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16 October 2006


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Byron Raum

backsdrummer, I read your post with great dismay. Partly in context, I regret to report something profoundly depressing: I have just had a "discussion" (i.e. shouting match) on Slate with someone who claims to be a military advisor in Iraq. He explained that the recent report about deaths in Iraq is unreliable because the Arabs are a hysterical and emotional people and therefore prone to exaggeration. When I pointed out that the Arabs had had a very significant part in building the foundations that today's technology and science, he explained that actually if I looked at a map, I would see that Arabia lay at the crossroads of many trade routes and what we think of as Arabic science was actually transmitted by travellers who happened to be passing through, not the Arabs themselves. Also, I have learnt that Arabic is a language that does not lend itself to logical thought.

As I said, it is profoundly depressing to think that this person serves as a military advisor in Iraq. Unfortunately, I have no reason to believe otherwise.

As for the ISG, I am starting to side with the people that the only reason for Mr. Baker's presence is to be able to say "Wise heads have considered the matter in great detail. We have talked with everyone, including the Iranians and various factions. Our conclusion is that the only option is to stay the course."

Everyone keeps forgetting that this mess wasn't the inevitable result of the Iraq invasion! It was not necessary to disband the army, it was not necessary to allow the infrastructure to be looted. If we had invaded Iraq wisely, there is no reason to believe that we could not have helped turn it into a somewhat-functioning democracy. Democracy is inherent in human nature; it is difficult to believe it would not have worked in Iraq under the right circumstances - the people were already somewhat secularized, well-educated and used to all the concepts we like to think of as Western. It is people like my genius friend mentioned above who created this great mess.

Assume that Bush was impeached and someone really intelligent and competent took power. What could such a person do under the circumstances we have today? Other than stay the course?

Why would the Iranians want to negotiate with us? What do we have to offer? For that matter, why would al-Qaeda? We have done everything they wanted. What else can we offer?



John Patrick Murtha, Jr. on Iraq
Confessions of a "Defeatocrat"
A man of valor tells the Chickenhawks where to get off


Other intersting news today
Italian premier promises to sell Lebanon Aster 15 SAM's. This are hot items that defend the aircraft carrier le general Charles de Gaulle and some RN destroyers. Imagine Leb having some air defense. Some things never cease to amaze.

Best Wishes


I thought that Baker, and for that matter the fellow-traveller Lee Hamilton, said nothing at all that pointed in the direction of serious thought on Iraq.

They apparently believe that there is some middle ground that is "sensible" as opposed to stay-the-course or get out ASAP.

This suggests that they are engaged in the production of a politically acceptable document as opposed to determining a course of action that would be best for the country.

Didn't we see this in Vietnam? Peace with honor? Vietnamization? These ostensibly plausible policy choices failed to account for the actual realities of the situation, and I see the same thing coming down the pike now.

Our influence in Iraq must already be decaying by the hour. The only way to get back in the game is to formulate a sustainable policy as opposed to a political band aid.

All those brave soldiers, all that blood, for this? Colin Powell must be apoplectic.


dano @ 01:02AM,

"This isn't really about Iraq, it's about retaining political power in the US."

Exactly. I have tremendous respect for JB-III as a negotiator. His objectives are to position the Republican Party as strongly as possible for November 7th, and to get access for American and western companies to as much of the ME oil as possible, including Iran's. Then he's got his own objectives. This is no different than fixing one of Dubya's DWIs or muffling Poppy's mistress story before it hit the presses. Just a different scale, is all.

Baker's totally threading the needle by repeating the Jacobin talking point about Iraqis coming to get us. If you were the Bush family lawyer, wouldn't you make the same statement? It's a fig leaf for Dubya's crotch.

Meanwhile, the USS Eisenhower carrier battle group should arrive on station in the Persian Gulf in about 4 days. It sailed 6 months before its crew expected it to deploy. I'm not real sure there are going to be elections. Would Cheney and Rumsfeld start another war to avoid bad domestic political outcomes? Ummm, let me think. Yes. These men were participating in government-replacement drills with the Pentagon in the 80s, when they didn't even hold government offices. (Google it.)

The USS Maine in Havana harbor. The Gulf of Tonkin. All starting a war with Iran will take is for them to "sink" one of our ships. Probably a submarine, because that one hasn't been done before, and it doesn't need to be real.

