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18 April 2007

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zanzibar

Is there any way for all the Iraqi parties to the conflict to come to some agreement other than a fight to the end?

The current anarchy seems to have only one result - carnage. Clearly, the US military presence is having limited impact on the continuing bloodshed on the ground despite all the fighting words from our occupation cheerleaders - the Decider, McCain and all the apologists in the corporate media such as the editorial boards at the WSJ and WaPo.

John Hammer

Col.- Do you envision a Beirutization of Baghdad?

I believe the new U.S. embassy will be on the east side.

Charles

PBS has been running documentarires of various aspects of the imbroglio this week. Last night was one called "The Gangs of Iraq".

It dealt with the impossible-for-Americans-to-discern loyalties, alliances and cleavages amongst the Iraqi security forces. Interestingly, it showed a helpless U.S. advisor questioning why an Iraqi police mission was conducted by officers wearing balaclavas. They would'nt tell him their mission, which he duly reported up the chain of command. Immediately thereafter came the Ministry of Education mass kidnappings op from last year.

But much more worrisome was a joint Iraqi/U.S. army(ok, they might have been Marines, point is, it wasn't a police op.) to search some houses they had intelligence on. This was filmed sometime in 2006. The Americans were in charge; the Iraqi troops were searched for and relieved of their cellphones prior to departure on a mission whose target was not told to them.

Upon the search, they found a couple of IED's in the trunk of a car up on blocks, a few Kalashnikovs and ammo. they arrested one man. They also displayed a dozen copper discs touted as shaped charge components, which it was claimed required a manufacturing sophistication that ipso facto meant they came from Iran.

Here's the punchline. The camera crew filmed three of the Iraqi troops in a conversation, which wasn't translated until months later. The gist of it was to the effect that "This was was chickenfeed. My Mullah has the much larger cache." It was then that one of the troops pointed out to his Sargeant, "Sir, the camera has a microphone".

This war is lost, the only question is how much more blood and treasure this incompetent round will cost America.

W. Patrick Lang

JH

The east bank seems likely. pl

Peter Principle

"it showed a helpless U.S. advisor questioning why an Iraqi police mission was conducted by officers wearing balaclavas."

I bet he also wondered why they needed to take those power drills and blow torches with them.

pbrownlee

Juan Cole (before the overnight body count hit 170) has "For the first time in polling on the Iraq War, a majority of Americans (51%) say that they expect the United States to 'lose' in Iraq. Worse, 66 percent say that the war was not worth it! The public is divided about what to do about this white elephant it clearly thinks it bought. A slight majority says that a timetable for withdrawal should be set, while 48% oppose such a step. Only 29% say that Bush is doing a good job in Iraq. (One shudders to imagine what a bad job would have looked like!)"

http://juancole.com/

Since the Iraq adventure has always been principally about US domestic politics and politicians (and, to a lesser extent, bizarre toadyism in the junior Coalitioneers) these operations will only be closed according to the tidal movements of US citizens who vote in a relatively small number of (newly) marginal seats and states.

I suspect the counter-surge has a longer timeframe than Petraeus.

Indeed, one flinches at what the 29% of rusted-on Bushoviks would consider a bad job.

arbogast

"Reid talked about a recent conversation he had with a retired general where they talked about the similarities between the current situation and Vietnam," the source relates. "He talked about how the President and Secretary of Defense [during Vietnam] knew that the war was lost but continued to press on at the cost of thousands of additional lives lost."

"The analogy to Vietnam appeared to touch a nerve with the President. He appeared a little sensitive to it," the source continued. "And he clearly didn't like to hear people in the room say that the war couldn't be won militarily."

War? This is a war? I know there are people with guns, but this isn't a war.

For Iraqis it is a ghastly reprise of the end of the first Iraq war, during which time, the Sunni elite murdered Shiites at will. For the United States, it is the loss of a colony they never had.

The French colonial dream died in Vietnam (recall that Algeria was part of France).

So did ours. It's just that if you skipped the Vietnam war, like Bush and Cheney, you're just finding out now.

eaken

Here's the problem with this whole situation. The US felt it had a vested interest in "fighting 'them' on their soil". Now, to keep things from spreading, other countries seem to have a vested interest in ensuring the fight stays within Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's an ugly, ugly situation. Not sure how to get out of it.

eaken

Here's the problem with this whole situation. The US felt it had a vested interest in "fighting 'them' on their soil". Now, to keep things from spreading, other countries seem to have a vested interest in ensuring the fight stays within Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's an ugly, ugly situation. Not sure how to get out of it.

