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Thread: Iraq CF Thread - Page 41







Post#1001 at 04-03-2008 11:11 PM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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A View from Egypt

Al-Ahram of Egypt is doing a series of articles on the Iraq invasion 5 years later. One in particular, Who's winning in Iraq?, gives a perspective a bit different from what is generally presented here. Generally, the author sees a stalemate, with the US having the military power, but Iraq having control of many influential political parties. For discussion purposes...

Snip...

The invasion of Iraq has undermined the region's moderates, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, while boosting the fortunes of Tehran. Now the Americans cannot get out of Iraq without reaching some understanding with Iran. It is almost a classical standoff. The Americans have troops all over Iraq, but it is the Iranians who are running the show. Neither has managed to edge the other out of the picture. Tehran doesn't have the military wherewithal to expel the Americans, and Washington cannot remove Iran's allies from power. The latter not only control the country's politics, but also run their own militia inside the interior and foreign ministries. Shia organizations such as the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Al-Daawa Party, Al-Fadila Party and the Sadr current have one thing in common -- they are all loyal to Tehran.

Snip...
Al-Ahram's spin on things is vaguely compatible with mine, that the puppet government is not going to gain political control. Shiite forces who want the US out just won't let it happen. The author attributes a large role to Iran, however, which is quite believable.







Post#1002 at 04-04-2008 04:31 PM by Pink Splice [at St. Louis MO (They Built An Entire Country Around Us) joined Apr 2005 #posts 5,439]
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...pr/04/usa.iraq


In backing the Basra assault, the US has only helped Sadr

The tacit promotion of Shia civil war has left the militias stronger and fuelled scepticism about the much-hyped surge

* Jonathan Steele
*
o Jonathan Steele
o The Guardian,
o Friday April 4 2008
o Article history

This article appeared in the Guardian on Friday April 04 2008 on p33 of the Comment & debate section. It was last updated at 00:04 on April 04 2008.

The battle for Basra, which came to a halt on Sunday, was a disaster for everyone except its intended losers. Tens of thousands of families were trapped in their homes for a week, their electricity, mobile phones and water cut off. The number of deaths is unknown, but is probably several hundred.

Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki - who ordered the assault and put his prestige on the line by supervising it in person - has emerged with his authority severely weakened. His army and police took a battering and failed to capture any ground, with several commanders and units going over to the Sadrist militias they were meant to be defeating. And the Bush administration's effort to portray Iraq as a place that is gradually calming down thanks to the "surge" of an extra 30,000 US troops looks far less convincing to an increasingly sceptical US public.

Finally, there is the blow to Britain's remaining forces stuck at Basra airport. Some 1,600 had been hoping to leave Iraq this spring. Des Browne's Commons statement this week shows that a few of them played a bigger role in the Basra fighting than was at first realised. As well as mounting surveillance and artillery strikes, British troops were deployed to rescue Iraqi units from militia counterattacks. Now the government feels it has to show solidarity with Maliki and Bush by delaying another troop reduction, even though only a limited number were needed last week. British forces are held hostage to save the face of politicians once again.

Meanwhile, Moqtada al-Sadr, the target of the assault, comes out of the crisis strengthened. His militiamen gave no ground and, by declaring a ceasefire that has successfully held since Sunday, Sadr has demonstrated his authority and the discipline of his men. Their tactics are often brutal and some of his commanders little more than thugs or warlords, but they obey their political boss.

Big questions remain over the backroom negotiations that ended the fighting. In his ceasefire announcement Sadr called for an end to the Maliki government's campaign of arresting local Sadr representatives in Baghdad and other cities. This has been going on for months without a Sadr response. Sadr also asked for the release of those being held, an estimated two thousand. What is not clear is whether the government conceded these points during pre-ceasefire talks. If so, then Sadr's appeal was a generous cover to allow the government not to look as though it had already capitulated. Much will depend on whether Maliki fulfils the promises he made. Otherwise fighting may resume, this time with Sadr taking the initiative.

The US role is the other main unknown. General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, and the Bush administration's civilian officials supported the arrests of Sadr's people. They have long worked with Maliki and Sadr's main political rivals, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (formerly the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq), to weaken the movement. Although the fighting in Basra was led by the Iraqi national army, many of its units are made up of troops of Isci's fighting wing, the Badr organisation.

President Bush described last week's fighting as a "positive moment in the development of a sovereign nation that is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law". In reality, it amounted to US support for the promotion of a Shia civil war. There are depressing similarities with US policy in Palestine, where the US is arming and financing Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement against Hamas instead of working for Palestinian unity.

US officials say that Iran is behind the Sadr movement, a charge that could equally be made about Isci, whose leaders spent decades exiled in Tehran during the Saddam Hussein years. In fact, Sadr's real sin in Washington's eyes is that, of all the Shia movements, his is the one that has most consistently opposed the US occupation and called for a timetable for US troops to leave Iraq.

How far was the US responsible for last week's assault? When Iraqi government forces became bogged down after the initial attacks, US officials were quick to brief American journalists that they had not been fully consulted in advance. Certainly the government's poor performance and the flare-up in fighting have made things harder for Petraeus and the US ambassador, Ryan Crocker, when they brief Congress next week on the latest results of the surge. But it is hard to believe that the Iraqi army could have undertaken such a major offensive without American cooperation, since they needed American, and British, surveillance and air support.

