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11 September 2014


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" Per the CPA's own edicts, any rule, regulation, edict, etc that they promulgated could never be undone by any future Iraqi government. So the US which imposed these rules on all future variants of Iraq will have to rescind this rule in addition to any action the Iraqi government would take. The best thing that the US could do on this front is for the President to issue an executive order rescinding this particular CPA order "

Wow, just wow, talk about arrogant and talk about a stunning example of precisely why America hurtles from one self-made disaster to another.

The regulations promulgated by the power which illegally launched a war of aggression on the basis of a pack of lies and then occupied the place do not in fact have any legal standing unless a subsequent legitimate government decides to retain them.

Try asking the Russian government about the legality and permanence of the "edicts, any rule, regulation, edict" of the German government on Russian territory during World War II.

Or the Chinese about the about the legality and permanence of the "edicts, any rule, regulation, edict" of the Japanese government on their territory following on from the Japanese invasion.

You could also try asking the Lebanese government about the legality and permanence of the "edicts, any rule, regulation, edict" of the Israeli government on Lebanese territory during the recent Israeli illegal wars and occupation against Lebanon.

There's a commenter here seemingly from Poland I'm sure he'd be delighted to enlighten you about the about the legality and permanence of the "edicts, any rule, regulation, edict" of the General Government on Polish territory during World War II.

The regulations promulgated by the CPA were imposed at the point of a gun. The forces doing the imposing failed at their task and withdrew. Really it's time and long past time that the members of those forces acknowledged that - and learnt the lesson.

As to de-Baathification in fact I agree with you but you know as well as I do the reasons why the current PTB in Baghdad won't agree to it. You also know as well as I do (and likely given your expertise far better than I do) the reasons why the USA is rightly seen as not being an honest broker anywhere in the Middle East.

As a final point when you make a comparison with the situation in post-WWII Europe and the situation as it now obtains in the country which your country wrecked irretrievably you are not comparing like with like.


Babak Makkinejad

Adam Silverman:

In my opinion, large numbers of Sunni Iraqis are not prepared to accept the Shia-dominated government in Iraq as the Legitimate State authority.

And behind that government is the Platonistic Marjaiya of Najaf; an unacceptable religious authority to all Sunni Muslims everywhere.

I think, may be one can bribe the Sunni tribes in Iraq, may be the Iraqi government can spread its oil-based largess to include large numbers of Sunni Muslims but I seriously doubt it would alter or purchase loyalty.

You saw how in the siege of Amerli, inhabited by a Turkic-speaking people, Turkey did nothing; her Pan-Turkic pretensions revealed to be devoid of action-able content.

So, may be the Shia Government can rent the Sunni Iraqis; loyalty to the state of Iraq seems to me to be unreachable.

Am I wrong?


Dubhaltach --

re "when you make a comparison with the situation in post-WWII Europe and the situation as it now obtains in the country which your country wrecked irretrievably you are not comparing like with like."

I don't think the people of the USA have fully confronted the "truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth" about US involvement in WWII.

MacNamara said that "had the US not been victorious, it would have been held culpable for crimes against humanity." The firebombing of Germany -- 75% of its cities were destroyed then bombed again; 600,000 German and about 100,000 Japanese civilians killed by firebombing; 7 million German civilians deliberately "de-housed." C. Evans Hughes called the Allied bombing campaigns history's first act of state-sponsored terror.

Particularly at a time when Americans are called to acquiesce to an air war against Syria (let's call it what it is) with a sigh of resigned relief that "there will be no boots on the ground", they need to be reminded, forcefully, that WWII was an air war that destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousand of civilians and was contrary to then-accepted rules of engagement.
See Jörg Friedrich, "The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940-1945."

