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31 May 2007


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TR Stone

I heard today (5/31/07), that Gen. Odierno said September was too soon to evaluate the "surge". As another great military man Gomer Pyle, USMC, once remarked--"SURPRISE, SURPRISE!"


Is she aligned with Cheney's way of thinking? I hope Petraeus, Odeirno, Fallon, Crocker et al. don't even give her the time of day. The path they are on now is much better than where they have been in the past. Why would the commander guy send someone back over there who was part of the problem in the first place? (Sigh)Incompetence at its best.


I've always heard her name bandied about, but was unclear about what she actually did--or was allowed to do. Does she have the chops to tangle with the big guys? Or is she just another Bush politico being tossed to the wolves? more explanation, please?


COL Lang:

Have you heard anything about a major battle being imminent in Diyala?

Evidently part of the Arabic press are reporting a coalition of tribes and soldiers are about to make a major push...


This just in:
US reaches out to Iraq insurgents
HE operational commander of US troops in Iraq overnight said officers are seeking local ceasefire deals with insurgents, after the deadliest month for American forces in two-and-a-half years.

Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, the number two US officer in Iraq, said that about four-fifths of the militants currently fighting American forces were thought to be ready to join Iraq's political process.

"So we want to reach back to them," he said.

"And we're talking about ceasefires and maybe signing some things that say they won't conduct operations against the government of Iraq or against coalition forces."

As Lt-Gen Odierno was speaking by a videolink to the Pentagon in Washington, residents in west Baghdad reported that insurgents from the nationalist 1920 Brigades were fighting their former al-Qaeda allies...


Michael Murry

Sheriff Dick Cheney has possibly hit the bureaucratic panic button. Detailing his Girl Friday factotem to Iraq -- out of fear that all those generals and diplomats actually familiar with Iraq have "gone native" and want out -- appears a bit desperate this late in the demise of his gargoyle regency for Deputy Dubya.

I'd give a lot to see live film coverage of this woman in a helmet and flak-jacket, running zigzag avoidance patterns between decaying sandbag bunkers in the Baghdad Green Zone Castle -- just to get to the bathroom. If that bizarre spectacle doesn't help our bad Iraqi puppets exert their "sovereignty" by caving in to our arrogant "benchmarks" (when we can't even establish any for ourselves) then I don't know what will.

On the other hand, this could just represent a fin-de-regime, ticket-punching, CV-padding junket for loyal flunky about to "fend for herself" out in the cold, cruel world where most people have to do productive work to earn even a modest living. I really can't see the value in this obvious last-pay-off-before-the-'czar'-arrives gambit, though, since the old CPA/Republican-campaign-flak boast claimed that "Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran." Given this less-than-real woman's CPA background, then, why does she want to keep Ambassador Ryan Crocker from becoming a "real man"?

Going from "Mission Accomplished in the Battle for Iraq" four years ago to "Mission Beginning Real Soon Now in Some Baghdad Neighborhoods" sounds and looks too much like a bad remake of the old TV "F-Troop" marching backwards to its comic anthem, "Advance to the Rear."

How can anyone, foreign or domestic, take the American government and the citizens who elected it seriously? Even over here on local Taiwan news, Cindy Sheehan gets more favorable coverage than the lunatics running America into the ground right now. While undergoing minor skin cancer surgery (on my right ear) not long ago, I thanked my skilled Chinese doctor for all that the Taiwanese people had done to assist us Americans during Hurricane Katrina. As well, I apologized for my country's belligerent misbehavior in the Middle East of late. He kindly replied that despite all that, the people of Taiwan would not forget "the other good things America has done in the past."

So, we haven't lost EVERYONE yet, even though we keep giving it one hell of a try after another.


Col. Lang,

This is off topic, so do with it what you will.

I'm starting to get concerned at the level of disinformation on the internet, and who is behind it.

Now maybe I just need to go and buy a tinfoil hat, but certain websites seem to be pushing an agenda that seems to me to be extremely unhelpful to our troops in Iraq, and I think I'm seeing evidence of coordinated action.

The recent talking points involved include:

"We haven't been brutal enough in Iraq"

"This is a war to the death between Islam and the West"

"Foriegn fighters streaming through Syria are the cause of all the trouble"

"The rules of engagement must be loosened"

All of these themes seem to me to be designed to pour gasoline on the fire, not to "win" in Iraq.

When one attempts to answer these points with facts, ones posts immediately get deleted and occasionally one receives a rude email.

For example, there is a gentleman by the name of Herschel Smith, who writes what appears to be a scholarly weblog called the Captains journal. http://www.captainsjournal.com/

It looks pretty, has footnotes and links and all, but it's content is just plain evil, furthermore, the shear volume it's producing makes me think I'm watching a disinformation operation.

For example, in one article (that I can no longer find) this gentleman concluded, on the flimsiest of evidence, that "foriegn jihadists" were flooding across the Iraq border from Syria and advocated bombing the Syrian side of the border with cluster bombs no less.