Clifford Kiracofe

Some context from Rami Khouri:
"....The first is the fact that most countries around the world -- especially those the US tries to bully -- have lost both fear and respect for the United States, a rather unusual state of affairs.... Another trend that may be emerging is the possible broad polarization of two camps in the Middle East and the West. Many in the Middle East see the United States, Israel and many European states as a single political grouping...."
http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=1237

dasher

This news story from the AP appeared on page 2 of my local daily (Lancaster, PA) yesterday morning:

"Top U.S. general says Iranian weapons in Afghanistan"

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070417/ts_nm/usa_afghanistan_iran_dc

Although the reporter and Pace are careful to not explicitly say so, Pace (and, I am convinced, the reporter) seems to want us Americans to fear that Iran is now arming the Taliban.

Now, I'm just a rather well informed middle-aged lady in central Pennsylvania, but I know this is patent nonsense.

Just how stupid do they think we are? (Pretty d_mned stupid, I'm guessing!)

zanzibar

Clifford

"Many in the Middle East see the United States, Israel and many European states as a single political grouping...."

I wonder why its taken them so long? And why its only "many in the ME"? It should have been obvious to them for a long time that the US, Israel and most European states are a single political grouping and dominate most international institutions like the UNSC, World Bank, IMF, WTO, etc. And as a result are "above the law". The "law" is only for the little guy. This political grouping lectures China and the world about human rights abuses from one side of their mouth but engage in Abu Ghraib and extraordinary renditions on the other side.

arbogast

The Bush Administration is beginning to be spanked quite a lot.

Colonel Lang, is there any possibility they could install a military dictatorship?

I am sure they have considered it and even drawn up contingency plans.

What excuse could they pull out of a hat to do it?

I know, it sounds completely ridiculous, but they are really hurting these days. They are cornered rats.

VietnamVet

Waiting at the doctors, I read Neo-Con James Woolsey's Motor Trend Article that it is a matter of national defense to wean the USA off Middle East oil with 85% ethanol blend plug-in hybrids. I would personally add electrified railroads to the list.

The USA does not have the manpower to control Iraq oil fields let alone Bagdad. Even if the draft was reinstated; the Christian or Jewish occupation of Islam is doomed failure without genocide. Only the delusional don't see it.

The Greed is Good and Government is Evil leadership in America is incapable of weaning Exxon/Mobil out of the transportations system, pulling out of the Middle East or securing its borders. Peak Oil, Globalization and Neo-Colonialism are the Whirling Dervishes circling Iraq, spinning blood out in all directions.

Cold War Zoomie

On a related note concerning the surge, what do you think of this Colonel?

"Air Force Fills Army Ranks
Associated Press | April 16, 2007
CAMP BULLIS, Texas - A row of rumbling flatbed trucks and Humvees outfitted with gun turrets lurches toward a mock village of cinderblock buildings where instructors posing as insurgents wait to test the trainees' convoy protection skills. The training range is Army, as is the duty itself - one of the most dangerous in Iraq these days. But the young men and women clad in camouflage and helmets training to run and protect convoys are not Army; they're Air Force. They are part of a small but steady stream of Airmen being trained to do Army duty under the Army chain of command, a tangible sign the Pentagon was scouring the military to aid an Iraq force that was stretched long before President Bush ordered 21,500 additional U.S. troops there."

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,132397,00.html?ESRC=airforce.nl

Here are my thoughts as an ex-zoomie:

1. If these guys are Security Police, Combat Control, or basically force protection types, then it makes sense. But the article says "Few of the Airmen, who once mostly moved or fixed equipment on Air Force bases, imagined they would be sent to fight in a ground war, but course trainers say it makes little difference." That scares me as one of those guys who used to move and fix gear on AFBs. We had a couple of hours on the rifle range in basic training, and you didn't even have to hit the target! Maybe they're getting more combat-style training now, but I doubt very much more than we got in my day. Maybe five weeks in the sand gets these folks ready, but it's not like we were warfighting machines. Eggheads, yes. Warriors - mediocre at best.

2. These folks would have joined the Army or Marines if they wanted to be grunts. My gut tells me this could lead to retention problems when, and if, more and more airmen are moved over into this program. Right now it's small, but I can imagine it growing a lot over the next six months.

