"I am so tired of hearing the word "dictator" and Saddam together. It's on a level with "anal" and then "sex." Yug. Instead of demonizing him, why not first of all mention that he didn't die a coward. He looks perfectly composed as he eyes the rope that is about to break his neck. And you have to admire the fact he didn't repent of his megalomania, saying to the hangman, "Iraq is nothing without me."
But he also was a skillful ruler and a legitimate one, as you pointed out in your briefing to the White House in late 1990 or early 1991. He had an extraordinary insight into his people --knowing when to massacre a section of a tribe or instead, build it a whole new sewage system and a string of free clinics.
Why demonize? Think of Somoza or the shah or Trujillo or the whole awfully bloody bunch of shits we have used to advance our ends in the world. We did after all back Stalin and lied for years to the public about his actions and character. Amazing.
Few have mentioned the sheer discourtesy or insensitivity of hanging him on the Muslim Sabbath.
I think we should have left him in prison and made sure he got tons of newspapers delivered to his cell every day. He was a man who had to predominate. Knowing of great events afoot and knowing you are forever a discarded man with no further part to play in the world would have eaten him hollow and not made a martyr of him. Richard Sale"
I really agree with Richard on this. Saddam may have killed your father, uncle or brother, but he died a man.
We have made some colossal errors in Iraq but this is among the worst:
1- We killed a former (?) head of state. The Shia government did it? What a joke! Neocons! Do you imagine that anyone believes this? Maliki would not even go to the execution. No. We will be blamed and rightly so. We provided "advisors" to the trial judges.
2- We made him a figure for legend and he took advantage of it. "God is Great! Long live Iraq! Palestine is Arab." That is what he uttered on the gallows with the rope around his neck. You damned fools! What do you think will be the war cry with which millions of Muslims will confront us and our "regional allies?"
3-The, oh so clever Iranian political warfare machine (and friends) have tried for many years to denigrate the Iraqi army that fought Iran and defeated it. The men who served in that army know how well they fought. For good or ill he was their commander in chief. Do you think that deliberately humiliating him in the manner of his death will serve the cause of reconciliation in Iraq?
4- We allowed his execution in the month of Pilgrimage, just before the Feast of Sacrifice when a holocaust of sacrificed animals will be offered. Could you have given him a better gift?
5-Is it really true that Moqtada al-Sadr's people participated in the execution? Is it true?
1- That Saddam's execution will be a healing experience for Iraq and that his rule is the cause of the sectarian violence that has torn Iraq apart. Do the people who believe this know any history at all?
2 - That the support that the US gave to Iraq during its war with Iran at the request of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Arab states is a major cause of Iranian hostility towards the United States? Do the people who think they know this know any history or are they just inclined to blame the US for any or all evil on earth? pl
"He is now caught between admitting the war was a mistake and his policy has failed, or trying to tough it out," said Joseph Cirincione, a foreign policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank.
"It looks like the president would rather let the whole operation go down in flames than admit he was wrong." Reuters
Bullheaded. That is the characteristic described above. Persistence and tenacity can be virtues but an unwillingness to adjust to a realization of failed planning and execution is mere stubbornness.
Iraq is not the place Mr. Bush was told that it was. The various Iraqi peoples are not the peoples he was told that they were. The Middle Eastern region is not, etc...
Things are NOT going well. The president is going to approve a reinforcement of 4 Army brigades and two or three marine regiments for the express purpose of fighting a decisive battle of attrition first against the Sunni insurgents in the Baghdad area and then to "disarm" Sadr's Mahdi Army. This is a hell of a gamble.
The reinforcing units will be gotten by pulling units out of the rotation queue and sending them back to Iraq early. To make up the shortfall in the queue thus created the president and his advisers expect to create new, additional units over the next year and a half through an expansion in Army and Marine Corps end strength.
They think that the battle will have been won (or lost) by then, but, in any event larger ground forces are needed for the "long war." pl
Listening to the discussion in the Fox News Sunday panel today it was clear that General John Abizeid is going to be scapegoated for failure and embarrassment in Iraq. Casey was probably also a candidate for the "honor" but he seems to have jumped on the "surger" bandwagon quickly enough to save himself. Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, the corps commander in Iraq is said to be "on board" as well, but, then he has a track record from his previous service in Iraq. He likes force, massive force and lots of it. If you doubt that, read about him in Tom Ricks' book, "Fiasco."
