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29 September 2007


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Ok, here goes. Yesterday I met up with someone who works (paid)for a candidate running for the House of Reps in the 1st District in Maine. This is the race to replace Tom Allen who running against Collins. You'll have to trust me on this but this is a highly Blue, to coin the phrase of the day, District. And the Dem primary vote almost inevitably draws the bluest of the blue. To be sure, There are some French-Canadian (ethnic description) strongholds in this district. They could be called conservative Dems. But for the most part this is a very liberal district. And the candidate in question, is the most liberal, (I would argue)of the candidates running. Anyway...sorry for the long beginning but some context is necessary I believe. Anyway, this person told me that she had been to over a dozen fund raisers for Candidate X. These events are, typically, held in someone's House. If the weather is nice...its spills over to the back yard. Maybe 50 people per event show up. Candidate gives a short speech. Takes questions. Well, this source told me that very, very, few people (in some cases, NONE) bring up the subject of Iraq. The issues are health care, general economic issues, gay marriage, climate change and abortion. But not Iraq. You could have knocked me over with a feather. You still could. I can't get over this. I have a sinking feeling. Anyway, I respond , 'does anyone talk about saving the Republic?' She looks at me as if I suddenly started speaking Serbo-Croatian. I don't know what larger lessons, if any, can be drawn here. But I would not have predicted it. And, as I noted, I am left with even more of a sinking feeling than I normally have. And, she told me, no mention of Iran whatsoever.


As long as it's an open thread

Who is a Turk?
Abdullah Gul? ARAB
the prez
"Early life

President Gül was born in Kayseri. He was brought up in a conservative family environment by his father Ahmet Hamdi, a mechanic, and his mother Adviye. His family has lived in Güllük Camii in Kayseri for about one hundred years.[2]His great-grandfather was an Arab who immigrated from Siirt to Develi around 1915.[3]. Gül was also called with the name Cumhur by his family.[4]"

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan GEORGIAN
the prime minister
Erdoğan was born in Kasımpaşa, Istanbul. His family was descended from Georgian immigrants who settled from Batum to Rize. (He announced his origins during his visit to Georgia in 2004.[1]) Erdoğan spent his early childhood in Rize before returning to Istanbul at the age of 13. He spent most of his childhood selling simit on the streets of Istanbul before he received some education at a religious İmam Hatip school and at Marmara University's Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences (İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi). Erdoğan played semi-professional football in a local neighbourhood club for 16 years.

And 35% of the population is mountain Turks or KURDS

And the Turks around Alexenderata are Syrian Alawis

I guess the Military and conscription is the glue that keeps the country together. A million man army. The draftees go off singing "every turk is born a soldier."

Never underestimate the national binding glue of an army. Are you listening Lewis Paul Bremer?

May you rot somewhere not nice!

Cold War Zoomie

I hate yardwork.

W. Patrick Lang


The arrangement at my house is that I agree to live in a house with a yard/garden so long as I do not do agricultural work. pl

frank durkee

Jonst, Having lived through the McCarthy era, Watergate-the Plumbers, etc, I am not surprised by your friends reaction. so few really pay attention and so many are bascally unqware of what is at stake that her response becomes the norm.

Babak Makkinejad


The Turkish Alawaites are of 2 minds - they want to be recognized/tolerated/accepted in the Turkish polity. At the same time, they are staunch seculrists since they do not like a Sunni-dminated religious polity which would be intolerant of their beliefs and practices.

Jim Morgan

Jonst (PL I understand if you don't want to post this)
I'm on the other coast in a red county in the upper part of blue California. I talk to several different groups of people who have been or are doing surveillance/elicitation on me, ( in the 100's now). The average person has only limited Internet skills and can not carry on a conversation about our foreign policy involving Iraq or Iran. The mass media has been their only source of information. When I put it together that these people were doing surveillance on me I too was surprised. For reference, my conversations with these people have been down the center of Pat Lang's site. How did I end up with so many people to talk to? In the spring of 2000 I saw the market topping and ready to roll over. With air travel going to decline I thought fewer planes would be sold so I bought $11,000 worth of October puts (bet the price would drop) against Boeing. Oh, that wasn't bad enough, in 2003 I started teaching myself Arabic with a college first year book and audio CD's, that with 20 channels of Arabic free TV, on all the time, and I thought I would be set for the last 10 years of work doing long haul communications work in the happy Middle East---Wrong. The good part is I've added some knowledge to a lot of good people--- Maybe that's how we keep the Republic upright, one person at a time. I'm one of the 99% of those who got shafted by Cheney's “One Percent Doctrine”.


