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02 April 2006


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I couldn't believe I heard him say that. It went sailing by unchallenged by Tim Russert, of course.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

What you wrote about Iraq is also equally true about Syria and Lebeanon. These are "States" in search of a "Nation".

Patrick Henry

Babak..you are orrect..

And they have determined this is the time and Place for the various Muslim states to Create a "Nation of Islam'"..thier Way..Uniting the Arab/Muslim World..

Its the Process tht is Creating Great Concern..

A Revolution similar to the American Revolution and Civil War..

Except that we did not Vow to destroy Great Britian in the Process...nor did we totally destroy Germany and Japan..

Middle east States desire
Creating thier Own Version of the EU..The united States of Europe..

The problem lies in the Sectarian Domination of the process..

They too..are sending bad Signals..that Create Fear..Anger and Resentment..

Just like Bush...


The analogy with the former Yugoslavia is very apt.

Many societies are still essentially tribal, with a thin veneer of nation-state. These can be held together through a strong hand (Tito, Saddam). However, if a Croat in Zagreb identifies more with an ethnic Croat from Mostar than with a ethnic Serb from Zagreb, then it is simply a matter of time before the tribes vie for power.

I don't understand McCain. By the time he runs for President, the wheels will have come completely off our Iraq intervention. If nominated, he will end up in the position of Hubert Humphrey circa 1968.

Babak Makkinejad

McCain is a politician. He will say anything that tactically suits him. I am not at all surprised by this. The only time that he surprised me was when he came squarely on the side of the Geneva Conventions.

mark safranski

"The only time that he surprised me was when he came squarely on the side of the Geneva Conventions"

Well, I'm not a huge fan of John McCain on other matters but that was the last thing I found surprising, given his personal history.

W. Patrick Lang


There are no "nation states" among the countries that inherited the populations of the traditional world.

The NS idea arose in relation to Europe and even there the peoples are scattered among various countries. The "Germans" are a good example. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

I was being ironic.

W. Patrick Lang


It was good irony, but I have been accustomed to dealng with people who do not appreciate irony. pl

Duck of Death

You guys are missing the point here...he is selling out to the religious right and their vision of America as 'the chosen country', unerring and incapable of defeat. How could McCain say anything but that Iraq is going great(after all God is on our side)and still look Jerry Falwell in the eye?. Great Op-Ed in todays WaPo(a rare thing these days at WaPo) about the fundies hold on the GOP by Kevin Phillips: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/01/AR2006040100004.html

Patrick Henry


I have decided I should no longer Post Comments here..I don't have much to say beyond what I have said..any more is repition..I dont have the expertise to Comment any more on other matters..

I'm sorry if I have offended anyone..My opinions were heartfelt..and I appreciate the opportunity to have Expressed them..

Thank You for Sharing your Web site and your Expertise..I always have enjoyed It as a daily Read..

Thanks for Your patience and tolerance..

I wish you and Margurite the very best..and will keep you both in my Prayers..

I just listened to Gen. Zinni on meet the Press with Tim Russert..I'm getting his Book..

Great and CANDID Interview..

He said it all..GRAPHICALLY..and Honestly..I agree with someone who said He should run for Office..

my Best regards to you all..


Jerry Thompson

Zinni said it all very well -- simple, direct, not polemic. McCain's a politician. Maybe marginally better than a lot of them but, he seems to have decided he needs to cozy up to the "Bush base". Probably not a good strategy since it seems the "Bush base" has gone to war with itself (not unlike the Iraqis).


I used to expect more of McCain. I don't anymore. The White House bug has bit him. But I would argue if one reviews the transcript one will find even more errors, and that is giving him the benefit of the doubt, than PL pointed to in his short post.
Disingenuous or delusional...take your pick.

Green Zone Cafe

I was just up in Erbil, I didn't see an Iraqi flag up there, and I heard Kurds say things about Arabs which were flat-out racist.

Here in Baghdad, the Shia Interior Ministry troops will take you into custody torture and kill you just for being named Omar.

W. Patrick Lang


Maybe you should tell McCain. pl

W. Patrick Lang


Wrong is wrong is wrong. I don't care what the motivation is/was. Some wrong judgments are beyond forgiveness. pl


I agree with PH there, on the Zinni interview.

Zinni was good. Russert's interview of Zinni begins on page 5 of the transcript, halfway down.



He was good in part because Me the Press managed to keep his mouth shut and let him speak without interruption. He only does that when the guests are delivering an approved message.

W. Patrick Lang


Zinni was flawless, as he always has been on this. He and I adressed a town meeting on this subject in Lexington in December '02. He was just the same as now.

Incidentally, anothr former CinC CENTCOM has told me that the Iraq contingency plan had 14 Army Divisions plus the marines in it before Rumsfeld and Franks got to whittling on it. pl

Norbert Schulz

how much is that in troops? approx 250.000?

W. Patrick Lang


If you think of a US Army division as 15,000 (they vary by type but this is a good average)and add in the probability of a marine division, say 18,000 you would have something in the area of a quarter of a million troops. To that you would have to add a "slice" (tranche) of corps and field army level support forces and the number would easily be up to 300,000.

At that level you are in the estimative range that Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki suggested was needed,

Pat Lang


@Pat and Norbert:

Am currently reading Trainor and Gordon's Cobra II. T&G estimate that Zinni's '98 plan (equally strong in teeth and tail) would have involved up to 380,000 men.

At the start of Cobra, Frank's ground forces commander, Gen. David McKiernan, had 145,000 men in Quwait or vicinity.

Some people whittle real fine.

Hope to write more on Cobra later in the week.

What I liked about the Zinni interview was his refutation of the "perhaps hundreds of tactical errors" meme that Rice floated last week. The major errors were strategic and we all know where they originated.

W. Patrick Lang


It would be really easy to get to T&G's number. I was being conservative.

The single greatest and most fatal flaw was the idiocy of disestablishing the Iraqi military rather than re-assembling it and making it the backbone of the new Iraq. It was the central institution in the emerging Iraqi national identity. pl


Not to mention that we could have given jobs to many of the young men that we sent home with their AK's. Instead we said don't worry, the market will find you a job in a few weeks. Guess what it did; as fighters against the US and the new gov't in Iraq.
I think that is still the greatest mistake we made once the invasion was under way.


Patrick Cockburn does not agree with McCain either: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n07/cock01_.html

I don't see Iraq as a country doomed by entrenched ethnic hatred like N.Ireland and I sense a great deal of fear at the prospect of a bloody Yugoslavia style break up of the country. Baghdad based bloggers like Riverbend and Zeyad seem baffled by the steady decay of tolerance between Sunni and Shi'a. There is a sad dynamic of fear in these insecure situations were people who've happily coexisted for generations can revert to clan loyalties for safety and then turn on each other. Those with friends or worse spouses on the other side become suspect.

One of the most depressing social science statistics about Belfast is that within the minority of people in the Catholic and Protestant ghettos who aren't sectarian bigots there is a majority of old folk. The people who remember the other tribe as their friends and neighbors before the paramilitaries drove them out.

Even in societies with strong group identities people can rub along together but once you subtract security and add neighborhood militias it all falls apart. Come to think of it: events in Missouri and Kansas during the Civil War suggests American society may nor be immune to this either.

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