The most likely explanation is that the Americans approved the assault, confidently expecting it would succeed within a few days. The hardline US vice-president, Dick Cheney, was in Baghdad two weeks earlier and may well have urged Maliki to go ahead. They hoped for a triumph to boast about in Congress. Now they must explain a disaster.

Even before the Basra assault, scepticism about the surge was mounting in the US. A majority of the American public wants a timetable for a US withdrawal, and the two Democratic contenders are still firm on the point, arguing that the surge has not resolved Iraq's underlying problems. Senators Obama and Clinton are vague on some key issues, not least their intention to keep "residual forces" in or around Iraq even if most combat troops leave. But they have not been taken in by the surge.

Deploying an extra 30,000 troops was not the main factor in lessening sectarian attacks - the measure used to define the surge's success. More significant was the uprising by Iraqi Sunnis against al-Qaida, which has put foreign jihadis on the defensive and made it harder for them to attack Shias. The ceasefire announced by Sadr last August had a major effect in reducing revenge attacks by his followers on Sunni civilians.

That is why last week's assault on Basra was particularly foolish. Instead of using Sadr's original ceasefire constructively to engage him in political dialogue, American officials joined Maliki in trying to break Sadr's movement. The lesson of the past few days must be that this policy is doomed. Sadr is a major player who cannot be marginalised or defeated. He has widespread popular support, not just because of his socially conservative Islamist message, but because of his nationalist credentials. These have been strengthened by last week's failed assault. It should not be repeated.

j.steele@guardian.co.uk







Post#1003 at 04-05-2008 03:36 AM by '58 Flat [at Hardhat From Central Jersey joined Jul 2001 #posts 3,300]
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This coming Wednesday, the Democrats can seal the deal so far as November is concerned, no matter if it's Obama or Hillary at the top of the ticket.

How?

By sponsoring a huge rally, celebrating the fifth anniversary of America's victory in Iraq!

Just think: Nancy Pelosi could introduce a resolution on the House floor proclaiming April 9th as "V-I (Victory in Iraq) Day" - followed by an explanation of how that was the "First Iraq War," and it toppled a major destabilizing force in a region vital to U.S. interests (Saddam Hussein was a terrorist enabler who was reimbursing the families of homicide bombers in the "occupied territories" after the Israelis bulldozed their homes in retaliation). Everything that has gone on in Iraq after that can then be characterized as the "Second Iraq War," which is actually a civil war, just like they claimed Vietnam was.

At the commemoration ceremonies, they could even display huge American flags, accompanied by the caption: "The Flag of a Republic Forever - of an Empire Never!" They could go on to point out who coined that slogan - William Jennings Bryan - and how he would be utterly horrified at what we are now doing in Iraq, which truth be told is quite comparable to our actions in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War (Mark Twain also opposed our continuing presence in the Philippines). And the Democrats could further bring up how, in 1946 when we finally did the right thing and gave the Philippines their independence, many prominent Republicans predicted that the Philippines would surely go Communist - something that never happened (just as they are now predicting that Iraq will surely go Islamist if we leave).

If the Democrats can transform this debate into something resembling the one in Germany circa 1848, casting themselves as "micro-nationalists" - into which their anti-NAFTA and anti-outsourcing positions (to which could be added a serious commitment to kicking the foreign-oil addiction) can be made to fit perfectly - in opposition to the Republican-neoconservative "mega-nationalists," they will go on to an easy win in the fall, particularly with how things are unfolding on the economic front.
Last edited by '58 Flat; 04-05-2008 at 07:22 AM.
But maybe if the putative Robin Hoods stopped trying to take from law-abiding citizens and give to criminals, take from men and give to women, take from believers and give to anti-believers, take from citizens and give to "undocumented" immigrants, and take from heterosexuals and give to homosexuals, they might have a lot more success in taking from the rich and giving to everyone else.

Don't blame me - I'm a Baby Buster!







Post#1004 at 04-05-2008 11:37 AM by Cynic Hero '86 [at Upstate New York joined Jul 2006 #posts 1,285]
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Putin's plan is American Genocide!

Russia has always planned the destruction of america. Remember Bin laden and al-qaeda are just front men for the neo-communist onslaught. The enemy is evil, we have done nothing wrong to them, and the islamists and commies know it. Their hatred is against everything that is good about america, not about what is bad. When they saw americans taking care of the poor in america and the world by charity, they look and said "look at how weak the americans are we can use their kindness, and when their backs are turn stab them in the back and kill them", they said, the commies also said "we prefer killing civilians to soldiers because americans are inferior, we not disrespect ourselves by giving subhumans the honor equal of killing soldiers".

