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03 December 2006


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and on that "happy" note, let's cue the music and watch as the Titanic slowly slips under the waves........

thanks, Pat, for your clear analysis--as usual. Too bad it won't sober up the Bushies......

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

In my opinion and for the reasons that I had postd earlier, the Sunni Arab states are bluffing.

I think they are much more concerned with the effect of the ongoing war in Iraq on their own internal security - they are afraid that their populations will do something to them.

The Sunni Arab states that are allies of US have been utterly incapable of affecting events that have been of core concern to their populations: Palestine and now Iraq. So these populations are asking: "What Good are these Governments?"

As for US strategy to support Shai to the hilt- there is no other way.


Even as Cheney was in Riyadh, an F-16 and then 3 helicopters were downed in the Anbar Province. This indicates the presence of sophisticated SAMs, and it's rather unlikely Iran would've supplied them to the Sunnis.

To thicken the plot, the Air Force claims all its pilots are safe and accounted for, and is conducting DNA tests on the F-16's ejection seat. The plane belonged to the 524th Fighter Squadron, Cannon AFB New Mexico.

For what plausible reason would the Air Force NOT know the identity of one of its downed fighter pilots, especially one in the act of flying close ground support?

Duncan Kinder

If it does, then we should expect that the Sunni Islamic World will rise up against us with a ferocity that we have not yet seen. pl

It seems that the United States, in the so-called "War on Terror," is getting itself sucked into the midst of a pan-Islamic civil war concerning which it has little knowledge and less interest.


It's striking how the US seems to maneuver it self in to a situation with no real allies or options and a hugely diminished influence over the whole ME region.


Update to my last comment:

"The U.S. Air Force confirmed that an American pilot whose F-16 went down in Anbar on Nov. 27 was killed, using DNA analysis to identify his remains.

The U.S. Air Force on Sunday announced the death of Maj. Troy L. Gilbert, 34, whose F-16 fighter crashed in Anbar on Nov. 27. U.S. forces have said insurgents reached the crash site before American forces. The cause of the crash is under investigation, but officials said they did not believe Gilbert was shot down."




"It's striking how the US seems to maneuver it self in to a situation with no real allies or options and a hugely diminished influence over the whole ME region."

No, crkantz, the US does have real allies in the ME region: Chalabi, Talabani, and Pervez Musharraf. Oh, and of course Israel.

Jerry Thompson

The insurgency(ies) in Iraq are unique in that they need very little beyond cash from outside supporters. There is a (for practical purposes) unlimited amount of trained military manpower, of military age, unemployed and available for mobilization. Similarly, there is a virtually unlimited supply of explosives and individual weaponry. This is true of the Sunnis (which the Shi'a, Zelikow and others underestimate). It is also true of the Shi'a and Kurds (which the Sunnis may underestimate. Despite the level of violence we have seen up to now, if we "tilt" toward taking sides -- we ain't seen nothin' yet. The better policy is to focus on reconciliation, as difficult and risky as that choice would be. The agenda for such a policy was established in the list of issues left open when the current constitution was ratified. Thus far, we have left reconciliation in the Too Hard box and focused on 'effective governance' -- another manifestation of 'appearance over substance' which has guided our overall policy to date.


Hey, ckrantz, do you really think the "US" - whatever that means - has the finesse to maneuver itself so exquisitely incompetently time after time? They seem capable of injecting some troops, or national interest, into wherever. After that - and oft times before - its only the locals who have the skills required to drive that mighty confused beast where they will.

Even if Bush had never invaded, and the world was still signed on to constraining Saddam, the "tipping point", would have been ever nearer. What of Iran, Lebanon, and that - gigantic turd in the pool as another commentator aptly put it - the ever more Occupied Territories? As well, Obviously the US thinks the Saudis are running out of easy oil reserves - they gotta go somewhere.

The Israels' continuous creeping annexation, creepily resonant approach to ghettoization, assassination collective punishment and fiendish provocations dressed up as "security" would have
kept the pot boiling.