US behavior post-war was dramatically less than impressive, worthy of your "Wow, what arrogance," Dubhaltach.
see Freda Utley, "The High Cost of Vengeance" (Regnery, 1949) https://archive.org/details/highcostofvengea009824mbp

USA participated with Britain in the starvation blockade of Germany in World War I. Most Americans do not acknowledge this, nor of the fact that 800,000 German civilians lost their lives as a result -- see C. Paul Vincent, "The Politics of Hunger." https://libcom.org/files/blockade%20Germany_0.pdf As a result, most Americans are not as keenly aware, as inter-war Germans were, of the consequences of watching mothers, children, grandparents starve to death, or of a child surviving malnourished, and the determination to never again permit that to occur, which was, like it or not, a driving factor of the NSDAP.

Because USAians fail to acknowledge such context, we think starving a million Iraqis is "worth the price," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4 and we allow ourselves to acquiesce in repeating the attempt at starving people into submission -- i.e. Palestinians, Iranians and Russians, by sanctioning their economies.

While a percentage of Americans may be aware that the US & Britain deliberately firebombed Dresden (then strafed the survivors), I wager very, very few Americans, and almost no American under 35, has the vaguest notion of the extent to which the US participated in the total devastation of Germany (and Japan), by firebombing -- a strategy (--to deliberately demoralize working-class German civilians) and tactic that was planned and rehearsed to the extent of building precisely detailed mock-ups of German & Japanese housing, and practicing the most effective ways to create firestorms to destroy them & incinerate or asphyxiate their inhabitants. So detailed was "German village" that

"In the bedroom, the single beds were placed together in pairs, with a crib adjacent, reflective of a young family with an infant." http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/ut/ut0500/ut0568/data/ut0568data.pdf

We, the people of the USA, the "greatest generation," planned & rehearsed ways to kill babies in their cribs.

"Not comparing like with like?"

Laura Wilson

No words…unbelievable. Special place in hell…populated by neo-cons.



"may be the Shia Government can rent the Sunni Iraqis" No. the Sunnis know the enemies of their blood. pl



" Per the CPA's own edicts, any rule, regulation, edict, etc that they promulgated could never be undone by any future Iraqi government"

One can only ask what the advisors of President Obama have been telling him about this requirement of the (post CPA) Iraqi government and why he's done nothing to try and and have the Iraqi's change it.


Re: "USA participated with Britain in the starvation blockade of Germany in World War I. Most Americans do not acknowledge this, nor of the fact that 800,000 German civilians lost their lives as a result -- see C. Paul Vincent"

To my late grandmother the word 'Steckrübenwinter' had a very distinct meaning.




You left out the Kaiser's government's treatment of the Belgians. The German people may have been starving in WWI, but their army didn’t. You also failed to mention Emperor Hirohito's government’s treatment of the Chinese, Filipinos, the Bataan Death March and allot of other things.


From the website linked:
"Section 2
The Applicable Law
Unless suspended or replaced by the CPA or superseded by legislation issued by democratic institutions of Iraq, laws in force in Iraq as of April 16, 2003 shall continue to apply in Iraq insofar as the laws do not prevent the CPA from exercising its rights and fulfilling its obligations, or conflict with the present or any other Regulation or Order issued by the CPA. "


Yep, war is hell, it isn't tiddlywinks. No need to get on your high horse.

Deal with it.


Why is it that American-trained forces take years and years to train to become effective, and billions of dollars (e.g., Afghanistan, Iraq) whereas a small adversary like ISIS (or the Taliban) seem to be able to make an effective fighting force in one-tenth of the time, and one-thousandth of the cost?

Effectiveness has to measured in the ability to win battles, all other skills are subordinate to that.

I think the world should give America a contract to train every country's military; in that way, no one will ever be prepared to fight a war, and we have have perpetual peace :)

My guess is that there is some kind of cultural disconnect between the trainers and the trainees; or American trainers are giving training appropriate to fitting in the American army, and thus create misfits into the actual, typically impoverished (militarily speaking) environment that these trained armies have to operate in. And again guessing, if Americans are training the soldiers rather than training the leaders, and letting the leaders train their men, then a certain esprit de corps is missing in these trained legions.