Air Force culture is very different from the Army. I always called it IBM in Blue. This doesn't sound too great to me.

Clifford Kiracofe

US policy context:
"Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces....The goal was to put the Iraqis in charge. The problem is we didn't know how to do it and we underestimated the insurgency," said Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington....

One State Department official, who also asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject, expressed the same sentiment in blunter terms. "Our strategy now is to basically hold on and wait for the Iraqis to do something," he said.
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/17104704.htm

Will

this is what kind of politician we have to deal with

"MCCAIN SINGS: 'BOMB BOMB BOMB, BOMB BOMB IRAN'
Thu Apr 19 2007 10:13:53 ET

Sen. John McCain brought his "Straight Talk" tour to South Carolina Wednesday morning.

The presidential hopeful spent 90 minutes talking to nearly 500 people who crammed into the Murrells Inlet VFW Hall.

At the campaign rally, McCain was asked if an attack on Iran is in the works, the GEORGETOWN TIMES reports.

McCain began his answer by changing the words to a popular BEACH BOYS song.

“Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran,” he sang to the tune of Barbara Ann.

[VIDEO]

One McCain aide who attended the event said McCain was adding a little levity to the discussion and the crowd reacted with laughter.

McCain went on to discuss the seriousness of the issue, saying he supports the President, and he will not allow Iran to destroy Israel.
"
boobtube

McCain is an Israel-panderer like the rest. He should be reaching out to the Persicos, trying to build bridges. How many times has Ahmed Nejadi explained "erased from the pages of history" like the Soviet Union does not mean destruction thru War. It's like the Khruchev "We will bury you" statement- ideological bullcrap.

A couple of things missed by the major media. First is the Turks have made a major incursion in Kurdistan against the guerrillas raiding into Turkey.

Second, speculation or disinformation about Sunni Iraki oil in the Western Anbar province?
Sunni Oil

Got A Watch

The Surge To Defeat rolls on:
"Training Iraqi troops no longer driving force in U.S. policy"
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/17104704.htm

" WASHINGTON - Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.

Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration's Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said.

No change has been announced, and a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Gary Keck, said training Iraqis remains important. "We are just adding another leg to our mission," Keck said, referring to the greater U.S. role in establishing security that new troops arriving in Iraq will undertake. ......

"The goal was to put the Iraqis in charge. The problem is we didn't know how to do it and we underestimated the insurgency," said Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Military officials now measure success by whether the troops are curbing violence, not by the number of Iraqi troops trained.

Many officials are vague about when the U.S. will know when troops can begin to return home. Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. is trying to buy "time for the Iraqi government to provide the good governance and the economic activity that's required."

One State Department official, who also asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject, expressed the same sentiment in blunter terms. "Our strategy now is to basically hold on and wait for the Iraqis to do something," he said. "

The mind boggles. This may require a whole new field of measurement metrics and new forms of analysis to get right, the old ones just aren't showing the proper level of success.

Leila A.

The Beirutization of Baghdad?

My memory is not that reliable, but it seems to me that Beirut never had such massive numbers of deaths, daily, for so long. Seriously. while the war raged in Beirut, some semblance of life continued - in the suburbs, in other parts of the country. Paroxysms of violence were sporadic, alternating with the megadeath of the various wars (see Israel's invasion 1982). But 200 a day, day after day? I don't think Beirut was that bad.

I wonder where to research the numbers...

michael savoca

Suddenly we learn that Iraq has twice the proven oil reserves we were told before the war. It’s not blood for oil. It’s blood, American blood for corporate profits.

http://www.iranoilgas.com/news/details/?type=news&p=current&newsID=4815&restrict=no

The state senate, of Washington state, debated whether or not vote on recommending to the us house that they go forward in bringing articles of impeachment against the president and vice president.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420AP_WA_XGR_Iraq_Resolution.html

US representative D Kucinich of Ohio is reported to be preparing to file articles of impeachment against the vice president of the united states.

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/sleuth/2007/04/articles_of_impeachment_to_be.html

Paul Wolfowitz, a chief architect and booster behind the war of choice in Iraq gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar awarding huge tax exempt salary increases to his girl friend. He and his fiends at the PNAC have no shame and use our government to achieve personal enrichment in the most depraved of ways.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2007/04/19/wolfowitz/?source=whitelist

It is our duty to write our elected representatives and insist that they move forward on filing articles of impeachment against the President and Vice-president.