"Security" is clearly going to be the theme of the "surger" campaign in 2007. "Security" achieved by attempting to destroy the Sunni insurgents in the Baghdad region will be the goal. The "surgers" believe that when that happens, the government of Iraq will become viable and the Shia will disband their militias from a lack of need. There appears to be a small area of disagreement among the "surgers" as to whether or not it will be necessary along the way to forcibly disarm the Mahdi Army, but time will tell.
It has become an article of faith amongst the faithful to believe that Syria is somehow, magically, sustaining the Sunni insurgencies in Iraq and that removal of the Assad government will cause the insurgents to disappear, more withering away. To that end the removal of that government will remain at the top of the Bush Administration's program.
Iran, ah, yes....
The Miami Herald has printed a new version of the piece I wrote with Ray McGovern a few days ago.
"Israel’s worst-kept diplomatic secret became public knowledge this week when its prime minister, Ehud Olmert, told his Cabinet that he was against taking up a dramatic new Syrian offer for peace talks — because doing so would undermine President Bush." Forward
Well, there you have it. The government of the United States is effectively impeding peace talks between Israel and Syria because President Bush says the Syrians are "evil doers" who should be punished, and not allowed to wiggle out of the traps he has laid for them in Lebanon and in the matter of the UN tribunal over the sainted Rafik's death.
At the same time rumor runs in Washington that Bandar bin Sultan and Elliot Abrams are busy constructing a web of alliance and money that will seek to undermine Iranian allies wherever they are found.
Weapons have been landed from Israeli ships on the Lebanese coast for the purpose of arming the enemies of Hizbullah.
Does this make Saudi Arabia a de facto ally of Israel?
Someone asked if I had any thoughts as to what the content should be of the wide ranging negotiations in the ME that I proposed last night in the "Situation Room." I do. A while back I wrote the attached piece for a client and for various reasons it has not been published until now.
This is a statement of what I think SHOULD happen if we are to avoid an accelerating downward spiral of violence and inter-communal warfare throughout the region. The fires of ancient rivalries and hatred are being "stoked" throughout the region by unremitting efforts for both the Bushian "freedom agenda" and the desire of Iran of the mullahs for what they think is their rightful place in the world.
The list of issues and "bargaining points" that I offer is by no means all inclusive. This is an OUTLINE.
I have no illusions about whether or not the "plan" I outline will be adopted, but I think the writing, and the contemplation of such a plan, is, in itself, a worthwhile thing.
The president's repeated statements about the "ideological" nature of the war leave no room for the bargaining and compromise inherent in diplomacy. Alas. pl
"Joining us now, retired U.S. Army Colonel Pat Lang, former head of Middle East intelligence over at the DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Pat, thanks very much for coming in.
COL. PAT LANG, U.S. ARMY (RET.): My pleasure.
BLITZER: First of all what do you make of the president, all of a sudden, the day after Donald Rumsfeld leaves, Robert Gates comes in saying we're going to build up the U.S. Marine Corps and the army?
LANG: Well I think the desire to do that has been present in the army and Marine Corps leadership for a long time. They know that they're overextended; they don't have enough people to accomplish the task. And people are being rotated in their units back to Iraq or Afghanistan too often, it's destroying family life.
According to all the talk in Washington, the "plan" whipped up by AEI's Fred Kagan is likely to be mostly implemented by President Bush when he stops stalling about his policy in Iraq. The "plan" can be found below at "Stalingrad on the Tigris." The military "cover" for this "plan" was provided by retired Generals Kean and Barno seen on the left.
In olden times, generals who failed in the field were relieved and replaced with new ones who had the boss's confidence and who represented a new approach to the vexing problem of the time. In our time it has become customary for the generals' clique to writhe and plead that generals are all virtuous and superb people who should never be held responsible for failure. A more self serving attitude would be hard to imagine.
By any rational calculus, Abizeid and Casey have failed. If the United States is going to continue to fight in Iraq they should be relieved (fired). If Bush is going to adopt the Kagan "plan," then the logical thing to do would be to recall Kean and Barno to active duty and give them the vacant jobs so that they can implement their "plan." pl
Below you will find a Power Point (what else?) presentation on the recent AEI analytic meeting run by one of the Kagans. The cast of contributers at the end reads very much like one of the great neocon "papers" done up before their return to power under Bush 41'. I have in mind the "Clean Break" paper which contained so much of "future history. The military men listed among the supposed authors are a mystery to me. I know who some of them are but I question how much they really understood what was going to be said in their names.