Sharon, or his analogue would have turned up the heat visiting the local sights, engaging in a Gaza bait-and-switch, or some other diverting parlour trick suspending reality for all to see. The assured indignant Israeli response to the lack of fervour the locals greeted this tactical magniminity with would once again displace rationality and reality - with renewed justification for the ontological campaign against those Gazan ingrates and their ilk. Of course, the Palestinians are no less manipulated, but often much more crudely and overtly, by an assassination here, an, an "accident" there, and Bobs your uncle, the little buggers strike back just as their stage directions say.

Viewed from Israel, the reactions thus engendered can always be sold as about its' existence, and never about its actions. Ditto for Washington, with the caveat that accurate perception generally decreases the further one is removed from the phenomenon observed.
That is, Washington doesn't have a clue, while Israel is somewhat better informed as to the true state of things in the region.

Iraq might never have happened, yet the outcome would be the same. Criminally isolated occupied peoples, and criminally irresponsible practitioners of realpolitik busily establishing "facts on the ground" or "conditions for peace" would still be hard at it. Meanwhile, I'm surfing, driving around Sunday shopping, looking around for more shiny trinkets - and the cheapest gas.

What really strikes me, is how given dominion over all of Creation, and the ability to repeatedly raise mighty civilizations, we are driving this off a cliff in an SUV whilst watching the onboard DVD playing Disney. Doesn't surprise me - its been played out by the armies of ignorance and incompetence so many times before. Its just so much more disconcerting to be sentient and able to watch in real time - and all I can do is blog, protest and pray.



I have never read anything that made more sense about Iraq than this.

Historians will ponder long into the night how Americans elected George Bush President.


As is now customary, this makes a lot more sense than much else at the moment.

Among the blizzard of unintended consequences of the Iraq adventure may be that national democracy of some reasonable sort in Iraq and its neighbours (including Israel and the occupied territories) has been postponed by half a century or more and that some of the rusted-on allies of the US will become much less docile.

On a different subject, one of the old South Pacific hands on the Fiji "coup" has said that a recurrent problem is that a hell of a lot of media people who know less than nothing (i.e. transpose their ignorant metropolitan prejudices) about Fiji or the South Pacific nationlets are on the scene and need to file something so run with and embroider the maddest notions -- which then become part of the political process in unpredictable and distinctly unhelpful ways.

This sounds familiar and is not limited to small island nations south of the Equator.


If George Bush wanted to have a legacy, he would go on TV right now and say, "Look, I was completely wrong about Iraq. I am going to let a team of experts try to get us out of this mess. I will have nothing to do with the process. In the meantime, I am going to walk the streets of America promoting energy conservation. Nothing else. That will be my first priority and my last. Thank you for putting up with my antics for these past 6 years. I intend to try to redeem myself."

He would go down in history as a hero.


A couple of days after it was announced that Cheney was in Saudi (and while reading this weblog and Larry Johnson's weblog) it seemed to me that - and I said this to the wife - he had been summoned. When the "unofficial" statement from the "unofficial" Saudi citizen that the Saudis would resist the US' pullout and - if the US did pullout - would aid the Sunnis in Iraq and commence economic war via petroleum output and pricing against Iran, it became obvious that Cheney was indeed summoned.

As a poet once wrote: It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

USAF has announced the pilot of the downed F-16 was Maj. Troy Gilbert of 309th Fighter Squadron out of Luke AFB. No mention of why the aircraft went down.



Here's one of Bush's options according to Hadley:

positioning of substantial U.S. forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders

The UN will be in the ME before this is over, the only question will be how many dead Americans who are currently alive it will take.

What the US needs is a military coup that places Nancy Pelosi in the Presidency until a special election in 2007. It is conceivable that that will not happen, but it's worth bruiting.

Cloned Poster

The Saudi Prince and whose army? Yes they buy the best there is (software may be not the best) and millions of dollars are channeled to casinos and whores all over the Med. If the Saudis were serious they would turn the spigot off, unfortunately..... it's turning off by itself. SA's out of oil, hence the Iraqi adventure.

Just wait until Anbar gets all the toys the Saudi princes don't play with.