When the communists saw america finally face it's own hypocrisy and give black people their rights in the 1960's they did not see america's strength but with their evil reasoning saw america being weak and ripe for extermination. They did not seek to kill the germans precisely because they killed russian children. Stalin spared the germans because he respected their evil deeds under the nazis and had wanted to use them against america, the NKVD saw nazi crimes against even their own people and respected the SS and nazis as fellow travelers. The communist russian does not respect america precisely because we're civilized, they are setting up the game so that the only way america can we is if we discard morality and pursue deliberate collective killing of enemy civilians, they are gambling that americans would see that as evil and then be annihilated by communists who have no compunction against commiting dishonor. I say lets prove these evil savages wrong! kill these barbarians, the soviets and islamists must die for their crimes, and even the children must die because the communists and islamists will simply indoctrinate them to kill americans especially when the american shows their kindness and good hearts. The bible did not say thou sout not kill, it said thou sout not commit murder, They want to kill us, we would be acting in self-defense for the right to live. The commies and islamists must die so that we can live.







Post#1005 at 04-05-2008 02:32 PM by pbrower2a [at "Michigrim" joined May 2005 #posts 15,014]
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Dubya won one war and lost the peace. That happens with someone who doesn't play chess -- that is, doesn't think of the consequences beyond a move that looks attractive on the surface.

Dubya overthrew Saddam, someone that nobody liked, only to create a political vacuum. Sure, he had some faulty analogies -- that Iraq after being liberated from Saddam would behave like Germany and Japan in 1945, becoming a model democracy without factional strife. Wrong! Maybe because someone fed him stuff about being a Man of Destiny like Lincoln, FDR, or Churchill, he was a Man of Destiny. Sure, he was -- destiny of disgrace.

A wise leader would have left Saddam Hussein with little wiggle room so that if he tried to buy some yellowcake or chemical precursors from the "Russian Mafia" (probably CIA agents with fake Russian accents)... the excuses for his survival would be gone. That's how Bill Clinton did things. That's how the elder Bush did things. At time Gorbachev and Yeltsin essentially told Saddam Hussein "Comply or die".

I don't know how long Saddam Hussein would have complied. We'd have had a larger Coalition of the Willing.







Post#1006 at 04-05-2008 03:28 PM by herbal tee [at joined Dec 2005 #posts 7,116]
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Thumbs down Dumb is good enough for our media

Quote Originally Posted by pbrower2a View Post
Dubya won one war and lost the peace. That happens with someone who doesn't play chess -- that is, doesn't think of the consequences beyond a move that looks attractive on the surface.

Dubya overthrew Saddam, someone that nobody liked, only to create a political vacuum. Sure, he had some faulty analogies -- that Iraq after being liberated from Saddam would behave like Germany and Japan in 1945, becoming a model democracy without factional strife.
How we're mishandiling the whole issue of Iraqi factions five years after military operations began is something that bothers me. As usual, the media is completely complicit as to how the whole "the surge is working" hype is promoted without critical analysis.
To begin with, the surge is not about military power. It is not surprising that various groups of candestinely supplied militas chose not to directly confront the military that has over half the world armanent funding. Why does the media act surprised by the fact that the militias chose to engage in the kind of guerilla tatics that work best in their situation?
The surge was supposed to be about providing enough stability to allow for a political solution to be negotiated amongst Iraq's sectarian factions. These negotiations have proven to be a dismal failure. Also, the very fact that the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican party this year apparently cannot distiguish between the same factions that we are risking our troops over and spending billions of borrowed money on while blindly supporting an open ended committment to a military operation that is effectively being funded by foreign debt is troubleing.

It's time for the American media to put down the cheerleader's pom poms and dig a little before before pronouncing ad infiniteium that "the surge is working."
Last edited by herbal tee; 04-05-2008 at 03:47 PM.







Post#1007 at 04-06-2008 03:42 AM by '58 Flat [at Hardhat From Central Jersey joined Jul 2001 #posts 3,300]
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Expanding on the Spanish-American War narrative of my previous post:

The parallels between that war and the Iraq situation are downright eerie!

1. Just as historians now cast serious doubt as to whether Spain really was responsible for the sinking of the battleship Maine, there is serious doubt - to say the least - about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

2. In 1898, a generation of Idealists was appalled at the way Spain was treating the Cuban people. In 2002, an albeit older such generation expressed shock at the way Saddam Hussein was treating the Kurds and Shiites - the latter introduced to the American public as the "marsh Arabs" during Desert Storm.

Operation Cuban Freedom then = Operation Iraqi Freedom now?

3. Many politicians who supported the war against Spain subsequently voiced their opposition to continued American occupation of the territories won from Spain, especially the Philippines - the chief "flip-flopper," as noted in my previous post, being William Jennings Bryan.

Enter Hillary Clinton as the heir to Bryan's stance in the present conflict?

4. The United States became extremely unpopular among European intellectuals during the Spanish-American War; Tolstoy, in particular, was vociferous in his demonizing of America's actions, likening Spain to an old, sick, crippled man whom Uncle Sam was beating over the head with a cane.

Now, fast-forward 105 years to all the anti-Americanism that seemed to ooze from every pore of Europe in the wake of Bush's invasion of Iraq.

5. After the Spaniards were ousted from the Philippines, a local insurgency coalesced, whose goal was to eject Spain's American successors.

Sound familiar? Not only that, but the Philippine insurgents were also deeply divided among themselves, and even included a Muslim faction (the so-called Moros, in Mindanao).