The paper urges a "surge" of many thousands more US troops into Baghdad beginning in March, 2007 for one more grand roll of the iron dice. The concept seems to be based on the notion that Shia militias exist because of Sunni violence against them rather than as expressions of a Shia drive to political dominance in Iraq. Based on that belief the authors seem to believe that if the additional US and Iraqi forces to be employed in the Capital area defeat (destroy?) the Sunni insurgent groups, then the Shia militia armies will "wither away" from a lack of need. I do not think that belief is justified.
The authors assert that contrary to General Schoomaker's appraisal below in"State of the Army," such a surge will not "break the Army."
They also assert that with an increase in recruiting the brigades that would be missing from the present rotation queue because of this "surge" could be replaced with the one year or so period of the 'surge.' I doubt that this is a realistic appraisal of how long such a process of unit creation would take.
One of the "implied" tasks to be accomplished by the "surged" force would be to disarm the Mahdi's Army and the other Shia militias. The authors seem unclear as to whether or not the militias will fight to avoid being disarmed. In my judgment it will be impossible to conduct an enlarged anti-insurgent campaign in Baghdad without engaging the Mahdi militia. They think that they "own" the place and will not be quiescent.
This concept is a recipe for a grandand climactic battle of attrition between US and Iraqi forces on one side and the some combination of Sunni and Shia forces on the other. The Sunnis and Shia would not necessarily "ally" themselves to each other, but a general co-belligerence against our people would be bad enough.
President Bush may well accept the essence of this concept. He wants to redeem his "freedom agenda," restore momentum to his plans and in his mind this might "clear up" Iraq so that he could move on to Iran.
The carnage implicit in this concept would be appalling. The authors have much to say about the consequences of defeat in Iraq, but, I wonder if they have contemplated what it would be like to fail in their climactic battle and still be required by '43 to stay in Iraq. pl
"The Army, meanwhile, is considering ways it can speed up the creation of two additional combat brigades _ a move intended to expand the pool of active-duty combat brigades in order to relieve some of the strain on the Army from large-scale deployments to Iraq.
Under the plan being developed, the new brigades could be formed next year and be ready to be sent to Iraq in 2008, defense officials told The Associated Press. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans were not final.
The Army's chief of staff, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, told a commission Thursday that he wants to increase the half-million-member force beyond the 30,000 troops authorized in recent years. And he warned that the Army "will break" without thousands more active duty troops and greater use of the reserves.
Though Schoomaker didn't give an exact number, he said it would take significant time, saying 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers could be added per year. Schoomaker has said it costs roughly $1.2 billion to increase the Army by 10,000 soldiers.
Officials also need greater authority to tap into the National Guard and Reserve, long ago set up as a strategic reserve but now needed as an integral part of the nation's deployed forces, Schoomaker told a commission studying possible changes in those two forces.
"Over the last five years, the sustained strategic demand ... is placing a strain on the Army's all-volunteer force," Schoomaker said during a Capitol Hill hearing. "At this pace ... we will break the active component" unless reserves can be called up more to help, he said." Baldor
The Grand Master has spoken. General Peter Schoomaker has bluntly told the people's Congress that the people's army, entrusted to him as Army Chief of Staff is a ship headed for the rocks.
The Regular Army (active force) is going to break, split wide open from stress and grief and family loneliness. There are not enough units to rotate in and out of the war in any way that human flesh can bear indefinitely. We have to have more brigades of regular soldiers to carry the burden. Rumsfeld's snotty remark about going to war withe army you have rather than the one you would prefer is now revealed as more than boorish. It is the description of approaching disaster, a disaster which will take decades to repair in the fabric of the Army to say nothing of the wreckage of our place in the world.
What about the reserve components, the National Guard and Army Reserve? Schoomaker reminded the Congress that present Defense policy does not allow a reservist to serve on active duty for more than two years in a four year period. This means that units must be sent back overseas without many of their key personnel, men and women who are comrades, and without whom the unit is not the same place to live and fight. Instead individuals are brought in from all over the country to fill the places of friends.