When I politely pointed out that his linked intelligence source for his conclusion was a third or fourth hand report (via pyjamas media or suchlike) in a quote by an Iraqi small town barber in a translation of an Iraqi newspaper (via MEMRI), and that this contradicted received State Department wisdom, and that therefore starting a war with Syria might be premature, my post was immediately deleted and I received a rude email whose langauge was considerably different from the cultured tones this guy adopts on his web persona.

I'm starting to think that some of these websites are part of an organised disinformation operation aimed at fomenting war with Iran and Syria to keep us in the middle east for generations to come.

The gentleman has also revealed, on smallwarsjournal.com, that he has "discussed" me with another notorious website - Blackfive.net that also deletes posts that don't serve its purposes.

Am I paranoid? Should I just get over it? I think I'm witnessing a genuine disinformation operation, and it's not pretty and rather scary.

Come to think of it, is this site for real?




"Surely, that is what this is. They actually want to negotiate with the non-jihadi insurgent enemy and our Iranian adversaries. Heavens!! Surrender monkeys!!"

No, Colonel, not if the administration bootlick Sean Hannity has his way. Surprisingly enough, Hannity thought this was a brilliant idea and proceeded to use it to get on to the democrats. Funny, I seem to recall he said in the past that everyone over there was al-Qaida and we would never negotiate with terrorists when callers pointed out to him that not everyone fighting our forces was al-Qaida, that some of these groups were actually nationalists. I reckon what makes this different is that this is being done by the Bush administration.

Cold War Zoomie

A Google search delivers sites saying she was a fashion model before becoming a policy wonk.

If true, my gut tells me it is fitting to send fashion models to Iraq even though my meager intellect hasn't sussed out why, yet.


Col. Lang,

Nice to read that you're a 'lefty'. That was an entertaining moment of levity. Sorry I don't have the cite.

As to the post: WTF?
I don't have the privilege of knowing the lady in question, but her resume (posted at Wonkette...) isn't doing much for me. (not a sexist thing, BTW) How's her Arabic?

The situation seems analagous to Pulp Fiction, where it's time to call The Wolf to mop things up and make everything alright again. I'd put my money on someone who didn't make their bones in the CPA for starters.

Is there a strategy being spun out here? Is there and competence or capability being exercised? Other than tactical military response? Is parachuting a suit in from HQ supposed to accomplish something?

I truly hope that there's something else going on, and she's just the cat's paw.

It is good that the Anbar tribes have taken after the wannabe al Qaeda, but I don't think they then become BFF, joined at the hip to the US. Not for very long, anyway. I'd say the tribes and the Baath remnants want to consolidate their base, maneuver for position and get prepared for the next act. That's good for the US in the short term, too.

But if there's no more al Qaeda, then there's far less incentive in the US public's mind for sticking around and gluing the china shop back together.

But SCIRI and Iran have not been brought to heel. The Kurds are tweaking Turkey's nose and continuing their absorption of Kirkuk. Muqtada's just raised his profile, might inherit Basra when the Brit's pull out, and is positioning to be the national unifier.

The Kurds want to secede, and no one else wants to let them. The Baath would like to run the show again, but no one will let them. Sadr's got no time for the US, ever. And Iran's shadow keeps getting bigger.

I'm not seeing the upside. When any of these pieces move, the US will be in the middle. Can we support a center of gravity that links Sadr with the less-Baath Sunnis, Turkomen, half the Kurds, and non religious Shia? Is that a governing majority, could it hold?

Sorry for the questions, but the circumstances astonish me. Thanks again for your effort and for sharing your insight.


i visited a website today that provided me a clearer
visualization of the conflict in iraq


the site is an interactive chart of us and coalition military fatalities that have occurred since the beginning of the war

the fatalities are mapped cross time and space

the animation runs 10 frames a second, one frame for each day

the chart shows the immense empty spaces where little is going on and the
highly populated river vallies where people live and conflict occurs

the mapping takes your perception beyond the province framing that the administration likes to use

Keone Michaels


Frank Durkee

Question? Within tolerable
institutional limits is the new team in Iraq/Washington pursuing policies/tactics that are at odds with 'the Decider's' wishes, if not direct orders. It sounds as though Meghan is going out in the role of an'enforcer'. Or is this just normal bureaucratic duplication?



so meghan is going to be a surrender monkeyette with a ball and chain that the bush disaster squad can pull on a whim. hmmm.......


There is an infamous ancestor who was also one of the principal creators of a massive failure. Over 260 years ago, Bonnie Prince Charlie depended on the advice of an O'Sullivan and was rewarded with a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Culloden.

From electricscotland:
"The charge of forming the Highland army in line of battle on this important occasion was intrusted to O'Sullivan, who acted in the double capacity of adjutant and Quarter-master general. This officer, in the opinion of Lord George Murray, a high authority certainly, was exceedingly unfit for such a task, and committed gross blunders on every occasion of moment. In the present instance, he did not even visit the ground where the army was to be drawn up, and he committed a "fatal error" by omitting to throw down some park walls upon the left of the English army, which were afterwards taken possession of by the Duke of Cumberland, it being found afterwards impossible to break the English lines, from the destructive flank-fire which was opened from these walls upon the right of the Highland army, as it advanced to the attack."