Resolved: The Democrats need to stop making these asinine and counterproductive Vietnam analogies. If they channel William Jennings Bryan - a born-again Christian who worked pro bono for the prosecution in the Scopes Trial just before his death - instead of George McGovern, they can successfully sell getting out of Iraq to the "SpikeTV Democrats" whose votes they need to capture in the general election.
Last edited by '58 Flat; 04-06-2008 at 09:33 AM.
But maybe if the putative Robin Hoods stopped trying to take from law-abiding citizens and give to criminals, take from men and give to women, take from believers and give to anti-believers, take from citizens and give to "undocumented" immigrants, and take from heterosexuals and give to homosexuals, they might have a lot more success in taking from the rich and giving to everyone else.

Don't blame me - I'm a Baby Buster!







Post#1008 at 04-08-2008 03:20 PM by playwrite [at NYC joined Jul 2005 #posts 10,443]
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For better or worst

Are things coming to a head in Iraq?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/i...y_N.htm?csp=34

Al-Sadr threatens to end cease-fire; clashes continue 4/8/2008
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatened Tuesday to lift a seven-month freeze on his Mahdi Army militia if the Iraqi government does not halt attacks on his followers or set a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal.
Al-Sadr also called off a mass march that had been planned for Wednesday in Baghdad after hundreds of followers in Shiite areas south of Baghdad complained that Iraqi security forces prevented them from traveling to the capital.
The developments came as the top U.S. commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus called for an open-ended suspension of U.S. troop withdrawals this summer, asserting that an overly rapid withdrawal would jeopardize recent security gains. Petraeus made the remarks as he appeared at a Senate hearing with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Petraeus also said the recent flare-up of violence in Basra, in Baghdad and elsewhere underscored the importance of al-Sadr's cease-fire and highlighted the role Iran allegedly plays in funding and training Shiite militias through cells the U.S. military calls "special groups."

"Unchecked, the special groups pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq," Petraeus said.
But al-Sadr, who faces an ultimatum by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to either disband his Mahdi Army or give up politics, issued a warning of his own on Tuesday.

"If the public interest dictates the lifting of the freeze to achieve our goals, beliefs, religion, principles and patriotism we shall do that later," he said.

U.S. and Iraqi troops have stepped up their pressure on Mahdi Army militiamen in their Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City, where fighting broke out again early Tuesday after Iraqi units tried to enter the area, a police officer said.
To get a sense of how asinine the mass media rah-rah has been, check Juan Cole's blog -

http://www.juancole.com/

So let us get this straight. Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army fought off thousands of regular Iraqi army troops in Basra and Baghdad, and perhaps thousands of those troops deserted rather than fight. So the Mahdi Army won big and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki lost. Also the US military trainers of the Iraqi troops lost face.
Robert Reid of AP reports that hundreds of Iraqis fled the Shiite districts of Baghdad that are under siege by American and Iraqi government forces. The US and its Iraqi allies engaged in firefights on several fronts in the Shiite neighborhoods. US helicopter gunships and fighter bombers also fired missiles into the civilian neighborhoods. The attacksleft 14 dead in the Baghdad area. The US military denies that its bombing of civilian neighborhoods kills innocent civilians. While I know they try hard to minimize collateral damage, the blanket form of the assertion is not plausible.

The Baghdad fighting is the worst in about a year.

Bonus! An interesting comparison of one Prez. hopeful's take on it with someone who might have a more realistic view -

http://www.juancole.com/2008/04/mcca...ed-pretty.html
"The Devil enters the prompter's box and the play is ready to start" - R. Service

Its not tax money. The banks have accounts with the Fed so, to lend to a bank, we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed. Its much more akin to printing money. - B.Bernanke


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Post#1009 at 04-08-2008 05:42 PM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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It's the Oil, Stupid

The main stream media has been covering the Basra attacks as a sectarian issue. The Christian Science Monitor just put up an article which emphasizes the oil angle. Basra is the seaport. All oil coming out of the country flows through there, and the British got out of the city some time ago. The official oil ministry is loyal to the puppet regime. The locals doing much of the smuggling are loyal to al-Sadr and the Mahdi army. The 'criminals' Maliki is trying to suppress are diverting oil money from the official government.

This clarifies why Maliki isn't backing down. If you look at things from a political - ethnic vantage point, pressing the Mahdi Army looks pretty dumb. As I've been saying, al-Sadr's Shiite militias are going to more fiercely defend their homes than Maliki's security forces are going to fiercely attack someone else's territory. Maliki is going to have continued difficulties finding people willing to fight hard for a puppet government. Thus, pushing the Basra offensive seems like bad tactics, a long term losing stragety.

But if he lets al-Sadr and company get firm control of the oil funds, he loses too. Thus, we are seeing the start of a civil war for oil, with the United States and Iran interested in seeing opposite sides winning. Whether by an accident of demographics or design, al-Sadr's faction controls the oil port, and thus, perhaps, Iraq.

For discussion purposes... Basra Strike Against Shiite Militias Also About Oil

Shahristani says the Basra assault, which was led by Iraqi forces and backed up by the US and British militaries, will allow better control of vital oil resources and facilities, curb smuggling, and help boost production to 3 million barrels per day (b.p.d.) by the end of the year, which would be the highest level in 20 years.

