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Sic Semper Tyrannis 2007

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« A Farrell film festival | Main | Outsourcing Intelligence? »

July 29, 2007

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taters

Not surprisingly, both the "high neocons" and their Shia religious politician proteges are outraged by this policy. The policy represents a repudiation of the neocon romance with the idea of re-organizing the Middle East to make it more "modern" and a more friendly place for Israel to exist.

Col. Lang,
Just a note: Your colleague Larry Johnson has stated those are the same forces that oppose the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.

Actually sir, it seems as if Gen. Petraeus is with you on this. Those of us that have spent some time at SST recall your take on this prior to to McMasters' success in Tal Afar.
Thank you, this is excellent.

david

Forgive me, Sir, but I am at loss to understand how to reconcile your support for the Petraeus plan and the eventual redeployment of US troops out of Iraq. As far as I can tell, arming these (highly fickle) tribes seems merely a temporary measure to reduce US exposure in Anbar and elsewhere. While this burden shifting seems to be succeeding in the present, I am hard pressed to see how this will not backfire as the US reduces its presence in Iraq to a support function of what will be a Shia-dominated government. In such a scenario, I would imagine these tribes would be happy to use these weapons against US forces and others, regardless of whether they decide to brand themselves as part of the AQ franchise or not.

I guess what I am saying is that the real threat to US forces over the next two years is not AQI, but all-out civil war. And I see the Pretraeus plan as making this more likely and more violent.

My apologies in advance if I have misunderstood or misrepresented you. And thanks for any response.

Charles

A real primer for all this ""herding cats" I tout ad nauseum is Rory Stewart's account of his year as a CPA Governor in southern Iraq, breaking all the rules to make all kinds of deals in "The Prince of the Marshes; and other occupational hazards of a year in Iraq". He was hard at this thing, once with a Sheik who only the other night had been besieging and mortaring the CPA compound, while Bremmer Proclaimed and press-conferenced his way to Oz.

If you wish to meet a variety of Afghani tribesmen, read his account of his walk across Afghanistan in 2003- 05?, I never remember: "The Places In Between"

Two great little books.

Charles

A real primer for all this ""herding cats" I tout ad nauseum is Rory Stewart's account of his year as a CPA Governor in southern Iraq, breaking all the rules to make all kinds of deals in "The Prince of the Marshes; and other occupational hazards of a year in Iraq". He was hard at this thing, once with a Sheik who only the other night had been besieging and mortaring the CPA compound, while Bremmer Proclaimed and press-conferenced his way to Oz.

If you wish to meet a variety of Afghani tribesmen, read his account of his walk across Afghanistan in 2003- 05?, I never remember: "The Places In Between"

Two great little books.

W. Patrick Lang

Charles

You ask how I reconcile "supporting" Petraeus' operational methods with writing about the "necessity" of eventual American withdrawal from Iraq.

Answer: This is not political for me. US forces are fighting in Iraq. So long as they do I will do everything I can to support them and not just with silly stickers on cars. This includes suggesting to them the adoption of sound methods. This I have done and will continue to do. Eventually the war will end one way or another. US forces have to be prepared to leave the country in an orderly and prudent way. I will coninue to help with contingency planning for that as well.

I have never called for immediate departure from Iraq. When I do you will hear of it. pl

Sidney O. Smith III

In my opinion, the theme of Col. Lang's work is both very consistent with and also of the same tradition as something that was posted earlier -- the WWII handbook for soldiers who were headed to Iraq. And this theme is one of respect. Respect other people and their culture and they'll respect the US. Respect other folks and odds increase you'll win. We apparently have lost that national virtue.

Also another underlying theme appears to be this: to win, you must establish a spiritual brotherhood first. Best I can tell, that's why you don't look at their women until you are seen as a member of the tribe or group.

Since Shakespeare's name is popping up on another thread, I want to give my two cents worth and mention that Shakespeare understood the concept of spiritual brotherhood very well. The idea is present as a subplot in many of his plays but the most ironic example is Romeo and Juliet. R and J has much more to do with spiritual brotherhood than romantic love. Romeo dumped Juliet after Tybalt killed his friend Mercutio. And Romeo then avenged Mercutio's death. So in this plotline, spiritual brotherhood trumps romantic love. Mercutio was like a special ops type (and mercurial). And it one short scene, Shakespeare shifted the play from a Renaissance comedy to a Renaissance tragedy. Gutsy damn move -- one that would make producers nervous. If anyone else can pull it off, then I'd like to see it. Here's the scene:

http://shakespeare.mit.edu/romeo_juliet/romeo_juliet.3.1.html

R and J is all about the tragic birth of war, but people go see it on Valentine's Day. Shakespeare threw history a curve ball and I bet he is still laughing. He’s the man.

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