Babak Makkinejad

I heard a similar thing about Germans training Afghan police; they were teaching them how to be policemen in Hamburg or Munich and not in Mazar-i Sharif.

William R. Cumminh

Great comment with which I fully agree!

Babak Makkinejad

The distinction between civilian and military populations upon which such ideas as "Crime Against Humanity" rests in a distinction without merit - in my opinion.

US Civil War demonstrated that and so had all the various siege forms of warfare from the Warring States period in East Asia to the wars of European Princes in Western Eurasia - and everywhere in between.

Even today, the major nuclear-armed states have taken one-another's civilian populations hostage - which so far has been instrumental in preventing another world war.

Dresden was a fluke; the English had been trying to create a "Fire Storm" over the German cities for a long time; experimenting with various bombing patterns and types of ordnance. They got lucky at Dresden.

US was not involved, as far as I know, in the Fire-Bombing of Dresden.

War is Hell, I think, and it cannot be made safe and digestible for people with Middle Class sensibilities.


Yeah war is hell and all that.

Croesus read the tea leaves wrong & involved Lydia in an unnecessary war, aka hell.

My point is to ensure that we read the prophesies correctly, aka get the history right, so that we don't embroil ourselves in unnecessary wars, which are hell.

The wars of the last century-and-a-half have been based on lies, even the "good war." I argue for demanding the truth so that the hell of war can be avoided.


Babak M -- No Dresden was not a fluke, nor was the project of the destruction-by-firestorm of Germany (and several Japanese cities).

Check out the links.

The destruction-by-fire of 135 German & several Japanese cities, with the further and specific goal of killing as many working-class German & Japanese civilians as possible, in order to degrade morale -- i.e. incite terror -- was planned, practiced, and perfected, beginning in 1939 when FDR approved acquisition of Dugway, in Utah, to research chemical warfare.



We have been arguing for "the truth" here for 9 years. do you think this is a new thought? As for the Bomber Harris, Lemay, Douhet theoreticians we have been over that ground here as well many times. Stop the preachy kid stuff. pl



You will have a good time with Diogenes; or anyone in academia.

Babak Makkinejad

Among the planners of the RAF, was one Freeman J. Dyson, who, in his memoirs, stated that RAF got luck that night.

As for the your second paragraph; I invite you to read the accounts of the Siege of Vicksburg by Grant, written by one Samuel Longhorn Clemens, or the multiple assaults of the same Grant on Richmond - or the equally well-documented march of Sherman to the Sea.

There is not distinction between civilian and military targets - such a distinction is useful for weak smarmy minds - like little old ladies who may indulge in war-chatter (really war porn) on a Sunday afternoon - in my opinion.



"RAF got luck that night [over Dresden]."

One man's luck is another 40,000 people's death.

- - -

In "The Fire," Friedrich makes the point that in the early days of bombing, pilots had a far greater chance of dying on their mission than the targets of that mission.
After bombing was replaced with tactics of firebombing, the kill ratio tipped in favor of the pilots; they were able to create firestorms that incinerated or asphyxiated civilians (the goal of the mission) with far fewer pilot deaths. But the risk of pilot death was always present, and high, and served to detach the warriors from any awareness at all that they were killing civilians.

Obama's air campaign, with attendant pledge of "no boots on the ground" receives hearty endorsement from a broad swath of the American public: they are assured that warriors take on almost no risk, nor will they be troubled with actually confronting those they kill -- all of the benefits of moral detachment, as in firebombing, with none of the risks. Churchill motivated the English people with the cry that they were "preserving Christian civilization." Was he looking backward, to the US Civil War for his model of "Christian" or "civilization?" What has Sherman to do with Jesus?

Far from acquiescing to the inevitability of civilian casualties, the American people have been conditioned to endorse "killing them over there so we won't have to kill them over here." Neither in WWI, nor WWII, nor Korea, nor VietNam, nor PGI, nor the invasion of Iraq 2003, nor Afghanistan -- not in over 150 years, in fact, have Americans been forced to contemplate the inevitability of civilian deaths and vast destruction on American soil.

