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30 October 2006


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Just read that Cheney said that the violence in Iraq is linked to the coming US elections. In this he is dusting off his 'last throes' theme one more time.


Cheney suggests the insurgents want to influence the US electorate by causing US casualties. He is probably even right in that.

But there's a catch: In my opinion (probably shared by the Iraqi insurgents) the war in Iraq is not all about US domestic policy, and blame gaming.

The point that the insurgent groups *can* increase the violence level, that they *can* take massive casualties and continue fighting, and that they *can* increase US casualties, to a new record level also suggests something else that is more important than US domestic policy:
That, no matter that there are elections coming the US have proved unable to stabilise the country and that this sad state of affairs will likely remain so. And that this gives not so much testimony to the ruthlessness and persistence of the Iraqi resistance but about the abysmal absence of able leadership and sound judgement that steered America into Iraq.

With regard to the LOC issue: Cheney and his goons have led the US forces into Iraq, where the US run risk losing an army in an battle of encirclement against a numerically superior but technically vastly inferior enemy.
The funny thing is that this time the maneuvering enemy put himself in the static trap, rather than trapping an immobile enemy through out-maneuvering him. Ironic.

W. Patrick Lang


I still think they did not want this kind of trouble. pl

W. Patrick Lang


You have been right all along. pl

4 billion

Not long ago, Mark Steyn graced Australia with his presence, thanks to our 'liberal' party leader, who paid for the whole trip, well, he didn't pay, we did. One of the Acorns of knowledge I managed to gather, was that he (read neocons) believe 9/11 came about due to stability in ME.
I think Steyn represents some sort of window into the mind of a neocon. His 'comedic' pursuits means he is able to let the ol' guard down.

João Carlos

Scary... I just read this post at Defense and National Interest.


However, I guess that can be worse than the author thinks. Iran have missiles that can hit the arabian refineries. If they can hit the arabian refineries they can hit the american bases at Iraq's soil too.


Brian Forester

Reply to Jonst:
If I wasn't at my core a very rational person I would say that the only explanation for President Bush's choices is that he believes in the 'End of Times' and that his actions are all part of that grand design.

More realistically I would say that the world view of President Bush and those who work for him leaves no room for self-doubt or any kind of introspection. All problems they face are from external sources and none of those problems are from the choices they've made.


I got the impression a couple of weeks ago that somewhere in the military people are now actually contemplating "nightmare" scenarios which involve a defeat of some description: Rumsfeld deployed in public to remind everyone that the US military is too powerful to be physically beaten in Iraq.

What I'm curious about is what is the minimal level of US troops in Iraq required to avoid collapse given the current state of play, and how does this impact on the modalities of withdrawal once the Bush administration has expired, and the decision to leave is made?

The lowest deployed level came in early 2004 - about 105k, although this number was supplemented by a much, much larger non-US coalition contingent than exists now; it's currently around 150k, bolstered by a declining UK presence and some Danish, Aussie, Salvadoran and Polish levies. How much longer can the US military field this level of manpower and resources before a wheel falls off somewhere?

John Hammer

Multinational forces south of the iyahs are guests of the Ayatollahs. I hope that the Turks can be bribed, coerced, cajoled, something, into accepting a new logistical tail snaking through their country into Iraqi Kurdistan.

Frank Durkee

Col. At this point in whose interest within Iraq is it to force the US out? Will we in fact leave if the Maliki government requests that we do so? Do we have the capacity, with or without Iraqui help, to stop the increasing ethnic cleansing and defacto division of the country?
Thank you.


The Armed Forces in Iraq are at the end of a long logistic tail manned by mercenaries with inadequate forces.

Worse than no contingency planning, the only goal of the US government is winning elections and keeping in power. Their strategic plan is to kill radical Muslims, also known as "whack a mole". The bombing of the Mosque in Pakistan is the latest example, now reported to be a Predator rocket attack rather than Pakistani helicopters.

Christian occupation of two Muslims countries, torture, American Gulags and indiscriminate killing in religious institutions will radicalize more Muslims than they kill. The Vietnam Body Count Syndrome is back big time except with a billion population pool the Jihadists will shortly overwhelm any American volunteer army. Not unlike Gordon of Khartoum.

