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06 April 2011


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different clue

Well, I would like to believe that Obama is actually well-enough-intended that he would like to see us completely out of Iraq. He is merely describing for Maliki's benefit how Maliki can passively ask for our total departure by failing to overtly ask us to leave some forces in place there.

Whatever Obama's intentions, Maliki's refusal to ask for our continued presence at any level whatever would be our ticket to leave and our path of escape.

William R. Cumming

And the five large US installations, one being the GREEN ZONE EMBASSY? Perhaps those facilities can be sold at a discount to the Chinese so the US government can stay open?


I think they are believing their own BS about us being exceptional and essential. Is this more evidence of what Scott Horton pointed out here about the incompetence of Bush's torture regime being promoted in the CIA?

Michael Brenner

While the Colonel and his friend laugh, I cry. How can things obvious to a novice in Middle East affairs teaching at provincial universities in the rust belt and Texas find obvious realities that elude the mental grasp of our masters in the Imperial hub? We can no longer afford this pageant of ignorance and conceit. As our tolerance for failure grows, so does the risk that we will continue down our several reckless paths in the Greater Middle East until we produce a genuine disaster. The only consolation is that the one true disaster out there is an attack on Iran.
Consolation because Obama will never have the guts to do it.

FB Ali

Is that why the Baghdad US embassy staff is scheduled to double in size to about 16,000 by next year?



Sir, isn't Iraq simple going to counter with Iranian money and Shia Arab resistance throughout the Persian Gulf? (Irony alert)

After all that has happened, these buffoons think that Maliki's Iraq, or some other Shia pietist's Iraq is going to be a "faithful friend" of the US? - pl

Ay, Dios mío, estan comiendo mierda!


I said when Bush invaded Iraq, "The Iran-Iraq war is not over, and the US just came in on the side of Iran."


nah, they will be strictly guarded by a heavily armed civilian force with heavy vehicles, the 1sth, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th NOUN (Not a Military UNit). That's devilishly clever: While soldier is a noun, nouns are not soldiers. Argue with that. Because they are labelled civilians the Irais won't notice! Ha-ha-ha!

To protect the civilians in a country that is still home to insurgents with Al Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias, the State Department is planning to more than double its private security guards, up to as many as 7,000, according to administration officials who disclosed new details of the plan. Defending five fortified compounds across the country, the security contractors would operate radars to warn of enemy rocket attacks, search for roadside bombs, fly reconnaissance drones and even staff quick reaction forces to aid civilians in distress, the officials said.
To move around Iraq without United States troops, the State Department plans to acquire 60 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, called MRAPs, from the Pentagon; expand its inventory of armored cars to 1,320; and create a mini-air fleet by buying three planes to add to its lone aircraft. Its helicopter fleet, which will be piloted by contractors, will grow to 29 choppers from 17.

The department’s plans to rely on 6,000 to 7,000 security contractors, who are also expected to form “quick reaction forces” to rescue civilians in trouble, is a sensitive issue, given Iraqi fury about shootings of civilians by American private guards in recent years. Administration officials said that security contractors would have no special immunity and would be required to register with the Iraqi government. In addition, one of the State Department’s regional security officers, agents who oversee security at diplomatic outposts, will be required to approve and accompany every civilian convoy, providing additional oversight.

Is this realistic? Will the US be allowed to leave a force, noun or not, to guard their forts (including the Vatican city sized "Fortress of Baghdad") behind, or does 'leave' mean 'leave'? The problem of maintaining security for US embassy and related installations is clearly there.


"Iraqi intelligence has indications that the original al Qaeda in Iraq network is in the process of leaving the country for Libya, but that another organisation now operating under the name of al Qaeda in Iraq is actually a Saudi-supported Baathist paramilitary group run from Jordan by a former high-ranking general under Saddam Hussein. The need to defend against Saudi infiltration of Iraq and be fully committed on one side of the Sunni-Shi'a divide in the region means that Maliki has had to move even closer to Iran."


If this story is true, I presume they're joining the rebels. This is all getting very confusing.


PS: To dispel any conceivable notion that the NOUNs are military, they will reportedly, so say my sources in the State Department, be led by NOG (Not a General) F. D. Steelcrapper (Col. USMC, ret.)

anna missed

In all likelihood, the GREEN ZONE EMBASSY will have the same fate as the the US embassy in Iran post revolution - that of fledgling tourist attraction for the locals.


Of course they don't really believe Maliki will request the troops. This is CYA for domestic consumption. It is a device to counter Republican cater-wauling when Iraq slides further into chaos as we leave, while allowing us to leave (in name only) and appease his war-weary base.

That's the way I see it. Obama knows how vulnerable he is politically, EVERYTHING he does now should be viewed through that lens.

Forget "Total War", Obama practices "Total Politics".

William R. Cumming

Did I count the three airbases retained by US as part of the FIVE-O bases not sure!

I do seem to remember five as the number of installations but not sure if that included all the US airbases retained?

And by the way when does Iraq regain control over its airspace under current plans? Still a no-fly zone for Iraqi planes and helios?

Let's suppose a major fire fight with the NOUNs losing! Will US then intervene to protect these citizens?

What is Iraqi/Iranian sniper capability?