From wikipedia: "Prince Charles had decided to personally command his forces and took the advice of his adjutant general, Secretary O’Sullivan, who chose to stage a defensive action at Drummossie Moor, a stretch of open moorland enclosed between the walled Culloden enclosures to the North and the walls of Culloden Park to the South. Lord George Murray "did not like the ground" and with other senior officers pointed out the unsuitability of the rough moorland terrain which was highly advantageous to the Duke with the marshy and uneven ground making the famed Highland charge somewhat more difficult while remaining open to Cumberland’s powerful artillery. They had argued for a guerrilla campaign, but the Prince refused to change his mind."



The pose of Meghan in your photo reminds me of 18th century portraits of European aristocrats. A Spanish duchess, perhaps, or an English countess painted by Gainsborough-- who may had property in the Americas. Surely she won't go wobbly.


Is this what Meghan is going to thwart or support?

US trying to open dialog with Sadr

"He has a grass-roots movement that he's always going to have; we have to recognize that," Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the second-ranking American commander in Iraq, told McClatchy Newspapers in an interview this week. "We're trying to talk to him. We want to talk to him."

In a video conference from Baghdad on Thursday, Odierno also said the U.S. was reaching out to Sunni Muslims as well as Shiite armed factions such as Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.

"We are talking about cease-fires, and maybe signing some things that say they won't conduct operations against the government of Iraq or against coalition forces," he said Thursday.

And what does Sadr's folks say:

A Sadr aide confirmed that U.S. officials had approached the anti-American cleric's supporters but said that Sadr would never begin a dialogue with what they describe as "occupation forces."

Dustin Langan

I never worked with Meghan O'Sullivan during my time with the CPA, but I saw her from time to time, usually walking around alone and determined-looking. She certainly had a reputation for holding a great deal of sway in Bremer's court. She was also known for reducing the stickiest issue to a tidy list of "actionable" bullet points, which, totally abstracted from reality, gave off the illusion that the issue at hand could be just as tidily solved. Think of a grocery list, where in place of "tomatoes" we write "coordinate with moderate Sunni political actors."

(As an aside, but continuing with the analogy, the tomatoes that KBR provided for us in the CPA dining facilities were non-succulent and mysteriously pale, like a genetically-modified food experiment gone terribly wrong. The oranges were decidedly worse, as fibrous and dry as a ball of yarn.)

Like Mr. Lang, I had also understood that Meghan, who has reportedly been briefing Bush personally on the situation in Iraq, was going to be leaving her position and going into the private sector. Now she is heading back to Baghdad itself. I guess this means there really aren't any new hands willing to help out, so we recycle what we have.

Is she going as an assistant to Ryan Crocker then? Or perhaps she is also expected to assist the new War Czar in some capacity?

SubKommander Dred

Charlottesville, Virginia
1 June, 2007

So, who and what, exactly, is this chick anyway? Another Neocon clown who happens to look good in a skirt?

Your most humble servant,
Subkommander Dred

Clifford Kiracofe

"In a major breach of security, detailed plans for the new US embassy now under construction in Baghdad have appeared online."


The ongoing Neocon anti-Iranian propaganda would make that even harder. See: http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/rumor-of-the-century/



"O'Sullivan had long been both dismissive of Iranian dissidents and a proponent of engaging the Islamic Republic," Michael Rubin wrote February 12, 2005."

This does look as if the Surrender Monkeys are in charge.

Cloned Poster

This from The Nation in late 2006

Several months ago a leading American expert on Afghanistan was meeting with Meghan O'Sullivan, a deputy national security adviser in the Bush White House. The topic at hand was the attitude of Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani leader, toward the revived Taliban insurgents operating out of Pakistani territory. Musharraf's government seemed (as it does now) to be willfully ignoring the Taliban, or perhaps even providing them with safe harbor and assistance. Why would Musharraf do either?

The expert explained that many factors shape the difficult Pakistani-Afghan relationship. He pointed to the decades-long conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan and mentioned the Durand Line, the supposed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The 1,600-mile-long line, imposed on Afghanistan by the British in 1893, divides Pashtun and Baluch regions and separates Afghanistan from territory it has claimed as its own. Afghanistan has never officially recognized the Durand Line, which has been a great source of strife between the two countries.

By referring to the Durand Line, the expert was noting that US efforts in the region are complicated by pre-9/11 history. O'Sullivan, according to this expert (who wishes not to be named), didn't know what the Durand Line was. The expert was stunned. O'Sullivan is the most senior Bush Administration official handling Afghanistan policy. If she wasn't familiar with this basic point, US policy-making on Afghanistan was in trouble.


A little OT, but there is a new biography out on Gertrude Bell, I'm reading it now. Looks like it will be a good read, as the book concentrates on Bell's volumnious correspondence; she was a very smart and witty woman.

I enclose this Review

The story behind the cover picture is hilarious. The colonial secretary, Mr. Churchill, has just been thrown from his camel, to the amusement of all, perhaps blinded by his sun glasses.

Worth reading I think.

Take Care.


Monica Goodling East. Result will be basically the same. Clusterfuck in her wake.

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