraq is that it has a pop culture that was stunted by decades of tyranny. They need movies and music and theme restaurants and Xboxes and celebrity breakups and ex-wife killing football stars and anorexic actresses and much much more Paris Hilton than they have been getting. The thinking person will note that societies in which Paris Hilton has high name recognition are notably devoid of sectarian strife.

SteveMG

The thinking person will note that societies in which Paris Hilton has high name recognition are notably devoid of sectarian strife.

Britney flashing her pooter (hi, Mom!) will solve this?

For some reason that makes more sense than what the ISG proposed.

SMG

TCO

Cecil: You're usually a cut above. Pretty smart...for a Marine. One kvetch: the troops are not engaged in large scale hostilities and comments that we are "at war" muddle that fact. This is (with the exception of certain campaigns such as Fallujah) a very low scale conflict. I don't know what specific ROE should be. But it is NOT surprising that it differs from what was in place as we advanced up the Tigris in March 2003.

My point stands that too much time spent worrying wether a decision will make Bush look bad (for repukes) or let him off the hook (for democraps) distracts from the real hard decisions that need to be made.

Cecil Turner

Pretty smart...for a Marine.

Now there's some faint praise fer ya. Thanks.

My point stands that too much time spent worrying wether a decision will make Bush look bad . . .

Concur. You'd think we could have a forward-looking discussion without mentioning the Administration at all (except for recommended courses of action). But apparently that's not on.

boris

apparently that's not on

For those serious about stopping state terrorism Bush is the only game in town. But there's so much resistance from behind that dealing with the enemy is only half the battle. Given that MSM BDS has made winning harder and getting our men killed it's an issue that's not going away.

The US entered this conflict democratically. In a situation requiring full support one party has pulled the Lucy football maneuver. Regardless of how it all turns out that chicken will come home to roost one day.

Semanticleo

silence speaks volumes.

boris

typical clown disconnect

Pete

Polls matter if you want to make the false claim that we were only hated by a minority before the Iraq War. And the fact that a mere 19 of the haters can pull off a 9/11 bolsters my position rather better than it does yours.

I never made the claim that we were hated by a minority. I also said that even in European nations which are predominantly democratic and Christian, a majority of the population hate the US/Bush policies. Polls which ask these kinds of question about hate/love are simply meaningless in guaging what kind of threat lies underneath the hate/love.

So if you agree that 19 people pulled off 9/11 I guess that SteveMG has already switched sides overnight. And as a note to SteveMG - sure there were other supporting people but if you look at the total number of people involved it would still be insignificant compared to the overall number of Muslims in the world.

And I fail to see how it bolsters your position better.

No, it doesn't. There are plenty enough who do to carry out any foreseeable terror attack. What matters is whether they have access to national-level weapons programs. And operations like the one in Iraq are a direct answer to that concern.

If we need to prevent terrorists from access to national level weapons then we need to deter nations from providing terrorists those weapons. No tinpot dictator is going to provide terrorists his weapons, especially considering that our reaction to such an event would be to wipe out that dictator. Deterrence (which helped us during the cold war) still works.

The attitudes of the ones that are actually going to attack us are not righteous anger against injustice, it's religious extremist zealotry. Making nice with them won't work, and it's nonsensical to try.

How do you know? That sounds very much like Rice's statement when she said that "Nobody could have thought that people would fly planes to buildings".

And while I agree 100% that making nice with religious extremists will not work, the Iraq war has been a failure.

boris

The cold war against the USSR has been a failure. They don't really have a "true democracy"

World War II has been a failure. France is still surrender prone.

The war on poverty has been a failure. 10% of the population is still poorer than the other 90%.

The war on drugs has been a failure. Pete is a perfect example.

Worse yet ... almost 50% of American children are below average!

SteveMG

And as a note to SteveMG - sure there were other supporting people but if you look at the total number of people involved it would still be insignificant compared to the overall number of Muslims in the world.

Sorry, you're the one who said it was a mere 19 people who perpetrated 9/11.

If you want to retract that simplistic analysis, do so. Don't blame me or others.

And I hope (which triumphs over my experience, admittedly) that you can tell the difference between those in Europe who oppose US policies (or hate us) and those in the Islamic world who express their hatred in far different ways.

But really, your silly analysis of the world - the history of which apparently only began when Bush was sworn in as president - is a bit too much for me to stomach any longer.