Having just passed by my 38th anniversary in the US Federal Government, the only wisdom gained after decades in the civil service was that corporations rule but laws and regulations moderate their behavior. In the last decade this inheritance from the New Deal was broken. Also, torn asunder is the trust that Congress tells the truth and serves American citizens.

Today’s Washington Post article, For a Democrat, Options in Iraq Could Be Few, ends stating “Ultimately, however, it appears now that no matter who inhabits the White House, the United States may be resolved -- or resigned -- to an enduring presence in Iraq. "America has taken a deep breath, looked into the abyss of pulling out, and decided, 'Let's not do it yet.' "

The Israeli Lobby and Oil Companies are too powerful. The United States will fight a never ending colonial war until it no longer can afford the cost in men and treasure at some certain date in the decades ahead. In old age it keeps coming around again and again. Sy Hersh says it best:

You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You'd think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can't possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.


Just watching Breaker Morant on TNC.

Interesting Things Here.

Doubt 20% of our population has got a clue.


Well venting it is then.
Here's the cover story for the Oct 8 issue of The American Conservative
This doesn't suggest anything for "the way forward" except more of the same.
Can anyone argue with the logic in this article?
I can't.

Edward Merkle

The Shia in Iraq will defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq with Iran's help. Give the job to the people with the most motivation.

When we get our constitution rights back I'd like to propose a new amendment, The US may not get involved in a foreign war again unless the entity threatens our extinction or for a length of more than 6 months.

We don't have the attention span to handle more than 6 months. The risk of fubar is too great.


Dear Col.Lang,
I have a new email addy it's
I hope and trust all is well.

William R. Cumming

Two books by Malcom Gladwell worth reading-1. The Tipping Point and 2. Blink. Interesting to speculate on their analytic framework in international context. I would argue Tipping Point renews the urgency of cogent demographic analysis of various countries. And Blink indicates that the background noise of the blogs may in fact lead to better intuitive decisions and better overall decisions. As always stand to be corrected.


Undercurrents of the news. Conflicts b/n No.1 & 2

1. Petraeus vs. Fallon
Petraeus is Dumbya's boy. He's carrying the water for war w/ Iran. Fallon is trying to tamp the fires down. Fallon is the superior, they are both 4-stars, but Petraeus knows he has Bush-Cheney's ear. He is also the darling of the media and Congress.

2. Al-Qa?da. al-Hakim Zahwiri al-Masri has prevailed over the tall one UBL. The emphasis has shifted to attacking the apostate Muslim regimes first. Target No. 1 is Musharraff and Pakstan. This is predicted and predictable b/c Dumbya took his eye off the ball and squandered our blood and treasure in Irak.

Military brains plot Pakistan's downfall
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

Different Clue

I am surprised at the behavior of the educated, informed, and presumably modestly well-to-do Democrats described by jonst
up above. I can only guess in the dark as to what it means.
It reminded me of something I heard about way back in a college course about animal behavior..something called 'displacement behavior'. When an animal or group of animals is under sudden extreme stress and it or they cannot or dare not straightforwardly address or attack the cause of that stress, it or they will do strangely inappropriate other things. Stomp on grass, kick clumps of moss around. The case was cited of laboratory mice which; when presented with a seemingly deadly threat approaching their cage and, having nowhere within the cage to take shelter; would retreat to the far corner and begin grooming themselves, eachother, etc. Displacement behavior. Perhaps the democrats described above are doing the same thing. They percieve the coming Pearl Harbor attack on Iran to be a deadly threat about which they can do nothing, so they
retreat into the displacement behavior of discussing things which really won't matter in a post Pearl Harbor II world.
Or maybe they think that Maine is so far from the rest of America that the blowback won't blow their way.


Abu Risha was no great man, he was just another in a long line of conman opportunists who, through empty flourish, are able to milk gullible Americans for millions in cash and prizes.

Bribe a tribe is all well and good...until the cash runs out.

The author is correct that picking the strongest strongmen in Iraq and letting them take over would cause more stability than the status quo, but he's being unbelievably naive to think that this is in any way virtuous or democratic or that this is being engaged in by great men. This also requires the US to have the ability to pick winners instead of our usual caravan of clowns(Chalabi, Allawi, Maliki, Abbas, etc.).


Col., Do you know this lady- Frances M. Fragos Townsend?

Arnaud de Borchgrave skewers her in his latest column.

Beware of Greek-Americans in Intelligence.