As for those old ladies -- I and fellow "weak smarmy minds" do indeed gather on Sunday afternoons, to pray a Rosary for peace, right before Vespers. Rosaries are not drones, but however "weak and smarmy" prayer is, next one's for you.


sorry pl.

delete my last responses.

killing is so much more effective.

carry on.



You wrote it. Live with it. All this talk of savagery in the Americans CW is just BS. Civilian populations have been bombarded and victimized throughout human history. Georgia recovered without great difficulty from Sherman's "depredations" as did Vicksburg Mississippi after Grant rook the city in reverse. If you want to look at real savagery look at the English record of chevauchhee in France in the Hundred Years War. They killed everything in sight when they raided a town. there is a reason why the French still detest you English. Yes, you are a sanctimonious pietist jerk. I have known many. pl


Babak, not Croesus, raised the issue of savagery in the US CW; I know little about US Civil War, tho after reading Doctorow's "The March" I visited Milledgeville. It's a sleepy little town trading on tourism & prison and little else. Wars, wherever waged, leave long-lasting scars. I can't figure out why people don't learn from in order to avoid, rather than point to in order to excuse.

I share your revulsion at the barbarity of the English; according to some writers, Israeli zionists, esp. Moshe Dayan, learned some of the more barbaric practices that Israel uses still today from the British, home demolition being one example. I trace the validation of plunder and killing that is shared by British --> Americans (CW) --> Zionists & Dulles brothers in post-WW era to the so-called Abrahamic tradition. The Greeks were certainly violent enough but at least they recognized that their mythical gods were mythical.

"Sanctimonious pietist jerk" That's a new one. When I was in high school Brother Peter told me I was a cynic. I didn't know what that meant back then.
In any event, someone's gotta do it.



When in London I usually hear Mass at the Carmelite (?) church in Church Street, Kensington. I have tried other RC churches around London but like that one the best. The South in the American WBS left the Union and was then invaded. If you want a crash course on that awful story try "The Civil War, a Narrative" by Shelby Foote. pl


Thank you for the suggestions, Col. Lang.

Your novels are on my list for background and a sense of how the Unpleasantness was experienced, but right now I'm deeply immersed in the novels of Daniel Silva, which, in my opinion, are boilerplate writing and base propaganda, but which provide insight into the thinking patterns of the real-life leaders and communities that his heroes portray. It's particularly instructive to note that the weltanschauung of Silva's fictional characters is almost exactly the same as that expressed by representatives of the "liberal zionist" community in, for example, this interview --- http://radioopensource.org/whats-left-of-liberal-zionism/

Ryan Devereaux expressed concerns about a too-facile acceptance of bombing campaigns more succinctly than I have done--- https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/12/isis-collateral-damage/

"Aside from being a creepy comparison of sex and warfare, [Michael] Hayden’s comment reflects a dangerous tendency in conversations about U.S. counterterrorism operations to embrace the idea that air strikes alone are not profoundly serious for countries on the receiving end. While the Obama administration’s preferred method for dealing with enemies abroad may at times seem detached and convenient, shooting missiles into countries is in fact a big deal even if there aren’t thousands of American troops on the ground."

Michael Hayden is of special interest to me -- he graduated from a Catholic university but represents, to my judgmental eyes, a complete failure of the best of Catholic thinking.

In an April 2001 New Yorker profile of Dick Cheney, Nicholas Lemann wrote that Cheney was deeply impressed by his Yale prof, H Bradford Westerfield. In one of his books, Westerfield discussed zionism and observed that one of its advantages is that no other group is equally organized and motivated to counterbalance it. I thought the Catholic tradition should be/could be an effective corrective to some of zionism's excesses, but that has not happened. Hayden personifies that failure (but Andrew Bacevich, among others, gives hope).

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