SMG

SunnyDay

Cecil: You're usually a cut above. Pretty smart...for a Marine.

If I may ask, who in the hell are you?

TCO

SMG: Quibbling about 19 people or 100 (etc.) is not addressing the interesting issue addressed by your opponent (and I'm not saying that he's right on that issue...but at least address the relevant concept...not quible on numbers (unless you make the argument that the difference 19 versus 100, etc. is of the essence.)

Sunday: Ask me about something more interesting. ;-)

boris

is not addressing the interesting issue

What interesting issue would that be?

Fighting terrorism just makes it worse. You could have done it better.

Interesting? Nope.

TCO

Maybe that is Pete's point, Boris. I didn't take it that way at the time. To me, the more interesting point is how having 130,000 troops in a country of 25 million (in a region of 150 million that we don't occupy) is supposed to prevent actions by a small group. There are some fundamental issues of assymetric warfare, etc. to consider here.

SteveMG

TCO:
Quibbling about 19 people or 100 (etc.) is not addressing the interesting issue addressed by your opponent (and I'm not saying that he's right on that issue...but at least address the relevant concept...

Our friend Pete comes from the view - and it's in every one of his posts, every single one - that the problems we face today internationally have all been created by the actions of the Bush Administration.

He doesn't argue that the White House's policies have exacerbated these problems. Or deepened them. He argues that the sole cause of these tensions emanate solely and exclusively from the brow of Bush.

Read his comments.

It's the simplistic worldview of many on the left when it comes to the world we live in today.

And it's substantively wrong.

When he said that 9/11 was caused by a mere 19 individuals, I understand he didn't literally mean nineteen. What he meant, of course, was that those attacks were conducted by a small group of people and that the Bush Administration's response was disproportionate to those attacks.

Well, this ignores, among other things, a wealth of information and scholarship that shows that the rise of radical Islam has been occuring for a good 25+ years (more really depending on when one wants to trace its roots). And it's not relegated to a small group of people living in mountains in Afganistan.

The problem of the crisis of modernity of Islam didn't begin with the election of Bush. It has its historical antecedents in events and matters that one George Bush had nothing to do with.

This is what angers me with too many people on the left.

It doesn't absolve Bush from his contributions (if you will) to these problems. Yes, there is deep and legtimate criticism of his policies.

But these crises would have occurred whether Gore had been elected instead. And they'll continue long after Bush is gone.

I cannot - and won't - respond to someone with such a worldview. Because the response is always, "Bush did it", "Bush caused it", "Bush created it".

After awhile, why try?

Enough from me.

SMG

TCO

But even if the point is just the trite one of "don't be mean to the populace, because it creates terrorists", then that point should be debated. Not "19 versus 100". The point is the same regardless of the math, at that scale for that example. The reason being that the point was not about exactly 19, it was about an order of magnitude. So gigging someone for 19 is just silly. Fine to correct it as an aside. But to avoid the main issue and fasten on it, is the act of a junior highschool debate kid (no offense to any present).

boris

So it's just too hard. Is that it?

TCO

SMG. We cross-posted. My last post was not a response to your long post, just repeating/elaborating my opinion of proper rhetoric. Reading your long post, now.

boris

is the act of a junior highschool debate kid

You should know.

TCO

On the "too hard": Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. There are choices in what we decide to do, what battles we fight. (And not fighting battles can have costs as well as fighting them.) But regardless, if that is Pete's point, then that is what should be argued. Not the numbers quibling.

boris

then that is what should be argued

Oh sorry. After all this is your blog isn't it. Oh wait ...

TCO

SMG, on your recognition of the literal 19 versus key issue (long post): ok.

Segueing from Pete--I don't want to bother with side issue of him always being wrong or putting too much blame on Bush--I am more interested in what is right for our country then Repubs getting props or blame; others then Pete, have made the fundamental point about the small scale of the assault:

"And a plot of the 9/11 type does not need a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan for its preparation. It could have been hatched just as well in some rooming house in Paris, or Istanbul, or Chicago. Of course we should strive to forestall such terrible assaults. We should not expect that we infallibly can, though."

http://www.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshire200603210827.asp

SteveMG

TCO
others then Pete, have made the fundamental point about the small scale of the assault:

It's not the scale of the assault. It's what the assault represented; the culmination of a long history of radical Islam waging war against what they see as infidels or opponents of true Islam.