Last comment from me on this issue. Hopefully, anyway. Let me clarify...the kind of people going to the gathering I spoke of highly skilled, high earning people. That is why they are invited in the first place. They are, usually, among the most technologically sophisticated. They KNOW a lot about Iraq. That's my point. They KNOW about it but did not care to discuss it. It did not rate a high profile on the screens. Nor did the other little diddies Bush has brought us. Gitmo, unconstitutional surveillance, overseas detention, Blackwater, none of it rated very high for them. And they know.


pl: So, go ahead and ventilate over whatever you have been brooding on.

I have been brooding on the fact that what we see in Iraq is President Bush's direct BUT inadvertent response to the horrific attacks of 9/11.

On 9/11, nearly three thousand people died ghastly deaths (e.g., throats slit, vaporization, smoke inhalation, etc) and tens of billions of dollars in damage were in occured.

Bush then exploited 9/11 and deceived Americans, expanded his own power, invaded Iraq, deposed SH, and then caused the forcing of the reins of power into the bloody hands of men who have sought to transform a secular Iraq into a fundamentalist (Shi'a) Islamic republic for well over twenty years while exiled in and funded by Iran and Syria.

(Rem: Al-Dawa, PM Maliki's party, was founded in Iran a few decades ago. al-Hakim's party, SCIRI (SIIC) was also founded in Iran. Both were allies of Iran in the Iraq-Iran War)

In short: 9/11 + Deposition of SH = Bush's Islamic Fundamentalist Republic in Iraq



And now Bush is proposing to have a `fanstastic freedom institute' which will use the Islamic fundamentalist republic of Iraq as its shining example of democracy??

That's what I have been brooding on.

Thanks for carving out the channel.

W. Patrick Lang


I do not know her, and am unlikely to know her. pl

Sidney O. Smith III

Frances Townsend first made her way into public consciousness with the PBS Frontline episode re: John O’Neill “The Man who Knew”. I recall watching her interview and concluded that she was most definitely in a CYA mode. Who knows…but the Frontline episode aired when everyone was trying to jump on the O’Neill bandwagon because he was ahead of the institutional curve. Regardless of her mo, when watching the interview, I sure was left with the impression she and O’Neill had been close. But each must decide for himself or herself


WaPo published an article about her 05, in which Stephen Hadley described Townsend as an “honest broker” in internal policy debates. Translation: she is on Hadley’s side and therefore part of the AEI weltanschauung. So odds are extremely high she was an “honest broker” most recently when Hadley refused to share with the US intel community information he had received from the Israelis.

Ah yes, Stephen Hadley -- our National Security Advisor. What I am getting ready to write may appear as an anachronism -- a very gauche statement that if uttered on the Georgetown martini circuit would cause people to roll their eyes, turn and walk way. The women certainly would distance themselves because the statement would indicate that one is not on the a-list. But you’d think that a National Security Advisor’s first obligation would be to the US people. And more than that, he immediately would have handed over the information with the request, “Does this information in any way, shape, or form affect US national security interests? Does it indicate any increased risks to US military operations in the Middle East or around the world? Does it indicate any increased risks to our troops in Iraq?”

Townsend comes from the world of federal prosecution. Was Hadley’s concealment of information- and while we are at it, the Wurmser option endorsed by Cheney -- indicative of treason, either de facto or de jure? I don’t know but I am sure Townsend would conduct herself as an “honest broker” when determining the facts and applying the law.



jonst, maybe it's just a Mainer thing? The deep blue city I live in(inside an increasingly blue swing state) seems to care about Iraq quite a bit. My neighborhood has dozens of "End the War" and "Support our Troops: Bring them Home" yard signs and bumper stickers. During the Democratic Primary in my district for 06, the most anti-war candidate came out of nowhere to convincingly win the nomination over establishment candidates with solid records on other issues. He went on to win the general election by over 25%.


My Rant

I cringe whenever a military person is in front of congress as our represenatives continue placating the officer with the phrase "I thank you for your service".

What they need to start saying is " I thank you for doing something I never did".

That is Honorable.


Yohan and jonst, I think it is just Mainers being sensible as they are wont to be.


That is stunning Jonst...the monied Dems are not discussing Iraq? Iran? nukes? What plane of existence do they inhabit? At the very least, where is their anger? Soldiers being recycled into war zones, wearied, traumatized, and still fighting.

Why aren't these Dems questioning the danger of a media fog which perpetuates with Luntzspeak targeting, a skewed vision of reality and salivates at the prospect of attack, attack, attack?

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