They lied us into a war of choice and have weakened our Military in preference to the building of a private army.
They used 911 as a screen to invade another country to capture their oil.
They withdrew from the campaign in the mountains of tora bora against osama bin laden who should have been killed or captured as a first priority.
The President and Vice-president have embraced torture, suspended Habeas Corpus, shredded the 4th amendments proscription against unreasonable search and seizure and in many other ways violated the Constitution of the United States thus their oath of office.
The country is bankrupt and living off a ponzi scheme of IOUs to countries who sell us everything that we used make here, but no more, as domestic industries have been outsourced and exported away.

If we fail to take action, lawfully, now, as a matter of conscience and patriotism what will we tell our children?

Will

Wolfie can't be all that bad.

Apparently his girlfriend is an Ay-rab.

For those interested in the Lebanese Civl War. Somebody has assembled a database of all the key events. in clickable form- a very handy analytic tool. The matrix form of all the events clickable in one page is very powerful. There are also very many other sites that have have chronologies, calendars, with bloody photos. when the Irak war is over, inshallah soon, there will be many such sites.

i like this particular guy's approach though. his phases are insightful. the palestinian, the syrian, the israeli, the integrationist, and the inter-christian.

http://www.111101.net/facts/history/chronology/phase.php?year=1984" rel="nofollow">Matrix

Clifford Kiracofe

<<"I wonder why its taken them so long?">>
Zanzibar, With respect to the collapse of confidence in the US, although I am not a regional specialist, it just seems to the me the Iraq war is the final straw both for the "Street"(masses) and the middle and upper classes. My sense is that the US had built up a lot of good will in the region over the past couple of centuries, despite the arrival of Israel. People in the region had generally thought the best of the US and there was an element of trust. So they hoped changes in US policies were possible. Finally, today, the region is seing the reality of the domestic American political situation: complete dominance of the White House and Congress by the "pro-Israel" Lobby.

It is not only public opinion that has drawn conclusions, I am afraid governments have drawn conclusions and are working on a Plan B with respect to their relationship with the US. Any foreign embassy in Washington, DC assessing the 2006 Elections would have noticed the significant increase in "pro-Israel" influence in Congress that Congressmen Lantos and Ackerman symbolize and implement over on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. http://www.internationalrelations.house.gov/

When it dawns on the region that there is a powerful movement to incorporate Israel into NATO as a "security partner," then more lights will go on. [see Princeton Project Final Report p. 39 athttp://www.wws.princeton.edu/ppns/report/FinalReport.pdf] The integration of the US and Israeli military-industrial complexes during the Bush43 Administration is dramatic although little discussed.

Will

Israel in NATO would be a plus. It would force it to obey UN resolutions, Geneva conventions, and have an international border.

That has always been the problem with Israel. No border- just a green line. Always saying they wanted Peace but their eyes on Pieces of neighbors' Land. Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the Sinia, the ski slopes of Mount Hermon, the Golan, the waters of the Litani, etc.

confusedponderer

Will,
I see many reasons to see it as a minus. Israel is politically instable, prone to military action, as a result of as much the political climate and culture in Israel as the genuine security risks they face. Israeli membership in NATO could and indeed would pull NATO into inherited Israeli feuds. Thanks, but no thanks. NATO would rather handle snakes.

And that's just the beginning -- Israel would have serious trouble complying with the NATO Charter:

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

* on the territory of any of the Parties

So what exactly is the territory that would be to be defended? Is it according to what's defined in the UNSC resolutions Israel refuses to implement?

Israel would indeed be required to clarify and settle its border issues with her neighbours, in accordance with international law that is.

Article 1
The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
Like in negotiations with Syria over the Golan, a thing Israel with explicit US encouragement refuses to enter into. The land taking would have to stop, and land would have to be returned -- which is exactly the reason why what you see as desirable won't happen.
Not even US influence, when they once tried, has thus far succeeded to achieve that, not to mention that today there is a complete absence of political will towards that. The attempt would probably destabilise Israel. The prime minister trying might well end up like Rabin.

I see no reason why Israel all of a sudden should start listening to Europe when they have all they need, the US in their pockets, as a benefactor and as an anti-UN insurance. A NATO membership would impose too many limitations on the Israeli government that so strongly values it's 'freedom of action' and independence.

confusedponderer

Will,
PS: So to say, an Israel that could and wanted to enter NATO might be an asset.

But we're talking about something that looks like a distant future.

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