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30 January 2007

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Chris Marlowe

I just wish Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would lead a bunch of their followers to fight it out in Iraq and bring the message of Jesus Christ to the Iraqis.

Large volunteer units from Texas and Florida should be especially encouraged.

That way, we would just have a bunch of stupid people in the US, instead of a bunch of stupid crazy people.

Just as an aside, there was a peasant rebellion in China in the mid-19th century led by Hong Xiuquan, who claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. This rebellion left 20M dead. It was called the Taiping Tianguo (Heavenly Kingdom) rebellion. Just shows that Christians can have their crazy mahdis too; it is not something limited to Shi'ite Islam.

Here is an interesting analysis of Bush's three-front blunder:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA31Ak01.html

jerome

The following link has an interesting take on the Najaf fighting of a few days ago.

I've followed Juan Cole with interest for a few years, but have had no clear idea of his limitations. The link describes some.

http://arablinks.blogspot.com/

johnf

jerome

This is the most likely of the of the explanations I've read over the last few days. In war fuck ups often are followed by wipe outs and then cover ups.

There's something about Najaf and funerals and death. There was that extraordinary fight between the Mahdis and the Americans 3 years ago with the huge cemetary there being filled with fighting soldiers while pious pilgrims were still burying their dead and getting blown up for their piety.

Whiffs of the New Model Army.

Chris Marlowe

This article says that the recent Najaf fighting was between an Arab Iraqi Shi'ite group, which wanted to fight against growing Iranian influence in the Shi'ite holy cities in Iraq, led by al-Sistani, who is himself an Iranian.

And the Americans intervened on the side of the Iraqi government, which is closely allied with the Iranian government. This is the Iraqi government we're going to rely on if The Great Decider decides to attack Iran.

I'm really glad we have a coherent policy in the ME.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/faruq-ziada/najaf-battle-not-sunni-s_b_40020.html

Duncan Kinder

- They have been "programmed" by now into reflexive statements that Islam is a "pacifist" religion. This does not fit that paradigm. Therefore, stupefaction results until a talking head intervenes.

If any religion were a "pacifist religion, it would be Buddhism.

And several years ago, a Japanese Buddhist sect set off a poison gas attack in a subway. I also am told they were actively trying to obtain loose Russian nukes.

So this shouldn't be much of a problem considering that there a billion odd Muslims, which would have to include a few nutcases amongst them.

johnf

Juan Cole doesn't buy the story of innocent tribesmen off to bury their dead:

http://www.juancole.com/2007/01/bush-comment-on-najaf-farcical.html

Got A Watch

There are so many differing "explanations" of what went on at the orchards outside Najaf that the truth may never be known. See various conflicting accounts:

"US 'victory' against cult leader was 'massacre'"
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2201103.ece
Some odd aspects there.

Various other media outlets are reporting some part version of the above or one of Juan Cole's speculative accounts.

The only conclusion I can draw is that the Shiite Iraqi Army (Badr Brigade?) forces are not very competent, many reports speak of how they were surrounded and almost overrun by the "cultists" before frantic calls to Americans brought in support. This does not exactly bode well for any future operatins in Iraq where Americans want to fight "side by side" with Iraqis. More like the Iraqis will hold back and let Americans do the hard fighting and the dying while the Iraqis move in afterwards to complete the ethnic cleansing and finish the looting.

I also find it disturbing that the "Iraqi Government" (US Forces?) have sealed the area of the battle and won't allow any surviviors or witnesses to give their account. If they are trying to stop the rumor mill they have clearly failed. If they are seeking to conceal the nature of what happened, then I guess it makes sense.

GWB only validates his total idiocy with his comments, not that anyone was in doubt before this.

VietnamVet

Americans are a strange band of public educated semi-secular Christians fed “Feel Good” propaganda from corporate media who desperately try to ignore our own bloody history and 25% of the population that are god fearing nut case true believers. We are so far into denial we elected one of them twice to be President of the United States; a President who against all good advice is intent on escalating his Holy War. A war that won’t end until the USA withdraws.

Mike G

"We elected one of them twice to be President of the United States....." (Vietnam Vet re Americans).

Erm actually, Americans only once elected Mr Bush President. He was awarded the Presidency in 2000 in spite of the fact that someone else who got a lot more votes than he, namely Al Gore, should have been elected.

Chris Marlowe

Chalmers Johnson has written an excellent piece about how Americans are forced now to choose between empire vs. democracy. He is the author of "The Blowback Trilogy", whose final volume will come out soon.

All thinking people should read this article:

http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=160594

Freeman

If all else fails, let's declare Iraq a Protectorate of Turkey and have that country look after its brother muslims, as in the olden days. Then we can gracefully retire.

Chris Marlowe

Huffington Post has secured via The Washington Note Zbigniew Brzezinski's view of the Iraq war as a calamity on an unprecedented scale for the US and the world. He will be testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Feb. 1.

Here is the link:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-clemons/zbigniew-brzezinski-calls_b_40115.html

BadTux

An interesting comment from the "Healing Iraq" web site:

Hint for the U.S.: There are no "bad guys" and "good guys" in Iraq. Everyone has dirty hands. It makes no sense for you, nor is it going to improve anything in Iraq, to side with one bad guy against another, just because you're so confused that you can't differentiate between friend and foe. Just please remember that. The trick is to reach a settlement where all the "bad guys" are satisified and agree to behave as "good guys" again. Otherwise, just forget about it.