Combat units are like tribal groups. The bonds that make good units into more than the sum of their parts are severely damaged by the introduction of strangers on the eve of battle. In time, such newcomers hopefully become part of the "family" but a high price may be paid while this is happening.
Lieberman said the senators met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, and urged him to break his ties with Muqtada al-Sadr and disarm the anti-U.S. cleric's Mahdi Army militia, which has been blamed along with Sunni Arab insurgents for the sectarian violence and ruthless attacks on U.S. forces.
Al-Sadr controls 30 of the 275 parliament seats and is a key figure in al-Maliki's coalition.
Lieberman said the delegation left its meetings with al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and other Iraqi officials believing "there is a force of moderates within the context of Iraqi politics coming together to strengthen the center here against the extremists."
He said the delegation was "quite explicit" about "how important it is that the Iraqis themselves begin to take aggressive action to disarm the militias, to stop the sectarian violence and to involve all the people in country to governance," including promised provincial elections." Yahoo News
More pathetic baloney. As usual, we Americans insist on believing that some individual bad person must be responsible for resistance to our enlightened ideas. We seem to think that this must be true since the masses "obviously" would favor what we want for them is they were allowed to accept our ideas by the bad people. The idea that these poor benighted foreigners might have seriously different plans for themselves is clearly beyond us.
Listen up. If you kill Muqtada al-Sadr and destroy his militia it WILL NOT stop the war among the peoples in what was Iraq. pl
David Brooks tells us today that American withdrawal from Iraq will leave a disrupted region in such a state that a general regional war initially centered in Iraq will result and he compares that coming war to the "Thirty Years War" which devastated much of Europe causing a loss of 50% of the population in some places.
I support this analysis whether he likes that or not.
I differ from him in two areas that are at least implied by lacunae in his screed.
1 - He shows no evidence of thinking that the situation in Iraq has passed beyond American ability to control events at the macro level. It is over, David, just over... No amount of blather can change that. Partition Iraq? Hah!! Iraq is well on its way to completing its own partition. Ethnic cleansing is underway throughout the country, neighborhood fights neighborhood throughout Baghdad while the Kurds look on with apprehension over American reliability. It is over. We should now look to our options in dealing with the wreckage of Mesopotamia and the "cockpit" into which we have made the Middle East. Immediate withdrawal? Not unless it is part of the answer in dealing with the wreckage. More trainers and advisers? Perhaps, if we think that reasonable relations with the Shia "rump" state of Iraq will be sufficiently important in the context of the "Second Thirty Years War" to warrant the expenditure in blood and money and the risks inherent in maintaining a smaller and therefore more vulnerable force in Iraq.
2 - Brooks is quick to condemn anyone who wishes to reverse the venture of American intervention in Iraq. He says nothing of the direct influence and prevalence of the neocons in causing the situation now prevailing in the Middle East generally and Iraq in particular. The neocons insisted and still insist (like old communists after the fall of the Berlin Wall) that their ideas were great stuff, a manifestation of the destiny of mankind, but they were poorly implemented. This is completely false. The situations that you see on the ground in Iraq and Lebanon are inherent in the cultural context of the Islamic World. The centrifugal forces of; sect, ethnicity, politics and region continually threaten all these states with disruption and chaos. The answer which that "culture continent" has found for itself over the centuries has been to accept (however grudgingly) the autocratic rule of "strong men." Brooks and his friends insisted to the "decider" that this tendency was more fiction than reality and that all that was needed to bring about accession of the Middle East to the Modern (democratic) World was a "hard knock." Well, we knocked and in the process removed all the restraints on the savage rivalries implicit in all Middle Eastern societies.
Perhaps someday there will be a Concert of the Middle East, but it will not be any time soon. Brooks and his friends are seeking to position themselves in such a way as to re-focus blame for catastrophe. This should not be allowed. pl
Mencken (Baltimore Evening Sun, 26 July 1920): "The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron". Pbrownlee
Ah. Yes. Brings to mind the Mencken observation at a '40s national convention. Looking across the room at a meeting, he spied a political harridan haranguing the crowd and remarked, "Look at that girl, makes you want to burn every bed in the world." pl
"Regarding early parliamentary elections, which the opposition is calling for, and Nasrallah's claims that the "majority will change" if early elections are held, Siniora asked: "How is Nasrallah forecasting the results of the election? Can he tell the future by reading palms or coffee grains?"