Bernard Lewis, probably the pre-eminent Middle East scholar, has argued that once the Islamic world truly understood how far behind the rest of the world they had become (in all measures that we use: life expectancy, literacy rates, income, et cetera) that a epiphany of sorts would occur. And this shock to the system, in parts of the Islamic world, has led to a call for a return to "true" Islam which, in return, necessitates a war against the enemies of that "true" Islam (Lewis).

SMG

SunnyDay

Sunday: Ask me about something more interesting. ;-)

Ok, who in the hell are you to pronounce judgment on someone else?

Rick Ballard

"Ok, who in the hell are you"

At length the breathless hunter came so nigh his seemingly unsuspecting prey, that his entire dazzling hump was distinctly visible, sliding along the sea as if an isolated thing, and continually set in a revolving ring of finest, fleecy, greenish foam. He saw the vast, involved wrinkles of the slightly projecting head beyond. Before it, far out on the soft Turkish- rugged waters, went the glistening white shadow from his broad, milky forehead, a musical rippling playfully accompanying the shade; and behind, the blue waters interchangeably flowed over into the moving valley of his steady wake; and on either hand bright bubbles arose and danced by his side.

Just a hint.

TCO

SMG: I agree that there are factors affecting and supporting the efforts of terror. Things like morale and financial support and fear and the like. Read the rest of the Darbyshire article. Has the "transformation" strategy worked out? Was it ever likely to work out? I remember (3 star, at the time) LTGEN Lynch talking about the issues in Somalia and how the saved soul starts to resent the lifeguard after time.

Perhaps we should be more shrewd and less bombastic. Boris and Sunny, if I get your goat so easily, how will you cut Al Queda balls with a gelding knife rather then blustering like a ninny when you go to fight them?

boris

Whatever goat you have there aint mine.

clarice

MOBY DICK! Or is it just Dick? I'm old. My memory ain't what it used to be.

Rick Ballard

This NYT piece provides a little additional news on the political situation in Iraq. It appears to confirm that Maliki's days are dwindling down to a precious few while also confirming that the Sadrists continue in their quite effective boycott of the Iraqi legislature.

Perhaps an enterprising reporter could quiz our pols as to what might be a common characteristic between Sadr and Nasrullah (hint: the color of their cute hats give them away) and whether the mobs in the streets of Beirut trying to bring down Lebanon's government share any common characteristics with Sadr's militia.

clarice

I love it that Fatah and Hamas are fighting eachother now. Maybe the trick is to build a wall around the entire ME and tell them to call us when they've picked a winner.

TCO

Good article, Rick. I'm more optomistic if this is coming from the Iraqis and we exploit it (then vice versa). I am very leery of an adventure of US troops against Sadr. We just end up fighting everyone then. Now if his countrymen want to give him the shiv...no problemo...

TCO

The 1980s Iran/Iraq was definitely a balance of power exploitation of rivals. Even when we propped up Saddam (and to a minor extent) we knew he was a baddie. Read the 1980s USNI Proceedings. It was all well understood at the time. Heck, the reflagging conveys in the Gulf were all protecting against IRAQIS!

Sue

I love it that Fatah and Hamas are fighting eachother now.

I thought it was rather ironic that the spokesman for one of the groups called the killings senseless. Of course, that same spokesman calls Israeli children 'targets'.

clarice

Unbelievably broken down society.

SunnyDay

Sunny, if I get your goat so easily,

I asked who you are. You don't want to answer?

Soylent Red

build a wall around the entire ME and tell them to call us when they've picked a winner.

How 'bout starting bombing at the Israeli border and stopping when we get to India?

I'm about to that point in my thinking.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

It's not "broken down". The father's (a "political figure") first reaction was proclamation of lex talonis. If a society existed he would have demanded justice from those charged with maintaining order within the society.

Instead, savagery will be returned for savagery. One day maybe they'll get to "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" but it won't be tomorrow.

clarice

What bothers me, is that people forget how fragile the mesh of civilized society really is. Places like New Orleans could easily be Gazas tomorrow.

Soylent--Missed you--SMOOCH.

Soylent Red

Thanks dahlink.

BTW OT: Heard the NPR announcer guy getting positively FROTHY over the 08JAN07 release of "Plame-o-mania: The Dance Remix"

So polish up your A game Clarice.

clarice

OY!..Maybe I'll try to live blog it..NO! I DIDN'T SAY THAT..NO (Help..)

clarice

Speaking of the CIA, hope you guys saw this:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/12/12/wgoogle12.xml

Soylent Red

Maybe I'll try to live blog it

Sweet. I've never seen a nervous breakdown before.

