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12 November 2006


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The reason I was asking my cousin about buying real estate in Uraguay or Argentina is that I was really worried about nuclear fallout in the Northern Hemisphere from the combined Israeli/American air attack on Iran.

I hope, I pray, that that particular fantasy of the decider's has abated.

The war in Iraq is a political disaster for the Republicans. I really wonder how long they will permit it to continue.

semper fubar

Another, perhaps more likely, possibility is that Bush The Lesser is royally pissed that everyone in the entire country is laughing at him now that Poppy just swooped in to bail him out and clean up the mess one more time. Hume is just doing his bidding by trying to spread the absurd idea that nominating Gates was all The Idiot Son's idea. Right.

Duncan Kinder

People in the Washington/New York establishment act and talk as though the Iraq problem is an American political problem and that the Iraqis and other Muslims are acted upon rather than being actors in the drama.

This is central - and gives rise to the question of what - if anything - at this late date could possibly done to prevent the upcoming train wreck - even if somehow the Washington establishment has the will and the wisdom to do that.

Or has the United States entirely been overtaken by circumstances which now are beyond its control?

W. Patrick Lang


Nope. "W" got rid of Rummy becasue he was a PR problem in dealing with the peblic's displeasure.

"W" got rid of him because "W" intends to continue the same policy in Iraq.

If you think "W" is stupid, you have missed it. pl


Does this statement describe anyone you know:

Odds are you've run across one of these characters in your career. They're glib, charming, manipulative, deceitful, ruthless -- and very, very destructive. And there may be lots of them in America's corner offices.


"The reason I was asking my cousin about buying real estate in Uraguay or Argentina is that I was really worried about nuclear fallout in the Northern Hemisphere from the combined Israeli/American air attack on Iran."

That's a non issue.A few nuclear bombs (if that is what you meant) going off over Iran will have a negligible effect on world scale. Certainly the dozens of atmospheric nuclear tests carried out in Nevada were not the end of the USA.


Col. Lang,

I think that the President is up that river in Egypt "De Nile" about the reality of Iraq.

This reality has been carefully shaped by Cheney, Rumsfeld, and a host of others, PNAC, AIPAC, Israel and so on. A lot of people invested a lot of treasure and careers to get Bush into Iraq.

For the record, this "reality" can be summed up as perpetual war by the west against an amorphous muslim terrorist army financed by the country, or organisation, of your choice. Add some evangelical crap about "end times" for spice.

You can hear this reality in Bush's stump speaches before the election, you can hear it every day on FoxNews (Did you know that we our soldiers were in Iraq "Fighting for our freedom????), you can see it in those helpful little thinkpieces in the right wing press inciting hatred, ridicule, and contempt for Islam and those who practice it, for example how female circumcision is a muslim thing (its actually an African thing).

My major concern is that these people are not going to let their investment in "The Decider" go under without a fight, and its going to happen very, very, soon, before the real "reality" can jam its foot in the Whitehouse door and prise it open.

Now we get Jungian, Bush Jr. has been in his fathers shadow almost all his life. He is still competing with his father deep within his psyche. For Bush Jr. to be seen to accept advice or instruction from his father is actually death to him. I hope and pray Bush Jr. has not seen the cover of Newsweek with its headline "Father Knows Best." it will send him into orbit.

So what happens when one is confronted with the ultimate psychological dilemma - being in a "place" where you cannot stay but cannot leave? Bush is going to look anywhere and everywhere for a way out.

The "best" thing that could happen to Bush Jr. psychologically right now would be for Iran to attack U.S. assets, after which he can easily deflect his fathers attentions and resume his persona as a "War President", say "I told you so, I was right all along" and drag Congress and the American people along with him into war with Iran.

The temptation for Israel to mount a false flag operation against American ships in the Gulf and blame it on Iran must be overwhelming right now. They've done it before.


While I don't necessarily think "W" is "stupid" per se, I do see him as posessessed of the sort of aggressive ignorance, the weaponized ignorance, typical of petulant narcissists whose delusions of grandeur blind them to reality.

And if this is an accurate take on the "Decider's" pathology, he becomes vulnerable to the machinations of anyone clever enough to get him to believe his "legacy" will be better served by implementing one strategy over another.

Maybe I'm naive, but I think Cheney and his Jacobin horde have been the main voices in "W's" ear since they rode into The White House with him, but now it does seem that the Baker,Scowcroft gang might be trumping the Cheney dogma in a way that will appeal to someone with the cognitive and emotional problems Mr. Bush exhibits on a regular basis.