Siniora also said Syria is "dear to me, after Lebanon" and that his government "is working hard at assisting in issues of concern to Hizbullah and all the Lebanese, such as the liberation of Shebaa Farms."
He added that he doesn't "appreciate accusations of outside influence" on his Cabinet.
"We all know Iran is donating money to a part of Lebanon, but why not do it in a transparent and direct way via the government's bank?" asked Siniora, dismissing allegations that his government is a puppet government for the US.
However, despite the sharp words from both leaders, both have said the door is still open for dialogue.
"Our hand and heart is open and we will continue," said Siniora. "We won't dig trenches in Beirut streets; we will build bridges of love among the Lebanese, Christian and Muslim."
"There is no such thing as victory for Lebanon by one team winning over another," he said. "It's only a victory when all sides win together."" Daily Star
"La Ghalib illa Allah (No Victor but God) is an old, old Muslim aphorism. It is sculpted in plaster all over the Alhambra and its message of the futility of man's ambitions and "petty" warring is eternal.
In the Beirut, a "Lebanese Solution" that at least temporarily (and what else could be possible?) resolves differences is always just around the corner. Siniora, Hariri, Nasrallah and Aoun have all made it clear that if left to themselves they will find a messy, muddled, "Lebanese" solution for the present political turmoil in Beirut. There have already been a couple of "false starts," thwarted largely by the intervention of foreign diplomats. If there is a renewal of the Lebanese civil war, it will occur because we foreigners have blocked the customary pattern of intra-Lebanese conflict resolution.
There have been vast numbers of Shia in the streets in the last week. Marching with them are their Aouni Christian "allies." These people are under tight discipline. Nasrallah tells them not to interrupt speakers and they do not. Nasrallah tells them not to fire shots in the air to celebrate speakers they like, and they do not. Nasrallah tells them that they will pray at Sunni mosques and they do. He told them to pray at Christian churches on Sunday. It will be interesting to see if they do. I was told yesterday by Sunni Lebanese that in some churches in Beirut people are lighting candles in honor of Nasrallah. Why? Because he promises a reform to end "confessionalism" in Lebanon. General Aoun wants the same thing. All Lebanese know in their hearts that without an end to "confessionalism" Lebanon will never amount to much.
Siniora does not like the accusation that the American ambassador is his boss? To prevail he will have to convince the people in the streets who carry signs that read "An End to Feltman's Government" that this accusation is false. pl
"As the Iraqi people labor to build a country based on human rights and respect for all citizens, they are moving from the law of the gun to the rule of law. Violence will increase before life gets better. Those who know that freedom and democracy offer more hope than anarchy will not give up.
Regardless of what academics and pundits decide to label this conflict, hundreds of thousands of brave Iraqi soldiers, police officers and civil servants will continue to go to work building a free, prosperous and united Iraq. And every day more than 137,000 U.S. servicemen and servicewomen will lace up their boots, strap on their body armor and drive ahead with our mission to support these courageous Iraqis." William Caldwell, Major General, US Army. Spokesman for the US command in Iraq. Published as an oped in the WAPO.
"Spokesman?" A major general whose job is spokesman? General Caldwell is apparently the principal figure in the Iraq command's "Information Operations" campaign. As I have mentioned before, propaganda and information content management have become major pre-occupations of the US armed forces in the post Vietnam era. Why? It is because all of us who experienced defeat in Vietnam have spent decades trying to understand why that happened and the conclusion reached (mistakenly I think) is that the left successfully propagandized the American people against us and our effort. As a result the military now speaks of "kinetic operations," (fighting with material weapons) and "information operations," (propaganda and media manipulation.
This oped piece, written by the Iraq command's chief information officer can only be seen as propaganda. It was placed on the neocon compliant editorial page of one of the leading American newspapers. The intended audience is obviously the American electorate. This is domestic propaganda conducted by the armed forces on behalf of the policy of a particular political party and administration. It is propaganda directed at the American people by a man in the uniform of the United States Army. The American people revere their Army.