For rival Shiite groups from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's coalition to the members of Sadr's movement the equation is simple. Whoever controls the oil speaks in the name of the Shiite south and has the leverage to map the country's future and work out deals with the two other competing groups: the Sunnis and the Kurds.







Post#1010 at 04-08-2008 08:27 PM by playwrite [at NYC joined Jul 2005 #posts 10,443]
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Quote Originally Posted by Bob Butler 54 View Post
The main stream media has been covering the Basra attacks as a sectarian issue. The Christian Science Monitor just put up an article which emphasizes the oil angle. Basra is the seaport. All oil coming out of the country flows through there, and the British got out of the city some time ago. The official oil ministry is loyal to the puppet regime. The locals doing much of the smuggling are loyal to al-Sadr and the Mahdi army. The 'criminals' Maliki is trying to suppress are diverting oil money from the official government.

This clarifies why Maliki isn't backing down. If you look at things from a political - ethnic vantage point, pressing the Mahdi Army looks pretty dumb. As I've been saying, al-Sadr's Shiite militias are going to more fiercely defend their homes than Maliki's security forces are going to fiercely attack someone else's territory. Maliki is going to have continued difficulties finding people willing to fight hard for a puppet government. Thus, pushing the Basra offensive seems like bad tactics, a long term losing stragety.

But if he lets al-Sadr and company get firm control of the oil funds, he loses too. Thus, we are seeing the start of a civil war for oil, with the United States and Iran interested in seeing opposite sides winning. Whether by an accident of demographics or design, al-Sadr's faction controls the oil port, and thus, perhaps, Iraq.

For discussion purposes... Basra Strike Against Shiite Militias Also About Oil
Isn't there another thread here where someone raised the concern about our occupational forces dependent on supply lines that cut through this contested area? I recall some poo-pooing this because of the wonderful success of the Surge. Perhaps this is why Petraues keep raising the word "fragile" at today's hearings.

Also, here's a more out-there scenario --

http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,164706,00.html

The purpose of this column is not to warn of an imminent assault on Iran, though personally I think it is coming, and soon. Rather, it is to warn of a possible consequence of such an attack. Let me state it here, again, as plainly as I can: an American attack on Iran could cost us the whole army we now have in Iraq.

Lots of people in Washington are pondering possible consequences of an air and missile assault on Iran, but few if any have thought about this one. The American military's endless "were the greatest" propaganda has convinced most people that the U.S. armed forces cannot be beaten in the field. They are the last in a long line of armies that could not be beaten, until they were.

Here's roughly how it might play out. In response to American air and missile strikes on military targets inside Iran, Iran moves to cut the supply lines coming up from the south through the Persian Gulf (can anyone in the Pentagon guess why it's called that?) and Kuwait on which most U.s. Army units in Iraq depend (the Marines get most of their stuff through Jordan). It does so by hitting shipping in the Gulf, mining key choke points, and destroying the port facilities we depend on, mostly through sabotage. It also hits oil production and export facilities in the Gulf region, as a decoy: we focus most of our response on protecting the oil, not guarding our armys supply lines.

Simultaneously, Iran activates the (Shiite militias to cut the roads that lead from Kuwait to Baghdad. Both the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades -- the latter now supposedly our allies -- enter the war against us with their full strength. Ayatollah Sistani, an Iranian, calls on all Iraqi Shiites to fight the Americans wherever they find them. Instead of fighting the 20 percent of Iraqis population that is Sunni, we find ourselves battling the 60 percent that is Shiite. Worse, the Shiites logistics lie directly across those logistics lines coming up from Kuwait.

U.S. Army forces in Iraq begin to run out of supplies, especially POL, of which they consume a vast amount. Once they are largely immobilized by lack of fuel, and the region gets some bad weather that keeps our aircraft grounded or at least blind, Iran sends two to four regular army armor and mech divisions across the border. Their objective is to pocket American forces in and around Baghdad.

The U.S. military in Iraq is all spread out in penny packets fighting insurgents. We have no field army there anymore. We cannot reconcentrate because we're out of gas and Shiite guerrillas control the roads. What units don't get overrun by Iranian armor or Shiite militia end up in the Baghdad Kessel. General Petraeus calls President Bush and repeals the famous words of Marshal I MacMahon at Sedan: "Nous sorrune dans une pot de chambre, and nous y serron emerdee." Bush thinks he's overheard Petraeus ordering dinner -- as, for Bush, he has.

U.S. Marines in Iraq, who are mostly in Anbar province, are the only force we have left. Their lines of supply and retreat through Jordan are intact. The local Sunnis want to join them in fighting the hated Persians. What do they do at that point? Good question.

How probable is all this? I can't answer that. Unfortunately, the people in Washington who should be able to answer it are not asking it. They need to start doing so, now.

It is imperative that we have an up-to-date plan for dealing with this contingency. That plan must not depend on air power to rescue our army. Air power always promises more than it can deliver.

As I have warned before, every American ground unit in Iraq needs its own plan to get itself out of the country using only its own resources and whatever it can scrounge locally. Retreat to the north, through Kurdistan into Turkey, will be the only alternative open to most U.S. Army units, other than ending up in an Iranian POW camp.