Col: The Iraqis know who financed all those bombings in their long-suffering nation. If the Shia start sending the same gifts to Riyadh that Riyadh has been sending to Baghdad since 2003, I wonder if the Saudi royals would get the message? The Land of the Sixteen Hijackers is the terrorist center of the ME, not Iran.

Green Zone Cafe

Gates was in Baghdad today, apparently posing the question to Maliki.

I don't think the troops are going to stay, but I don't think it's as simple as you say, Colonel.

I would not rule out a continued presence by sleight-of-hand by Maliki and Obama, particularly a contingent around Kirkuk. This would be finessed in the same way the referendum for the Security Forces Agreement was finessed in 2009.

The reasons why the Iraqis might want US forces to stay is both our proven weakness and our strength: our proven weakness is our inability to control Iraq, but our strength is relatively greater than any of Iraq's neighbors and any one of its internal factions.

Why we would want to stay is another question.

 Charles I

I was having trouble believing it all until i got to NOG Steelcrapper. . .no one could make that sh*t up!


As often discussed here, at least some of this can be laid at the feet of "Political Science" thinking, with its destructive pretenses of objectivity and universality.

In re, a welcome condemnation of this type of thinking, from a Princeton PoliSci PhD student:

"How do political science departments manage to pull off this scam? How do they seduce thoughtful graduate students into a world pathetically at odds with the reality they claim to represent?...Even better, why choose regions, why travel to places, why learn the language? Politics, after all, fits into grand narratives that can be woven by cross national regressions sitting in Firestone basement. Why deal with the vagaries of power when generalizable truths are only a click away?"



So we give Iraq, thus Iran, M-1 tanks and F-16s? Who thinks this is a good idea, Ahmed Chalabi?

Then we further fund some corporate wellfare ala "training" program for another how many years? Oh, and give Erik Prince or whatever mercenary commander a enough equipment for a small brigade? Who are they kidding?


Arbogast: I sat in on a small group presentation by former Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, and he commented: Major General Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Special Forces IRGC - Quds Force, said the Iran-Iraq war never ended and that Iran would not stop until Iraq could never, ever pose a threat to Iran again.

We'll see.


Hussein was a major psycho. But for many years he was our psycho.

As Mel Brooks would say, "It's good to be our major psycho." Until it's bad.

George Bush, the younger, was a major moron. Major moron + major psycho = today.

Patrick Lang


No. No. No. He was never "our psycho." We were "momentarily" (a few months)Iraq's co-belligerent against Iran. Saddam was NEVER in any sense under US control. I suppose this will start up the usual discussion about how we armed them. we did not. pl


What I think we have received is a tiny peak at what "The script" is within Washington.

By "script", I mean the constructed pseudo reality that informs, and by definition channels, policy decisions. Another name for it is "conventional wisdom", but it's more than that.

The idea that Iraq might like to retain American troops is from the same script that said that Iraqis would great our invading forces with rose petals.

It is from the same script that said "Well Ghaddafi and Mubarak are virtual dictators, but the alternative to supporting them is to give in to the terrorists." Similar quotations from the script forecast the imminent financial demise of the European Union over the budget deficits of some inconsequential members, totally glossing over Americas financial problems.

This is delusional thinking.


Between the government shut-down, those who would send in the NOUNS and the NOGs, K Street, the broke banks, and the nut cases, this thing, the US, (like 1989) may just collapse.

How can anyone have any confidence in the US government's, so called, "leadership" ever again?

Our country is simply being destroyed by idiots!


WP’s list of FUBARs is frightening and accurate. Even more so is corporate media’s avoidance of any meaningful discussion of the causes. Today’s radio news; the federal government is shutting down due to abortion funding. Iraq fighting stalemated.

Walrus implies it is because American politicians are narcissists. Could be? But, I am into power (getting reelected) and money.

First, thanks to wedge politics, today’s politicians do not give a damn about their constituents other than their votes every two to six years. With 95% of public employees voting democratic, the Republicans do not give a damn for civil servants (see Wisconsin or Indiana). Politicians market issues at get them to 51% of the vote. They also support issues that get them campaign money from their Stakeholders (War Profiteers).

The federal government will shut down because Democrats can’t get to their 51% without the women’s vote and Republicans cannot get their 51% without their religious true believers. Middle Class American Independent Voters have not caught on yet but they are being scammed by a bi-polar political system that is ignoring their basic concerns; from jobs to crashing housing value.

Colonel Lang and the Commenters here were clear about the options in Libya. How did American leadership choose the path of not inserting SF and FACs that could have toppled Gaddafi but instead transferred control to an ineffective NATO never ending bombing campaign? The only conclusion is that American leaders wanted a stalemate, a third front in a perpetual war, and spending billions of dollars restocking cruise missiles and bombing the desert.

President Obama is betting that American Middle Class are suckers for propaganda and will continue to be willing to be screwed by his New Republican-Lite leadership. As for the Republicans, they are trying to move America to the 19th Century as fast as possible.

Green Zone Cafe

I suppose this will start up the usual discussion about how we armed them. we did not.

We did lend Iraq $3 billion for agricultural commodities during the Iran war. Some of that was diverted to buy weapons. A branch manager of a bank in Atlanta was prosecuted. He says he was a scapegoat.

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