Gentleman, at the risk of repeating myself yet again, Occams razor suggests there is one one reason, and one reason only, that the outcomes of our policies in the middle east are chaos and civil war - they were designed that way.

Reading first hand descriptions of the behaviour of our armies in Iraq makes you want to weep. The tactics and strategies employed seem to be designed to maximize Iraqi anger and bloodshed, not to smother an insurgency. Who is advising our troops how to fight Arabs?

Who is advising us that waterboarding and similar torture is a good idea?

Who is advising that fighting "terror with terror", as in Fallujah, is a good idea?

Who is egging on the Bush Administration, saying the reason we have failed is that we haven't been violent enough?

Who wants us to attack Iran?

Ever since this war was mooted, I have been bashing my head against the wall trying to understand the boneheaded thinking of The Bush Administration and the top military (Gen. Abizaid has obviously drunk the Kool aid judging by his Harvard speech).

It started the minute we occupied Saadams palaces and established the Green zone. I've been shaking my head ever since.

Rule #1 is to never suspect a conspiracy when events can be explained by pure stupidity.

The levels of stupidity that continue to be displayed, in the face of overwhelming information on its consequences, suggests that it is in fact a conspiracy to keep the Middle East in a permanent state of broken-ness and bloody violence, for the benefit of who?


Babak probably nails it. The Saudis are frightened that the Iranians are really supporting Arabs to resist America and Israel, instead of just pretending to, like Saudi. Not one of our our Arab allies in the ME could win a fair election. As Americans, the choice of such friends reveals a catastrophic policy failure.

W. Patrick Lang


The kind of talent needed to support an insurgency from an external base can be hired or attained through international agreement. It does not have to be your own talent. pl


I would have to agree that J. Abizaid has drunk the KoolAid. He has participated or stood by quietly while the boneheaded decisions were carried out.

I would have resigned and told Feith, H(C)ambone, Wolfie, and Rummy to stick it where the Sun don't shine. And asked them to give my regards to the Dumbarse in Chief.



Just to give you the satisfaction of answering your question, the "who" would be "Israel and its shills."


Israel is a religious state. So getting vexed about having a particular religion in the discussion when it comes to policy analysis regarding a religious state smacks of...apartheid.

And the comparison with South African apartheid is in no way frivolous. If Israel does not moderate its stance, from a policy perspective, it must be sacrificed, and soon. Put another way: how does Israel continue to serve US interests in the Mid-East. And how many barrels of oil reserves does Israel have underneath it?

Got A Watch

Happened to be flipping channels last night, came across Saturday Night Live - the opening skit was a funny/macabre spoof of the Bush and Maliki press conference in Jordan. I am sure you can probably view it on youtube etc. by now.

It was sort of amusing yet chilling at the same time, probably more truth spoken there than at the actual press event. Even the studio audience seemed to be laughing uneasily at the many car bombing jokes, but Bush supporters probably weren't chuckling. A case where the real events being parodied are so sobering that humor falls flat.


This is a semi-serious proposal. The US withdraws from Iraq with an option to reinvade, if Iraqis don't quieten things down and work out a political settlement among themselves. Whomever is in power then will be hunted down and put on trial like Saddam or better yet, simply taken out.

John Howley

Mideast allies near a state of panic
U.S. leaders' visits to the region reap only warnings and worry.
By Paul Richter, Times Staff Writer
December 3, 2006

Heck of a job, Bushie!


Looking at PLs prognosis I again understand why the religious settlement was the key to the success of the 30 year war and the beginning of the Westphalian order.

But after 911 the Bushies knew better. Quaint and obsolete all these international rules, bleh. The Peace of Westphalia, where is that anyway, was in the 17th century - real ANCIENT history. What did they know what we don't know better today?

Well, things change, times change, human nature doesn't.



Thanks for the evaluation of the current situation. I'm struck by your prior thoughts on 'combat power' and the draft. I hope the new congress has far more courage than has been seen so far as it will take 2 years after Bush to get anything close to the combat power we'll need if this all blows up.

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