That's why I'm rooting for James Baker. That's what he's up against.

anna missed

The 9 paradoxes of counterinsurgency, mentioned above from Military Review --would confirm the "its all about us" type thinking. And is'nt it an example of "conflating" to enter into, with regards to military action, any of the paradoxes -- with a preconcieved intent (the "all about us" part) that trumps the facts on the ground? What other possible explanation could there be for either the dogged pursuit of such counter-productive military tactics or its mirror image political farce? Unless of course, the "conflation" is the necessary fog machine to shield the true intentions from ourselves in some kind of epic tale of "bad faith". As in which case we stumble blindly and thrash at the demons of our own imagination. At a cool 2 billion a week, it seems we should look into this.


regarding five Ps: Back in the 1960s in my platoon we used to call it the six Ps. It was drummed into the head of all, even the lowest private.

"Prior planning prevents p!ss poor performance"


"If you are not surprised it is because you are not simple minded, but here we have the 'last great hope' selling us this bullshit."

At a very attractive mark up for the Carlyle Group, I might add.

Soonmyung Hong


Let me know about your "aster-15" information.
is it from DEBKAfile only? or other sources also did confirm this?


Mr. Cheney (speaking with Limbaugh today):

"If you look at the general overall situation, they’re [the Iraqi government) doing remarkably well. It’s still very, very difficult, very tough. Nobody should underestimate the extent to which we’re engaged there with this sort of, at present, the 'major front' of the war on terror. That’s what Osama bin Laden says, and he’s right."

Dick and Osama and Baker and Bush all in agreement. Talk about conflation.

Everybody's engaged with this sort of major terror front at present ... oh please. Try moving your lips a little less, Dick; maybe no one will be able to tell you're lying.


All intelligence out of Iraq suggests this is no longer a functioning state.

'Consigliere' draws up routes out of Iraq for embattled President

Talabani backs 'Iran-Syria plan'


What, if anything, do you, PL, or the readers, make of the premise in this post?




you got my number. I get a lot of my disinformation from Debka which if not a MOssad site is directly wired into it. The Aster 15 SAM, SAAM info cam from it.

I've been reading about the Aster 15, 30. very very remarkable system, capable of last minute course corrections, 90 degree turns. The italian techs will be keeping tight control over them. And the Chechen Russian battalions in Sidon will be watching them very carefully. (unless the Russkies have already gotten their hands on Asters).

Best Wishes

But now the Jerusalem Newswire has picked it up

Best Wishes

Soonmyung Hong


Thanks for URLs.

DEBKA said "Ground to Air" Aster-15.

Aster System has 3 kind of platforms.

SAAM is point defense(shorter range) naval air defense system.
It is using Aster-15 only.

SAAM is area defense(longer range) naval air defense system.
It is using Aster-15/30.

"Land SAAM AD(SAMP/T)" is Aster's the only land-based platform. It used Aster-30(longer-range version), not Aster-15.

So it must be 'SAMP/T'.

According to manufacturer "Eurosam", SAMP/T system is not fully developed yet. It just started operational-test.
"On December 20th 2005, the Franco-Italian SAMP/T medium-range land system successfully fired an ASTER 30 missile on the CELM Landes test site. This firing is part of the qualification tests of the SAMP/T system, which will enter into operational evaluation with the French and Italian Armed Forces during the second 2006 semester."

I can't believe it is exportable now.



Scenarios for the Insurgency in Iraq


One of the scenarios is:

"Descent into Hell

The insurgency leads to a regional war."

Worth reading for it's efforts at thinking out how each scenario would play out given the forces operating in Iraq.

"Forget about the Sunni insurgents who said today that they are willing to negotiate with us."

Pat -

Since the Republican Guard and Baathists went to ground and sequestered all the armamanents they could, this - negotiation - has been the inevitable end of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We sat down with the North Vietnamese, after a long time of pretending that we were too important and dominant to sit down and talk to lessers.

We have never, ever (in spite of shock and awe and dominance of their air space) been in a situation in Iraq to do anything but sit down, have a cease-fire, and then somehow turn Iraq over to the parties other than Chalabi and his crooked puppet friends. (Even if we DO manage somehow to give it to Chalabi, his people won't control the country and will be out within a year or two - Chalabi's head will be on a pike shortly after such a turnover.)

Yeah, the oil is in the way. But, in the end, we DO sit down, tails between our legs, and humbly give them what we don't want to give them. And all the Bush changes to their laws allowing the US oil companies to own their oil fields will be swept away.

It is either negotiate or we will see a repeat of the helicopters on the top of the US Embassy, ala Saigon 1975.

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