I agree that James Baker, et al are not likely to offer a plan for Iraq that appears to be, on the surface, too different from "W's" stubborn, "stay the course" mantra, but I do think that if Baker stays on top of things and replaces Cheney as primary advisor, at least the military assault against Iran will be sidelined, and some sort of regional cooperation amongst Iraq's neighbors might be pursued with the intent of protecting themselves from the effects of Iraq's further descent into chaos and civil war.

I think Baker & Co. might be able to convince "W" such ideas are worth pursuing, even if they have to do it by appealing to his ego. (And if Baker draws Rice to his side of the table on these matters I suspect his hand will be strengthened considerably.)


"A few nuclear bombs"

With an Iranian civilian population suffering from radiation burns streaming over its borders, I honestly wonder how long Pakistan (which has just bombed a school and killed school children based on "American intelligence") can stay out of the conflict. Pakistan has nuclear weapons, if I recall. Marcello, I believe you are being a tiny bit too "surgical" in saying this is a non-issue. And think what the response of Europe would be. Do you believe that Europe will rattle its sabers on the side of the US/Israel? Guess again.

Ah, the Walrus. The Israeli's are nuts. Completely bat[rhmes with sit] nuts. They are capable of anything, because they believe they are incapable of being in the wrong. And they must realize that their last chance with the US is rapidly approaching. So, yes, Sr. Walrus. You may be right.

And all this in the context of American Jewish voters (who clearly do not share the psychosis of AIPAC or the Israeli government) voting overwhelmingly for Democrats in the election.

What a world!

Babak Makkinejad


My impression is that there is absolutely no Muslim government that has trust in USG policies; there is tremendous amount of confusion among friend and foe regarding the "true" intentions of USG.

The attitude that Col. Lang is describing is not confined to Iraq; it covers all of the Near Eastern and North African states,


"Unless some catastrophe intervenes, two years from now we will still be fighting in Iraq with much the same number of forces, and by then decline will have set in at home and abroad in ways that can only be hinted at now." - PL

I couldn't agree more.

Notice that the newly elected Democrats are looking for political cover from ISG. Jim Baker aint going to propose something the Decider does not want. He is not going to embarass the Decider. Withdrawing from Iraq would be a personal failure for the Decider. He is not going to agree to that. Using PL's yardstick during the IDF-HA conflict, if US forces leave the Iraq battlefield wihout any kind of domestic settlement in Iraq it will be considered defeat by everyone. I am convinced that we will be in Iraq in 2008 and the Democrats will now also get the blame and the American people will be more frustrated with a pox on both houses attitude.

In addition we are going to witness a major cutback by the American consumer who have financed their profligate spending on the back of the housing ATM and increased debt. Home equity withdrawal has already collapsed in the past year. The Federal Reserve is reporting a near $400 billion reduction on an annualized basis - that's big money. Additionally the US consumer have increased their debt levels by nearly three times over the last 15 years to over $12 trillion with mortgages representing a significant portion of that debt. As the housing market cools that ATM spigot will be shutting down and the mortagage debt will look more onerous relative to newly repriced lower housing values. Add to that GDP growth rate is decelerating rapidly from 5.5% in the first quarter to 1.6% in the third quarter and we are possibly looking at the first consumer-led recession since 1991 in the near future. We know what that did to GHWB.

The next 2 years will be a period of major discontent for the average American. I think new politicians like Jim Webb are accurately capturing this oncoming angst wave with a message of economic fairness and redefinition of American foreign and defense policy. Only time will tell how America deals with these challenges.

John Howley

When Nixon went haywire, the healthy bits of the Establishment conspired to bring him down.

Could it happen again?

Oops! Sorry, I forgot who the Number Two is.

Forget I said anything...


Iwould love to see someone...(anyone!) get on one of those talking heads shows and state with the same clarity and focus, the reality of the situation in Iraq. References to the "soveriegn" government & the like, sound increasingly like pure fantasy. The closest I have heard (on TV)was former Ambassador Peter Galbraith's analysis. His point of view is essentially that Iraq has already begun to disintegrate and that kind of perspective would make our boy-king place his fingers in his ears and make silly noises - or something like that ....


"Pakistan has nuclear weapons, if I recall."

50-60 or something like that.Even if they use some of them it would still be a non issue in terms of contamination on a global scale.They will probably use fewer than the soviets did to see if nuclear explosion were a workable way to dig canals.

