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20 December 2006


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Where else but at SST, Col. Lang, could you encounter such diversity of opinion, freely expressed, and yes, some sniping as well. A microcosym, perhaps, of the very concerns that might be encountered in just such a conference as you envisage. It is novel to read outside the Green Zone box thinking that contemplates further than the next "surge" down the road. Whereas you sense upcoming ominous disaster that could envelop the ME the WH has placed its collective hands over its eyes and ears going "la, la, la, la,la, la"....Don't want to know....Can we bomb it better?.... Where's more firepower? This remains convincing logic to some. GWB appears frozen; afraid to contemplate change, desperate to avoid further ridicule and willing to ignore any advice where someone might say that the war cannot be won. Perhaps what's needed first is expert advice regarding a roadmap of the GWB mind, so that any approach allows him sufficient cover to consider that advocating dialogue with other nations of the ME, rather than a Shock and Awe approach, though appearing risky, may have the greatest chance of producing a positive GWB legacy. After all, he changed course completely on alcohol once and gained the Presidency. Is there any hoping for a miracle wherein Neo Con group-think develops laryngitis, just for a year or so?

John Hammer

The NY Times has called for a peace conference on its editorial page. I don’t recall seeing anything on the op-ed side.

Babak Makkinejad

There are many places you could try:

"Current History", "Foreign Affairs", "National Interest", "Middle East Journal", Army War College's "The Strategic Studies Institute"

John Shreffler


Try the Boston Globe or the New York Times. The latter might welcome the Stalingrad on the Tigris one. Happy holidays to all the community here.


In addition to Babak's suggestion I would also try Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker.

But an important aspect is to also to send it to our new Congress. I have already sent it to my senators and representative in the House as well as Sen. Jim Webb. I sincerely hope that the next Congress convenes hearings on the way forward in the ME and will call you to provide your insight and educate the American public. I believe there is a coalition of Republicans and Democrats that want to prevent any further escalation in Iraq and the ME even if it is couched in euphemisms like "surge" and instead are very interested in trying a diplomatic approach to bring stability. I think this political coalition is larger than we think and will find a voice in 2007. My own sense is that the Decider will not get a free pass as he has had over the past 6 years. When folks like Pat Buchanan say that attacking Iran without any direct provocation is an impeachable offense and that the next Congress should show courage and pass a resolution stating there cannot be any attack on Iran without an authorization by Congress, IMO, means that there are now conservative Republicans that want to put some brakes on the Decider's ill-advised actions.

Got A Watch

Col., sorry for being so negative, years of watching the Bushies in action have made me an angry and cynical sort. My apologies.

Your proposal is indeed probably the best way to bring an end to this sorry chapter in world history - except outside of this blog and some others (who would be dismissed as leftists/peaceniks by MSM/rightists) no one in the wider world is listening.

A case in point is Madame SuperTanker whose recent remarks ("Iraq Sacrifice Worth the Cost" http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1977712,00.html) prove just how steep a mountain you are seeking to climb. I do not mean to demean your effort in trying, at least it has stimulated discussion here and pointed the way to a better future.

Stating the alternative is a good benchmark, but since the folly is still ongoing, I should have used the word "premature" instead of "futility". One day when all parties have battled to exhaustion this may come to pass. Sadly, that day may not come this decade or even the next, with the current and future crop of "leaders" on all sides at the helm.

Thanks for this Blog, it is one of the very best on the web. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happier New Year! Non-Christians please insert Preferred Holiday Greetings here. Cheers!
I resolve to try to be less negative and cynical.


Colonel -
From the WashPo 'How to Submit an Opinion Editorial Piece' webpage:

"Non-exclusive submissions, including anything previously or simultaneously submitted to other publications or websites, are not reviewed."


Perhaps your reputation for open speech is working against you. The overall stance of their publication seems to be that they own exclusive rights to the truth and its presentation.

K Young

Would chances for acceptance of your "Concert" be improved if, early in the process,it was given a Middle Eastern face? A group of signatories, as representative of the area and factions as possible, lined up with you.

Arnold Evans

I would predict a concert could be called, but for the reasons listed earlier, none of the participants would be willing to behave as the US wants.

Either at that point, the US would change its demands or the concert would be over with no result.

For that reason, the points as listed in the essay are not relevant except as something for the Syrians, Turks, Iranians, Arabs, Israelis and Lebanese to say "no" to.

About the damage the US could do to Iran, this is already nearly a MAD situation. The US could damage Iran, but Iran would damage US interests and the world economy enough that overall the US couldn't possibly think it was worth it.

Europe and China would be more vehement that it was not worth it.

The invasion was a defeat. Not a tie. The US is in a weaker position than in early 2003, not the same position. Terms the US could have hoped to see accepted in early 2003 are now non-starters.

That is something that is apparently hard for Americans to get their heads around.

W. Patrick Lang

Arnold Evans

Most people in Washington overestimate the strength of the United States. I think you underestimate it. pl


Very good blog and comments.
I agree with Arnold Evans, b and ikonoklast; especially - ikonoklast's last posting makes me think about the ideas of late Edward Said - how eurocentric this whole discussion has become - the truth is controlled by the exclusive club with 'exclusive rights to the truth' - and these are the facts 'on the ground' and 'at the end of the day' (I hate these phrases with passion) - and these facts will change not by discussion in a 'quartet' nor by the wider gremium including China, nor by the UN - but by the forces of dissatisfied masses of people. We will have little influence, the bombings and military strikes here or there will have little effect, we have to see that there are 'glacial shifts' in the history we are witnessing now. It will take some genius of a philospher or sociologist to sort it out. In the meantime, people will suffer and die. I see no rosy end to the current events. Can someone persuade me that I am wrong?

Tom Milton

Col. Lang,

Suggest you go for the NYT op-ed since they did an editorial. I think they might buy in to a retired senior officer seconding their editorial and providing an outline for action along with a short history lesson. You certainly have sufficient credentials in this arena.

Fareed Zakaria at Newsweek might a good contact for advice and counsel and an entre into the WaPo/Newsweek empire. Don Graham was in the USN as a JO during Nam as I remember.

The Council on Foreign Relations in DC has a think tank and media specialists and some involvement with SecDef Gates recently. They might be worth a call or visit.

Best of luck. I still plan to fax my Senators and Representative over the weekend.


Col. -

"Khawarij" - This is not a bad description here -


Spend a little time on their websites and chat rooms, and see how "neo-Khawarij" is a label the jihadist dispises -- that's why I use it, to piss them off.


"Kurdistan seriously may be the issue that ends Turkey as a state."

NEVER, we will mobilize if the kurds or anyone else tries to partition the southeast. Annihilation to you before us.

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tc3M67 Kudos to you! I hadn't thought of that!

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