Sooner or later, the secular practical military dictatorship in Pakistan will fall due to current American strategic practices. Pakistani Atomic Bombs will then transform into Allah's Weapons of Vengeance.

Nand Jagnath

Compared to what might happen in Iraq, America's departure from Saigon is beginning to look very leisurely.

Somehow, I can't bring myself to believe that the world's sole superpower, with highly professional men and women in uniform, hasn't made any contigency plans.

If America is unceremoniously booted out, the consequences for the region would be unimaginable and, I suspect, completely unpredictable. The Iraq conflict has created battle-hardened veterans who can train future generations of jihadists. Scary!


We already have indications that the uncertainty about what would happen in Iraq post invasion was regarded as a good thing - "Creative Chaos" - unpredictability, was the quote by Rumsfeld.

Well we have Chaos, and its creative, but we don't like the creations.

I believe we are about to see the Neo Cons argue that the reason we are losing is that the chaos is NOT creative enough. They will then bomb Iran.

I expect a false flag operation any day now (before the election) - an attack on an American ship, ostensibly by Iran.

The Republicans will then co-opt the Democrat candidates for an attack on Iran. After all, if American lives have been lost, what political candidate can be elected if he doesn't call for revenge?

There follows the bombing of Iran, followed by the imposition of the draft and other horrors.

I've been studying the sources of German militarism prior to WW1....there are disturbing parallels to whats happening in the U.S. today.



There isn't or wasn't the least "contingency planning." From what I read at Fester's Place the US had a reserve brigade in Kuwait to try and keep the south open in an emergency and for other thinngs I assume, but it was moved in for the Baghdad campaign. The British also seem to be getting out.

The contingency plan as always if faith based reality and saying the media never reports the good news. That always works until it doesn't.

John Howley

Odom explains cut and run:

"THE UNITED STATES upset the regional balance in the Middle East when it invaded Iraq. Restoring it requires bold initiatives, but "cutting and running" must precede them all. Only a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops — within six months and with no preconditions — can break the paralysis that now enfeebles our diplomacy. And the greatest obstacles to cutting and running are the psychological inhibitions of our leaders and the public.

"Our leaders do not act because their reputations are at stake. The public does not force them to act because it is blinded by the president's conjured set of illusions: that we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq; creating democracy there; preventing the spread of nuclear weapons; making Israel more secure; not allowing our fallen soldiers to have died in vain; and others."



The "end of days" 'explanation' is exactly what I am talking about. And it is clear that 'rational people' (and I count myself leaning in the direction of that group)are clueless to grasp what is going on. We, they, just can't imagine something so crazy as that could motivate so one who is President. But I wonder...how many times have 'rational people' made that mistake in history? And wound up paying for it dearly.


VietnamVet, on your last point, earlier today I was listening to an audio clip of a talk given by Scott Ritter with Seymour Hersh to promote his new book, and Hersh made a humourous aside in response to a question about Israel's concern about the Pakistani bombs, that the special forces of Israel, America, and India will crowd each other out beating a path to secure them should Musharraf fall.

The link is below; if you like discussions about a possible America-Iran war it's right up your alley. I've always enjoyed Ritter's coherent summation of the subjects he talks about, and luckily for me the book in question is on the shelf waiting to be picked up at the library.


4 billion

A strike on Iran will only achieve setting back Nuclear bomb programme by 5 years and open up a new dimension in the world of hurt.
A strike is more evidence of NeC-planX from planet chaos.


A question, Colonel. Can you think of another case where an American army has been left dangling at the end of such a long LOS?

I can think of only three -- Sherman and the Army of the Ohio in Georgia, MacArthur and Wainright on Bataan (which is to say, no LOS at all) and the Anglo-American Army in France in the fall of 1944, up until the opening of the port of Antwerp.

The first led to Sherman's daring but successful decision to live off the land, the second led to the largest surrender in U.S. Army history, while the third caused the allied drive to bog down on the German frontier -- not a disaster, but a huge lost opportunity to end the war quickly.

I'd call that a 1-1-1 record. What's the damage likely to be in Iraq if someone makes a serious attempt to cut the line?