"Marcello, I believe you are being a tiny bit too "surgical" in saying this is a non-issue."

Nuclear fallout beyond the region would be a non issue. Everything else would be hell of course.


I am not sure why you have to introduce nukes over Iran to have a lot of bad things in your future. In no particular order: Pakistan is on the cusp; Afghanistan is set on a downward spiral and the West is going to run out of enthusiasm before long; Iraq (remember Iraq?) is nowhere yet near really bad and the US hasn't even left yet; think of the breakup of Iraq and imbroglios on every border starting perhaps with a Turkish-Kurdish war; Saudi Arabia wobbling; hurt, damaged, shamed and enraged Arabs and Muslims worldwide (and they know where you live), and so on, etc, etc.

No, nukes are unnecessary. Remember, less is more. The American President (and thus the United States of America) is doing quite well without nukes.

Frank Durkee

Asd he has done domestically, so also in foreighn affairs, Bush has set the curse for the future even after he leaves. Lik it or not his foreign policy has many of the same attributes ass his domestic policy which is to 'kill the [Mew Deal ] beast], so also inf foreign policy it is to move out of the 'realist' position into a situation of dramitic change in the Near East and other areas of the world. At bes all that can be done now is to pick up the pieces and hope that the damage is not too great. Like it or not he has set the agenda for the near term future both in the US and the world. This I think cincious and planned, part of his wanting to be a dramatic and reveloutionary leader.

Charlie Green

I found a news article from the AP which actually outlined all the players in Iraq. Amazing!
(The original URL is so long it truncates in the preview; use the two halves in the second one to find the story.)

I agree with Col. Lang about the [non]consequences of the election on WH policies (in Iraq or anywhere else). My perception is that Rummy offered to resign one too many times and W said "Yes.". Maybe Rove or another moron suggested he do so.

To characterize this whole thing (like progressives and other groups have been doing) as 41 intervening is an error, I think. He and Bill C. are having too much fun to be concerned. :)

The Colonel is right: we're doomed to another two years of Iraq death and destruction. Unless the circumstances there make us extraneous. A not unlikely prospect.

different clue

It is good to be reminded
that the Iraqis are independent actors here.
One thing we can do, and
others have put this better,
is to renounce the permanent
bases, renounce the Green Zone Embassy, announce that
we accept whatever approach
Iraqis take towards oil ownership and oil contracts,
including cancellation of PSAs and re-nationalization
of the oilfields. Senator
elect Webb has already said
we should renounce the permanent bases. If he can
get other Democrats in the
next Congress to pass Sense-of-the-Senate and Sense-of-the-House Resolutions supporting all these renunciations, the Sunni Insurgents, at least, might
respond positively. If the
Congress could announce that, seeing as the President tricked the Congress into voting under
false pretenses for the Authorization of Force; the
Congress hereby, now knowing
what the true pretenses are,
votes to cancel, null out, and render void the Authorization of Force. Such a cancellation could be
a first step to shutting down the Iraq effort, which
would stimulate the KurdiShia Bloc to begin good
faith negotiations with the
Sunni Bloc to share power, oil, money, etc.
About Israel staging a false-flag attack on American forces to get America to attack Iran; even
if they want to, how could
they reach the Persiarabian
Gulf? Just as likely, to my
mind, would be for President
Bush to order the false-flag
attack his own self, with
some kind of parallel forces, either mercenaries
or other. There is precedent. The Hitler Nazi
regime staged such a false
flag attack at Gleiwitz. Or
the Bush regime could simply
order certain parts of our
naval or other forces to violate Iranian airspace and
waterspace so brazenly and
repeatedly that Iran is forced to respond. And Bush
would simply lie about the
reason for the Iranian response, in a Gulf of Tonkin Incident manner.
I believe I remember reading that once Hitler realized Germany was defeated, he wanted Germany
destroyed for being unworthy
and unable of fulfilling his
vision of its destiny, and
his own. President Bush may
well be inhabiting this sort
of headspace. He may already be planning to destroy as much of America as he can, in revenge for us
not giving him his Great Victory, and for voting against him this election.


"When Nixon went haywire, the healthy bits of the Establishment conspired to bring him down.

Could it happen again?"

Funny thing, I just read a pretty good article talking about that.

Survivor: The White House Edition

The article is at Vanity Fair. Here's a smaller URL.


