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22 August 2007


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Cold War Zoomie

Who'd a thunk it???

Latest Report

Clifford Kiracofe

"A lobbying firm with close connections to the Bush administration is aiding the efforts of an opposition leader in Iraq who is seeking Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ouster.
The revelation that lobbying firm Barbour, Griffith and Rogers, whose president is a former US envoy to Iraq, is supporting former interim prime minister Ayad Alllawi, was first reported by IraqSlogger.....
BGR's president, Robert Blackwill, was presidential envoy for Iraq in 2004. Amid speculation that President Bush would support Maliki's replacement, the administration has stressed its continued support of Iraq's prime minister.
Along with Blackwill, BGR counts among its ranks several other Bush allies and former administration officials. ThinkProgress reports, "Philip Zelikow, a former Counselor to Condoleezza Rice, serves as a senior adviser to the firm. Lanny Griffith, chief executive officer, is a Bush Ranger having raised at least $200,000 for Bush in the 2004 presidential election. And Ed Rogers, chairman and founder of the firm, has been a reliable political ally for the Bush White House."



Binh: I don't doubt that the Bush crew will throw Maliki under the bus Diem-style when it suits them.

Can you adduce any evidence at all that proves that al-Maliki is and has actually been on the US' bus?

Do you have any legislative measures in mind that have been passed and clearly show that the al-Maliki is in fact on the US' bus?

In the twenty (plus) years prior to the deposing and hanging of Saddam Hussein, al-Maliki was publically `riding around in Iranian and Syrian buses, but despite that do you think that just because GWB inadvertently caused the reins of power to be thrust into his hands al-Maliki is going to stick daggers in the backs of his former hosts in Iran and Syria?

Judging by the total lack of progress (purely an American POV!!) in re to the re-integrating Baathists, hydro-carbon law, etc. I think it has been pretty obvious that al-Maliki has never been on the bus and that he is more than willing to kill the US with a death of a thousand cuts.

OT: Has the Iraqi Parliament ever stated support for the right for Israel to exist?


Check my CV . . . . W. Patrick Lang

And a truly romantic CV it is!

Were Americans to experience the breakdown of societal controls experienced by Iraqis, they wouldn't be debating, negotiating, or compromising. They'd be seeking justice, familial and personal.

I have no doubt that in such a situation were my family harmed my brothers who now stand like sheep in airport lines would join the first "criminal" gang that offered them revenge and justice -- and I'd be egging them on.

No need to go all romantic on them honor-lovin' furriners -- or all cultcrit either. We're all chimpanzees and our foreign policy would be more insightful if before we took a decision, we asked our inner chimpanzees how they'd react to what we had in mind for them.

But that requires the exercise of imagination -- something in short supply, everywhere.

TR Stone

I think all of these comments assume a rationality of thought that does not exist in many of those now presently in government.

Ideology trumps history! At least for those born after 1960, and heard and believed the “stab-in-back” rational for Vietnam/Korea,(i.e. gwb's latest rant).

I had an opportunity to work with an experienced foreign service employee (old school), who told me during the Afgan/Soviet dust up, that "YOU CAN NOT REASON WITH A CRAZY PERSON".

With those thoughts ringing in my ears and viewing the current situation, I am not sure who is the "crazy person" is in our current predicament"?

Any suggestions!

Martin K

Sir, one could argue the point that one of the main reasons for the current situation is that the Bush admin adopted a quite Middle Eastern cultural way of thinking after 9/11. Instead of treating it as a police job, instigating a rational set of responses to a criminal act (with the invasion of Afghanistan as a practical necessity), the admin went off on its War on Terror tangent and turned it into a ideological spiel. The crusade-rhetoric of the first years was very strong, and this has seemed to me as a european very wrong and unpragmatic. Regarding Iraq, that is to me an anomaly, it doesnt appear that the admin. had any idea of the complexity of the land at all.

The Lounsbury

I think all of these comments assume a rationality of thought that does not exist in many of those now presently in government.

Baring some cases of real insanity, hand waving about insanity is merely excuse making.

The rational calculations may be based on assumptions and value ordering that you may find distasteful or not in your value order, but that is not the same as irrationality.

As for the culture argument, it does seem there is some hair splitting going on.

I believe the colonel is right to observe that culture structures respones differently - at the same time of course his critic Ellen supra is correct in part in observing that under similar stresses of similar magnitude, American (or UK or French) culture might break down; or perhaps I would observe would evidently eventually break down into family and tribe, although how long it might take is debatable.

Regardless, it is easy sitting in a nice safe place (or even having been under dangerous conditions, but with the reality of fairly safe fall-backs) to make certain assumptions about risk, reward and actions to take. Not having fall-back, well that often fundamentally changes calculations.

One can quibble on about how deep run the fundamentals, but that is philosophy. The core observation is assumptions about what is the rational calculation based on American experience are not well founded.

The Lounsbury

Re Martin K's comment, a "Middle Eastern cultural way of thinking'?

I'm sure as a continental Euro, you can rewind a mere few years to European ways of thinking that involved ideology and crusades. Indeed, if I divine your grammar correctly, your native nation engaged in one against certain neighbours.

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