Unmitigated Audacity

Just as the roman emperor Julian lost his army in Mesopotamia, the British were forced from Iraq and many other armies (some lost to the sands of time) were humiliated in the land of the two rivers, so too will the cream of America's military industrial complex be destroyed if we don't effect a strategic redeployment, and soon.

It's hard to see a redeployment happening, even if the GOP gets it's head handed to it in the mid-terms. Tho I fervently hope the Dems pick up a majority in the house to provide some kind of break on the lunatic policies of our neo-Nero, still, the Dems seem almost as thoroughly invested in this disaster as the most rapturized christian conservative.

The poster who said that chaos was the end-game is on to something. This is my own conclusion. Not that these geniuses were prescient enough to foresee the present bloodbath in it's particulars, but they certainly knew they were setting into motion a process that would lead to anarchy and revolutionary change in the SW Asia region.

I think the goal of this crowd of neocons, who are merely the 'office interns' of their bosses, the synarchist Globalization mafia, was/is the destruction of the nation-state institution, starting in SW Asia, then spreading throughout the world in order to usher in a neo-feudal world order. The uber-bosses don't care if the US economy and military gets gets destroyed in the process a spreading conflagration of asymmetrical warfare in Iraq (and Iran). That is something they intend to effect somewhere down the line anyway. The ultimate goal is a marriage of global cartels and financiers with a privatized, high-tech 'Crusader' military capability - an updated version of the Nazi ideal of international cartels wedded to an international Waffen SS.


"Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital."

Another attempt to dishearten the GOP base in mid-Philidelphia?


Baghdad under seige

As American and British political leaders argue over responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, the country has taken another lurch towards disintegration.

Well-armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement.

The Sunni insurgents seem to be following a plan to control all the approaches to Baghdad. They have long held the highway leading west to the Jordanian border and east into Diyala province. Now they seem to be systematically taking over routes leading north and south.

The problem it seems is not only if Shia militias start attacking supply convoys in the south but also Sunni militias controlling access into Baghdad.


I, too, am a completely untrained, concerned person who read about this supply line vulnerability soon after the invasion. My question is: if this is the case, why haven't the insurgents done it already? Thank you.

W. Patrick Lang


The main LOC runs through Shia country to the south. The Shia have been content up until now to do nothing about it because the US occupation was producing a desired result from their point of view.

From the Baghdad area out to the various FOBs the routes run through a lot of Sunni Arab country and these roads are under constant attack. pl


Interesting article in todays AsiaTimes on the violence in Iraq today, and it's (possible) roots, looking back to the pre-Baath era.

For the author resistance to foreign occupation is an important factor. The IMO really interesting part is in the second half of the article: That, with a grain of salt, savage political violence is an expression of Iraq's 'national political culture'. Iraq's history suggests that much: Iraq's politics are a piranha pool, where losers and their extended families are killed off if they stay in country.


That suggests that Iraq's political groups would butcher each other until somehow a degree of stability has been reached, and that the US are caught in the middle. Whoever the US side with on their quest for elusive stability, they will inevitably antagonise their allies opponents, while discrediting their allies - with the added disadvantage that nobody except those exiles wants the US there anyway.

The locals will try use the US to improve their political position in Iraq's internal power struggle. That will continue until the US either withdraw, or antagonise a strong player (Iran and/ or the Shias) to an extent that the benefits ot US presence are outweighed by the nuisance of US meddling. That will then be the "The Sword that Cuts the Arteries of the Infidels" scenario.

If Iraq is lucky the country will become stably unstable, much like Colombia. And much like in Colombia the US will keep a foot in the door, in case of withdrawal. In case of US defeat, that will no longer be possible.

As for militias: It's remarkable (and remakably under-reported) that the militias have in part been created or at least supported by the US. That probably also led to the creation of counter-militias to protect the groups threatened by pro-US militias. Units like that so-called 'Wolf Brigade' aren't exactly 'Iraqi' units.


'Recruited in Sadr City' hardly inspires confidence in Sunni communities.

Friendly Fire

The Shia/Iran coalition will do nothing overtly damaging to the US presence in Iraq as long as the Sunni/Saudis keep US troops "in-country" and attacking them.

Piggy in the middle and killing a superpower in the process is pretty stragetic stuff.

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