Pete

SteveMG - you sure do create some nice strawmen. I never said that Bush was the creator of all tensions. What Bush's defenders forget is that when Bush waged war on the Taliban and OBL he had very high numbers. An overwhelming number of people (myself included) supported him then. So Bush's response was not disproportionate. Infact the disappointment expressed by some of us is not that the response was disproportionate, but rather that Bush did not finish the job in Afghanistan.

The Iraq war is an altogether different story - a blunder of historic proportions.

hit and run

Pete:
What Bush's defenders forget is that when Bush waged war on the Taliban and OBL he had very high numbers. An overwhelming number of people (myself included) supported him then. So Bush's response was not disproportionate.


BUSH: Hey, Karl, I'm thinking about invading Afghanistan but I'm just not sure if it's the right thing to do. What do the polls say my approval ratings are?

KARL: Looks like your in the 80s, sir.

BUSH: That sounds like overwhelming support. What about Pete?

KARL: He says he supports you.

BUSH: Call the Pentagon!

KARL: What do you want me to tell them, sir?

BUSH: FIRE!!!!!!!!

-----------------

BUSH: Karl, I'm going after Saddam.

KARL: But sir, your numbers are in the mid 60s.

BUSH: But he's been non-compliant with the conditions of the 1991 cease fire

KARL: But sir...

BUSH: And intelligence shows he that he is intent on developing weapons of mass destruction

KARL: The polls, sir...

BUSH: He a brutal dictator who represses his civilian population

KARL: Mr. President, I think that....

BUSH: He has used weapons of mass destruction against other nations and his own people

KARL: I understand, but....

BUSH: He tried to off my daddy

KARL: That must be especially painful sir, but...

BUSH: He has continued to fire on coalition aircraft in the no fly zones

KARL: But....

BUSH: He harbors terrorists, including members of al-Quaida

KARL: He's a threat no doubt, but...

BUSH: If he completes the development of WMDs he may provide them to terrorists for use against the US

KARL: That's a troubling scenario, but....

BUSH: Congress already gave me authorization to fight anti-US terrorism and Saddam is......

KARL: Mr. President, I'm sorry, I just got off the phone and I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?

BUSH: Good news first.

KARL: Well, your poll numbers are up.

BUSH: GREAT! What's the bad news?

KARL: They're still just upper 60s. Not overwhelming enough to invade Iraq, I'm afraid.

BUSH: DAMMIT!!!!!!! Call the Pentagon.

KARL: What do you want me to tell them, sir?

BUSH: Stand down.

Pete

hit and run - Yet another strawmen argument. Nobody is suggesting that politicians should blindly follow poll numbers. In the case of Iraq it was the Bush administration which was trying to drum up support and poll numbers. Even today we learn that the Bush administration has been underreporting the bad news from Iraq.

As I said before those people who complain about Saddam firing on no fly zones where none of our planes were in any danger should now be furious that today our planes and helicopters are actually being shot down and that our airmen are actually crashing and dying in Iraq. Our planes were never any danger in the no fly zone. The same cannot be said of the situation today. Yet the hawks are perefectly happy with it because according to them we are attacking someone even though they cannot define what victory is.

When Saddam was using chemical weapons on people it was none other than Rumsfeld who was going to Baghdad to shake his hand and to cut various deals with him.

Iraq was not a hotbed of anti-US terrorism pre-war. The same cannot be said of the situation today. The "cure" is worse than the "disease".

No dictator is going to give his weapons to terrorists to use against us as long as we clearly explain to all what the consequences of doing so are. Deterrence worked for us in the past and will work for us in the future. Do you think that N Korea would find it in its interest to give its nukes to terrorists?

SunnyDay

should now be furious that today our planes and helicopters are actually being shot down and that our airmen are actually crashing and dying in Iraq.

Actually, we're furious that our men are forced to take a JAG officer with them for fear of being accused of war crimes if they defend themselves, or try to clear a building when the terrorists are hiding behind women and children.

We're furious that the NYT has exposed our anti-terror intelligence operations, only to come back later and say "oopsie, looks like it was legal after all." - that got some of our people killed.

Actually we're furious that the MSM likes to put their alleged "War crimes" discoervies on the front page for weeks and weeks, whether they have any facts or not - it gets our guys killed.