Overseas propaganda in support of a military campaign or political goal is a legitimate activity. Domestic propaganda conducted by the US Armed forces to keep the American people "on board" is not. pl
Joe Klein of Time magazine said today on the Chris Matthews show that Cheney was "summoned" to Riyadh. There has been a lot of talk about the vice president's trip to Saudi Arabia. The White House has wanted it to be believed that Cheney went about the Middle East "lining up" the Sunni leaders to support the Zelikow plan for further empowerment of the Shia Arabs against the Sunni Arab insurgents in Iraq. Klein, who is generally well informed about such matters, says that the opposite is true, that in fact King Abdullah summoned Cheney to Riyadh to tell him in person that such a policy "might" force the Saudi government to give all possible assistance to the Sunni Arab population in defending itself. That means the insurgents. Now, that sounds like the truth. The Saudi ambassador denies this scenario, but, he would, wouldn't he? He also says the Obeid op/ed last week which threatened covert Saudi intervention had nothing to do with the Saudi government. Anyone who is familiar with the way the Saudis "operate" knows how unlikely that is.
The great untruth on which the Bush project in Iraq was founded was the notion that Iraq and its people were a "nation." As I have said many times before, the "Bush Iraq Project" interrupted the fitful progress of the "Historic Iraq Project." That project had sought for most of a century to weld the disparate peoples of Iraq into a nation. The "Historic Iraq Project" had been partially successful in that some Iraqis had come to think of themselves as primarily Iraqi. Many had not. The Iraqi nationalists were primarily secular and concentrated in the functions of government. We got rid of them in the CPA period. We shoved them out the door of the new government and its organs. What is left in the Iraqi political process is predominately sectarian or ethnic in self-identification. The present government is a Shia sectarian government with Kurds and Sunni Arabs added to the melange as "symbolic" tokens. The same thing is true of the "Iraqi" police and army. Everyone in Iraq knows that. We have now spent a great deal of money and time in building those forces. In spite of that effort we and the "Iraqis" have not been able to defeat the Sunni insurgent forces in their many varieties.
Our response to that failure seems to be that we will now drop any real effort to mediate among the peoples of Iraq and will back the Shia Arabs "to the knife." What will that mean exactly? We are already giving full support to the Maliki government. Does it mean that we will "green light" what some are calling the "Salvador" model? If it does, then we should expect that the Sunni Islamic World will rise up against us with a ferocity that we have not yet seen. pl
"The Bush administration is deliberating whether to abandon U.S. reconciliation efforts with Sunni insurgents and instead give priority to Shiites and Kurds, who won elections and now dominate the government, according to U.S. officials." Wright
The WAPO correctly "paired" these two articles on its website. They are examples of the closely integrated fabric of goofiness that characterizes the administration's policy in the Middle East.
The Zellikow notion of "sponsoring" Shia and Kurdish subjugation of the Sunni Arabs is breathtaking. It is so grotesque that it is virtually certain to be the policy choice of the moment. Is this the Bush/Maliki deal? The idea seems to be that we would concentrate on arming the already mostly Shia army and police while participating with them in an attempt to completely subjugate the Sunni Arabs.
1- This proves that the neocons are still in charge of this administration's policy. An effort to hand Iraq over to the Shia lay at the heart of neocon ambitions in Iraq. Evidently, it still does.
2- Does the Zellikow plan take into account what the reaction of the Sunni countries will be to an American/Shia alliance against their co-religionists? Obeid, the Saudi government adviser, warned last week in the WAPO that if the United States abandoned Iraq's Sunnis, then the Sunni countries would feel it necessary to increase assistance to the Sunni Arabs of Iraq (read insurgents). Gasoline on the fire, that is what the Zellikow plan amount to.
Answer me this: Why is it that Shia "opposition" in Lebanon is a bad thing but the Shia government in Iraq is a good thing. Why is that? pl
"The official purpose of the third annual session of the U.S.-backed Forum for the Future was to promote democracy around the world. But there were no plans for a joint statement on universal freedoms, since efforts to compose such a missive at last year's forum meeting dissolved into bickering." Kessler
Let's see how this was supposed to "go down." First we get the governments to the meeting, then we get them to sign some sort of "universal" declaration on human rights, then in a year or so we declare them to be in "violation" of their own undertakings about "democracy," and therefore rightly subject to sanctions or worse as "law breakers" of some sort.