Of course, as far as Dear Leader and His 27%er supporters are concerned, it's easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. The good guys are the ones wearing the white hats, and the bad guys are the ones wearing the black hats. And if Iraqis don't wear hats, why, we just need to ramp up the haberdashery industry and provide them some!

(As an aside, this wrecks havoc with our Afghan strategy, since the Taliban wear white turbans and our drug lord / Northern Alliance thug allies wear black turbans... oh my aching head!).

It must be nice to be simple minded like that and not have to, like, think. Kinda like being a pet poodle or something. But we elected this one to the Presidency. Twice. Sigh.

-BT

MarcLord

Freeman,

"Protectorate of Turkey." Best suggestion I've heard yet. It's wonderful, really. There are plenty of Iraqis who would invade the Kurds for Turkey. It would provide jobs, and external/internal enemies to demonize for a long time to come. Everybody would be happy.

Then maybe we could send Borat in on a camel doing "Lawrence of Arabia," and he could write "The Seven Pillars of Ignorance."

Babak Makkinejad

Freeman:

Turkey is still pursuing her We-are-Europeans fantasy.

I do not think they will be too keen on being sucked back into what they perceive (rightly or wrongly) to be a swamp.

zenpundit

Colonel Lang,

Aren't these " millenarian" ( I assume Cole means "Mahdist") splinter groups are particularly prone to takfiri bloodletting and even wholesale rewriting of Muslim law ? ( the leader is " the Mahdi" after all and can do what he pleases).

KH

Typically, these people are not equipped to deal with idea systems that have a great deal of power …

The idea being that they themselves believe little? In a way, yes, but recent troubles are attributable to ideas, some of them held with passionate intensity. It may be that they’re unequipped to deal with other powerful idea systems, or accept that they themselves see the world from within a parochial conceptual scheme, which may have enough power, e.g., to recommend war. Something like what Sir John Harrington said about treason applies to ideas generally: once they’re widely held, they cease to be seen as ideas, & are treated as transparent perception of reality. The other guy’s got odd ideas, but you & I see things sub species aeternitatis.

W. Patrick Lang

zenpudit

I leave it to the Muslims to answer that. Have you read my Islam article? pl PL

W. Patrick Lang

KH

I was talking about the News people. The neocons believe in things, egregious things. pl

Got A Watch

"Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic" - this is mandatory reading for all concerned citizens of the globe.

I came across this article yesterday, and agree with Chris Marlowe entirely.
This excerpt by Chalmers Johnson (author of "Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire") from his coming book is a stark statement of the increasingly bad choices facing America in the near future. GWB and the neo-cons have in fact given a tutorial on how to ruin a once great nation.

Required reading for all concerned global citizens:
"Nemesis is at America's Door"
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/IB01Aa01.html

Col., it is worthy of its own post and discussion, this will be one of the most important books published this year IMHO. Not that most MSM will acknowledge this.

Babak Makkinejad

zenpundit:
I do not think that each and every splinter group is going to call others un-believers - Babais, Bahais, Druze, Yazidis, Ahmadhis, and others have not been so - they split and largely just wish to be left alone.

The groups that you are perhaps alluding too are Muslim formations that are in opposition to the political and social dispensations prevalent in their polities.

An interpretation of the Quran requires a (Muslim) believer to either fight against un-belief or emigrate (in case he cannot - in his judgment - fight). I think this is the reason for the attraction of calling others un-believers for these opposition groups.

As far as I know, excepting anti-religious radicals, no serious Muslim thinker has advocated wholesale re-writing of the Islamic Law.

The closest thing to what you are referring to was a Fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini in which he stated that the well-being and expediency of the Islamic Government takes precedence over adherence to Islamic Law precepts (a practical application of which has been the creation of the Expediency Council in the Islamic Republic of Iran which mediates & adjudicates between the Council of the Guardians and the Majlis.)


Fred

" the "Soldiers of Heaven" may have had ties to Saddam Hussein loyalists" I remember that numerous members of the infamous 'deck of cards' are still free. And I was thinking that the decider would blame this on the Iranians. Seems like no-one really knows what is going on in Iraq.

Will

i recall reading somewhere that the Shiites that subscribe to the Jurisprudence of the Guardians (Khomeini) school do not practice bloody Sharia. That would include Lebanese Hezbollah followers of Syed Hasan Nasrallah.

But those that follow Iraki Ayatollah Sistani or Lebanese Cleric Fadallah do practice bloody Ashura.

By bloody, I mean self flagellation until blood comes out.

I took a Buddhism course in college, made a B. You can imagine what the Professor was like. Had a stream running through the middle of his house. There's all kinds of Buddhism, Fundamentlist, that interpert the books literally. Great Veh

Will

darn hit the post button by mistake

then there's great vehicle buddhism, believeing in more that the literal text, in saints, quasi angels- say like Tibetan Buddhism.

Then there was the Japaneese Pure Land. All one had to say Namu Amida Butsu three times and Amida Butsu would save you period. This is because the Bodistava had a vow not to enter Paradise until he had saved all sentient beings that had called on his name. We know he entered Paradise so of course we know he can fullfill his vow. Salvation is a done deal.

The prof said the Pure Land sect was one of the strands in the bundle that formed the psyche of Japanese expansion and Imperialism.

Go figure. I always thought Buddhiism was a quieting of the mind and realization that desire brought sorrow and the realization of duality.

Chris Marlowe

Dick Cheney should put on his Darth Vader costume and go to Tehran with his two assistants, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, and try to convince the Iranians that he is the twelfth imam.

That stands a better chance of success than our current Iraq/Iran policy, according to the NIE estimate which came out today.

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