We're furious that our legislators agreed to go to war and then, after our troops committed, they reneged for partican political gain.

We're furious that ex presidents are trashing the US on foreign soil.

We're furious that the terrorists have been encouraged to continue killing our guys because they've been told that the American people want our soldiers to leave. So they will make them leave by putting all the blood and gore they can on our TV screens.

I could go on and on.

Our soldiers know what they are fighting for. They know what's at stake.

I could go on.

I could go on.

Pete

Thanks SunnyDay for validating the point I made.

SteveMG

Pete:
In every single comment that you've posted here (or, to qualify things, at least that I've read) you do not accuse the Bush Administration (or more accurately Bush himself) of exacerbating or deepening or complicating problems. No, you accuse them of creating out of whole cloth the problems.

Whether it's Lebanon or North Korea or Iraq, you never qualify your criticism of the Administration at all. In every instance, the long historical antecedents of these crises are ignored or not included in your postings.

I understand that all of us posting here use generalities and write or speak with broad terms. And so we write things that may be overly broad and not representative of our understanding of the grayish nature of the issue.

But it doesn't take much effort to simply say that the Bush Administration has exacerbated tensions with the Islamic world or that their approach has deepened anti-American sentiment in Europe and elsewhere.

If you don't want to be accused of being a simplistic liberal Bush hater, then don't write and act like one.

SMG

hit and run

Pete:
Nobody is suggesting that politicians should blindly follow poll numbers

Well, ok, but you said....

when Bush waged war on the Taliban and OBL he had very high numbers...So Bush's response was not disproportionate.

The converse of this would be - when Bush ordered the invasion Iraq he did not have very high numbers...So Bush's response was disproportionate.

Maybe I am reading your intended meaning wrong. But there seems to be a very plain reading of your words.

My story, while very admittedly intended to be cute - and very admittedly intended to be hyperbolic - was very simply intended to portray the natural consequence of that sentiment...

Pete

hit and run - You are over-analyzing and concluding something that was not intended. I was simply responding to SteveMG who said that "I thought that all problems arose from Bush and that Bush's response was disproportionate". I rebutted that Bush's response in Afghanistan was not disproportionate and that I (along with a lot others who oppose him on Iraq) supported him then.

SteveMG I am not ignoring any history. However, the prudent response to that history does not necessarily mean that war is the solution. There too many people in this forum who get all excited about war, and too many people here who are in love with "shock and awe" even though the shock did not result in awe.

Pete

SunnyDay The people responsible for the deaths of US soldiers are our enemies, not US citizens or US institutions. However if you want to blame US citizens for the deaths of our soldiers then those who wildly cheerlead the Iraq war should stand in the front of the blame queue.

clarice

Three big bits of news: It turns out Nifong held back from the defense a private forensic report showing the accuser has multiple DNA on her and her panties, and a public hair inside here, multiple DNA (indicating multiple partners) and NONE of the accused.


The Dem Senator from S Dak has suffered a stroke and there is a Rep Gov there. The Senate might shift again.(per Larwyn)

Also from Larwyn: The ACLU has been subpoenaed by DoJ under the espionage act to turn over classified information someone apparently leaked to it.

A

boris

The people responsible for the deaths of US soldiers

So only the hit men are responsible and the craven who provide the incentive are "innocent". Nobody came right out and said "kill some more so we can defeat Bush then we will cut and run so you can win" but that message was received. Too late now to take it back or try and spin it away.

SunnyDay


Another nice result of lefties and their terrorists rights campaign.

TCO

Boris: If we want to expand the scope, then we can also hold responsible military and civilian leadership for poor judgment. Remember that the CO of the Indy went to the green table...

boris

Only a complete fool would equate "kill some more so we can defeat Bush" with imperfect judgement.

hit and run

SunnyDay,

We MUST close down GITMO!!!!! Human Rights abuses are taking place there daily!!!!!

Shut it down, shut it down, shut it down!!!!

What? Huh? Oh....

You mean it's the US soldiers being abused?

Oh, well, in that case.....let me think about it.....

/sarcasm

TCO

Boris: Don't jump to conclusions on what point I'm making.

boris

Are you climing to be the perfect fool I describe in my post?

SunnyDay

H&R - sad isn't it?

OH BTW, I wrote Leahy this morning, after I read the Wash Times article. Are people in Vermont really that extreme? Or does Leahy just bring home the bacon?

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