Even if the probability of the above scenario is low, we still need to take it with the utmost seriousness because the consequences would be so vast. If the United States lost the army it has in Iraq, we would never recover from the defeat. It would be another Adrianople, another Manzikert, another Rocroi. Given the many other ways we now resemble Imperial Spain, the last analogy may be the most telling.

I have said all this before, in previous columns and elsewhere. If I sound like Cassandra on this point, remember that events ended up proving her right.
"The Devil enters the prompter's box and the play is ready to start" - R. Service

Its not tax money. The banks have accounts with the Fed so, to lend to a bank, we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed. Its much more akin to printing money. - B.Bernanke


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If you meet a magic pony on the road, kill it. - Playwrite







Post#1011 at 04-08-2008 11:17 PM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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Poo-Pooing 2GW

Quote Originally Posted by playwrite View Post
Isn't there another thread here where someone raised the concern about our occupational forces dependent on supply lines that cut through this contested area? I recall some poo-pooing this because of the wonderful success of the Surge. Perhaps this is why Petraues keep raising the word "fragile" at today's hearings.
I think the surge success is as much political and tactical as numbers. As Qaida In Iraq lost the political - publicity battle when their "controlled chaos" doctrine got exposed. With ethnic cleansing complete, the violence due to ethnic cleansing in progress stopped. While increased numbers of US troops and a change in mission from attacking insurgents to protecting Iraqis were not totally irrelevant, the real reasons for the drop in violence had little to do with Petraeus.

The other factor is Maliki and al-Sadr had a cease fire going. Maliki seems ready to force a military solution at this point, though, which strongly suggests an end to the relative 'peace.' This time, it looks like it will be Shiite on Shiite for control of the majority. Al Qaida and the Sunni will play lesser roles.

The situation is fragile as Petraues knows he hasn't got troops for a military victory, and no progress is being made towards a political consensus and sharing of power. If the Shiites commit to resolving differences by violence, with the US and Iran taking opposite sides, he won't be in control and he knows it.

Quote Originally Posted by playwrite View Post
Also, here's a more out-there scenario
One hears scenarios like this at regular intervals. The proponents of these theories are thinking in terms of 2nd Generation warfare, with front lines, tanks, artillery, aircraft, navies and overt open battles. The US has too much of an advantage in this sort of a fight. The locals would be foolish to move away from insurgent tactics. As long as al-Sadr's militias are honestly convinced they are protecting their rightful territory from external occupiers and collaborators, they aren't going to be suppressed by force. Al-Sadr seems confident enough of this to be patient. His position will only get stronger if he lets the puppet government assume the role of the aggressor.

I remain not too worried about open battle. It is true US forces are now more dispersed than they used to be. Still, the opposition is also dispersed. I don't see Iran or the al-Sadr's militias concentrating themselves quickly enough to develop a sustainable 2GW offensive.







Post#1012 at 04-09-2008 11:27 AM by playwrite [at NYC joined Jul 2005 #posts 10,443]
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Quote Originally Posted by Bob Butler 54 View Post
I think the surge success is as much political and tactical as numbers. As Qaida In Iraq lost the political - publicity battle when their "controlled chaos" doctrine got exposed. With ethnic cleansing complete, the violence due to ethnic cleansing in progress stopped. While increased numbers of US troops and a change in mission from attacking insurgents to protecting Iraqis were not totally irrelevant, the real reasons for the drop in violence had little to do with Petraeus.

The other factor is Maliki and al-Sadr had a cease fire going. Maliki seems ready to force a military solution at this point, though, which strongly suggests an end to the relative 'peace.' This time, it looks like it will be Shiite on Shiite for control of the majority. Al Qaida and the Sunni will play lesser roles.

The situation is fragile as Petraues knows he hasn't got troops for a military victory, and no progress is being made towards a political consensus and sharing of power. If the Shiites commit to resolving differences by violence, with the US and Iran taking opposite sides, he won't be in control and he knows it.
Good synopsis.



Quote Originally Posted by Bob Butler 54 View Post
One hears scenarios like this at regular intervals. The proponents of these theories are thinking in terms of 2nd Generation warfare, with front lines, tanks, artillery, aircraft, navies and overt open battles. The US has too much of an advantage in this sort of a fight. The locals would be foolish to move away from insurgent tactics. As long as al-Sadr's militias are honestly convinced they are protecting their rightful territory from external occupiers and collaborators, they aren't going to be suppressed by force. Al-Sadr seems confident enough of this to be patient. His position will only get stronger if he lets the puppet government assume the role of the aggressor.

I remain not too worried about open battle. It is true US forces are now more dispersed than they used to be. Still, the opposition is also dispersed. I don't see Iran or the al-Sadr's militias concentrating themselves quickly enough to develop a sustainable 2GW offensive.
The author of that article, William Lind, I think is supposed to be the father of the notion of 4th Generation Warfare. Its interesting that he is raising the concern for our ability to now fight a 2nd Generation war if it comes to it.