As with Vietnam, so with Iraq: in the last act of a failed war the backstage action is about saving reputations, not lives. The flurry of exits, finger-pointing, and self-justification exploited by Bob Woodward leaves just three men to blame: Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. Which is where Henry Kissinger, the master survivor, comes in.

And yes, the author argues:

[..]Cheney is the new Nixon.

It's Kissinger, it's got to be Kissinger, who tells Bush what he's got to do with Cheney.

Cheney, in this respect, is such a gift. Born to be hated. He might even willingly—given his dystopian personality—take the fall. He resigns—his hundred heart attacks could be the gentle cover. But it's clear: the war's on him. It's his mistake. (Since we've regarded him as a virtual president anyway, we ought to accept his leave-taking as a virtual impeachment and removal.) McCain is nominated to replace Cheney as V.P. The Republicans go wild because they have a presidential contender in the White House (likewise, the Democrats might not be so unhappy to have McCain suddenly stuck with Iraq). The smarty-media pendulum swings (or at least hesitates) because McCain is McCain and because he might be the next president. A big conference of Arabs is convened. McCain heads a blue-ribbon delegation to Iraq (Powell comes back for this), which determines that the Iraqis are ready to handle their own security. We cut and run, declaring victory.

And Bush can go to China, or North Korea. With Kissinger.

The end in Iraq may not yet be near, but it is ordained.

little blue hen

I'm more interested in finding out how Mr. Gates might affect any future plans for Iran - thought I read somewhere that he believes in talking to them. If that is true it would certainly be a relief. And publicly, at least, W. hasn't really stuck his neck out on Iran (that is, locked us into a particular course of action), so perhaps he won't be as stubborn?


"Shock and Awe":mesmerize the peasants with your firepower. Accept looting: "free people are free to do bad things". Remove the former army command structure. Decide that insufficient troops are plenty to do the job if used efficiently. Spend, spend, spend on a Kubla Khan palace of a USA embassy while there is insufficient water and uncertain electrical power for others: the people of Iraq to whom the gift of freedom is being given. Oh yes, it's time for you to stand up now. Reminds one of the book "Lord of the Flies" by William Fielding where society descends into chaos after the veneer of civilization is ripped away. God love our soldiers in the middle of it all. In retrospect it becomes some mad Darwinian experiment perpetrated on the people of Iraq or a Creationism experiment that has escaped the lab and blown up the building. Survival of the Fittest"orchestrated in part by a man who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth whose most difficult battle was putting down the bottle .


The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.

Ex.-Lieut.-Col. T.E. Lawrence,
The Sunday Times, 22 August 1920

We need you more now more than ever, Col. Lang.

anna missed

So, Bush is now polling at 29%, post election. "Big Daddy" Bush makes the cover of Newsweek magazine, posing as "Big Daddy" with little Brick sulking in the background. The Iraq Study Group has reemerged from its pre-election ruse status and lives on as either an exploding victory cigar for the democrats or a hickory switch for little Brick, or perhaps both. But one things for sure, this aint no study group. At least from the Iraqi perspective -- and because of that, it really has nothing to do with Iraq perse. Like Vernon Jordan, Sandra Day O'Connor, or Rudolph Giuliani knows squat about Iraq -- sure, how to fix Iraq? Lets ask Ed Meese, I bet he'll know what to do. Jesus. No way never. No. This "sudy group" is nothing less than a political intervention, an overacted and acting out melodrama version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Complete with sanctamonious soliloquies delivered and deliberated upon in the media, all with the requisit grave seriousness. After all, reputations are at stake, ideology is at stake, shit, maybe even the old plantation itself is at stake. And like Cat, they will drill and poke through, just enough of it, the mile deep sludge layer of self obsession and denial built up by the whole families work in Iraq, to reveal just enough of the horror created, to facilitate what might begin to look like a sober re-assessment. What might look like a fresh start. Big Daddy and Brick will go into the basement for a real heart to heart, and maybe discover one another. But what they won't discover, even if the ISG pulls Brick back into the family fold -- is that none of this passion play has a fucking thing to do with what happens in Iraq, and everything to do with how we see it, by not seeing it.


Why don't we hear about the United Nations?

The UN is the only way out of this. It is the only bandaid we have.

But of course the reason we don't hear about the UN is AIPAC. AIPAC and Zion hate the UN.

So the US is trapped in a box constructed in a foreign land.


Olmert is visiting with a strong "don't talk to Iran" message.

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