Recently, there was an article in the WSJ expressing the same concern but on a more global basis -

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120753402909694027.html

Officer Questions Petraeus's Strategy
Iraq War Veteran Says Focus on Counterinsurgency
Hinders Ability to Fight Conventional War
"The Devil enters the prompter's box and the play is ready to start" - R. Service

Its not tax money. The banks have accounts with the Fed so, to lend to a bank, we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed. Its much more akin to printing money. - B.Bernanke


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Post#1013 at 04-09-2008 04:39 PM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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Cornered

Quote Originally Posted by playwrite View Post
Recently, there was an article in the WSJ expressing the same concern but on a more global basis -

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120753402909694027.html
I'd agree that globally we definitely have nothing in reserve should another 'threat' arise. We are essentially 100% plus committed. We are deploying reserve units on regular rotations. Repeat deploy stress is a very real concern. Any sort of serious deployment anywhere else on the globe would have to come out of the Iraq Afghanistan troop commitment. Everything we have is either in Iraq or Afghanistan, standing down after a deployment, or getting ready for the next deployment.

Meanwhile, I stumbled upon the following little gem over on Firedoglake.

Lindsey Graham on "Face The Nation," 3/23/08:

REID: Now, you went on to say that we're, quote, "about to turn a corner in Iraq." Now, you just returned from Iraq again. Were you right?

GRAHAM: Yeah. Yeah.

REID: Has there been a major breakthrough? Have we turned the corner in Iraq?

GRAHAM: Oh, yeah, I think so.

Lindsey Graham, 8/28/2007:

I'm confident that the Iraqi people have turned a corner.

Charles Krauthammer, 4/13/2007:

Yet, just this week, the Marine commandant, Gen. James Conway, returned from a four-day visit to the province and reported that we have turned the corner.

Fred Kagan, 4/24/2007:

"Turning the corner in Iraq"

Dick Cheney, 2005:

Violence and civil unrest surged across Iraq on Sunday as Vice President Cheney made his first visit here in more than a decade, praising what he called the "remarkable" turnout by voters in nationwide elections Thursday and telling U.S. troops that the country had "turned the corner."

Gen. David Petraeus, yesterday:

"We haven't turned any corners. We haven't seen any lights at the end of the tunnel."

Oh well.
Give it another Friedman Unit?







Post#1014 at 04-09-2008 05:04 PM by playwrite [at NYC joined Jul 2005 #posts 10,443]
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Quote Originally Posted by Bob Butler 54 View Post
Give it another Friedman Unit?
I actually get a chance to talk with Friedman about twice a year. I'm not aware of him ever writing/speaking to it in public, but that FU thing has really had an impact on him. Nice smart guy, but in the end, ....
"The Devil enters the prompter's box and the play is ready to start" - R. Service

Its not tax money. The banks have accounts with the Fed so, to lend to a bank, we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed. Its much more akin to printing money. - B.Bernanke


"Keep your filthy hands off my guns while I decide what you can & can't do with your uterus" - Sarah Silverman

If you meet a magic pony on the road, kill it. - Playwrite







Post#1015 at 04-09-2008 11:37 PM by Pink Splice [at St. Louis MO (They Built An Entire Country Around Us) joined Apr 2005 #posts 5,439]
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Quote Originally Posted by playwrite View Post
I actually get a chance to talk with Friedman about twice a year. I'm not aware of him ever writing/speaking to it in public, but that FU thing has really had an impact on him. Nice smart guy, but in the end, ....
It will be the poor bastard's epitaph.







Post#1016 at 04-10-2008 02:20 AM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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That Values Thing...

Quote Originally Posted by playwrite View Post
I actually get a chance to talk with Friedman about twice a year. I'm not aware of him ever writing/speaking to it in public, but that FU thing has really had an impact on him. Nice smart guy, but in the end, ....
It's the values thing. One sees or foresees what one's values demand one must see or foresee. If the corner hasn't be turned, surely it will be within another FU? If one's values are not vindicated now, surely they will when the 4T is really and truly here?

It is not just Friedman, it is not just conservatives, it is human. It is easier to be blind that to see.

And I can't resist commenting... You see Friedman about once a Friedman Unit?
Last edited by Bob Butler 54; 04-10-2008 at 02:22 AM. Reason: Was Unable To Resist







Post#1017 at 04-14-2008 05:37 PM by Pink Splice [at St. Louis MO (They Built An Entire Country Around Us) joined Apr 2005 #posts 5,439]
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Post#1018 at 04-14-2008 07:26 PM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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For discussion purposes...

With Saddam dead and Al-Qaeda weakened -- according to Bush -- Iranian-financed extremists, which top US commander in Iraq David Petraeus has called "special groups," have emerged as a key reason for maintaining US troop levels in Iraq.
My first thought it that this belongs on the "Bush Rebrands Iraq" thread. My second was that the frequency of change in the US motive for continuing the fight is slowing down a bit. It used to be that Bush changed his mind about what we were fighting for every Friedman Unit. That seems to have slowed somewhat.

But the changes in Bush's motives, at least in what he says in public, do to sometimes reflect real changes in what is happening on the ground, and sometimes reflects the failure of bad propaganda ploys to raise popular support. When it became clear there were no WMDs, the WMD excuse for the invasion had to be replaced. When Saddam was captured, deposing Salaam became less sexy. Since we have had a chance to see Iraqi democracy in action, the notion of spreading democracy at gunpoint has become less of a talking point.

But some of the propaganda shifts do to some extent reflect which of many insurgent factions is Bush 43's primary opponent at any given moment. Before the release of Al Qaida's "Controlled Chaos" document, Al Qaida would attack Sunnis who would retaliate against Shiites, then attack Shiites who would retaliate against Sunnis. At that point, Bush was correctly identifying Al Qaida as a pain in the butt causing much more damage that the size of its force would imply. With the surge came a shift in emphasis from killing insurgents to protecting the Iraqi people.

Now we have Iranians as the boogie men of the moment. The Republicans may have identified the real opponent this time. Iran is gaining influence in the region. They are the major Shiite state and not allied with the US. As long as the US looks like an aggressive destabilizing force from the perspective of the other nations in the Middle East, the other local powers will be apt to stand quietly aside and let Iran fight the proxy war. As long as Iran holds out against Bush, the rest of the Gulf is safe from American aggression.

In that respect, perhaps Bush 43 has replaced Saddam. Saddam was tolerated so long as he checked any Iranian ambitions. Bush 43 has taken over that function. At the same time Iran is checking Bush 43's ambitions. As long as the US is tied down in Iraq, there can be no invasion of Iran. We have mutual containment in the style of the Cold War, except there is more shooting and dying going on.

The stalemate can go on for as long as both sides are willing to spend to prevent peace. Iran can fuel the insurgency without undue difficulties. Arming insurgents is cheap. Iran also has their influence with both Maliki and al-Sadr. So long as any remnants of Bush's democracy exists, the dominant government will be Shiite, and thus will be tied to Iran. From that context, Iran has a long term lock on victory. Still, so long as the US is willing to pour tons of foreign aid money into Iraq, the possibilities for graft and corruption are so wide open that Maliki's faction is in no hurry to push the Americans out. Of course, the general population is not particularly pleased with this, which means puppet government troops are performing spectacularly poorly against anti-American militias. The people are not going to fight hard for continued foreign occupation.

But Bush 43 does have his exit strategy. In fact, it is in the Constitution. He can't run for a 3rd term. He will get his exit.







Post#1019 at 04-15-2008 11:51 AM by Pink Splice [at St. Louis MO (They Built An Entire Country Around Us) joined Apr 2005 #posts 5,439]
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Post#1020 at 04-15-2008 10:00 PM by Pink Splice [at St. Louis MO (They Built An Entire Country Around Us) joined Apr 2005 #posts 5,439]
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Post#1021 at 04-23-2008 02:47 AM by Pink Splice [at St. Louis MO (They Built An Entire Country Around Us) joined Apr 2005 #posts 5,439]
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Explain This, Administration Supporters.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/...n4032921.shtml

VA Hid Suicide Risk, Internal E-Mails Show
Follow-Up Reporting On Exclusive Investigation Reveals Officials Hid Numbers
April 21, 2008

Veterans Suicides In Question

In a recently filed lawsuit, the Department of Veterans Affairs is accused of deliberately misinforming the American public about the number of veterans committing suicide. Armen Keteyian reports. | Share/Embed


(CBS) The Department of Veterans Affairs came under fire again Monday, this time in California federal court where it's facing a national lawsuit by veterans rights groups accusing the agency of not doing enough to stem a looming mental health crisis among veterans. As part of the lawsuit, internal e-mails raise questions as to whether top officials deliberately deceived the American public about the number of veterans attempting and committing suicide. CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports.


In San Francisco federal court Monday, attorneys for veterans' rights groups accused the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs of nothing less than a cover-up - deliberately concealing the real risk of suicide among veterans.

"The system is in crisis and unfortunately the VA is in denial," said veterans rights attorney Gordon Erspamer.

The charges were backed by internal e-mails written by Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's head of Mental Health.

In the past, Katz has repeatedly insisted while the risk of suicide among veterans is serious, it's not outside the norm.

"There is no epidemic in suicide in VA," Katz told Keteyian in November.

But in this e-mail to his top media adviser, written two months ago, Katz appears to be saying something very different, stating: "Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among veterans we see in our medical facilities."

Katz's e-mail was written shortly after the VA provided CBS News data showing there were only 790 attempted suicides in all 2007 - a fraction of Katz's estimate.

"This 12,000 attempted suicides per year shows clearly, without a doubt, that there is an epidemic of suicide among veterans," said Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense.

And it appears that Katz went out of his way to conceal these numbers.

First, he titled his e-mail: "Not for the CBS News Interview Request."

He opened it with "Shh!" - as in keep it quiet - before ending with
"Is this something we should (carefully) address before someone stumbles on it?"

On Monday, CBS News showed the e-mail to Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

"This is disgraceful. This is a crime against our nation, our nation's veterans," Filner told CBS News. "They do not want to come to grips with the reality, with the truth."

And that's not all.

Last November when CBS News exposed an epidemic of more than 6,200 suicides in 2005 among those who had served in the military, Katz attacked our report.

"Their number is not, in fact, an accurate reflection of the rate," he said last November.

But it turns out they were, as Katz admitted in this e-mail, just three days later.

He wrote: there "are about 18 suicides per day among America's 25 million veterans."

That works out to about 6,570 per year, which Katz admits in the same e-mail, "is supported by the CBS numbers."

In an e-mail late Monday to CBS News, Katz wrote that the reason the numbers were not released was due to questions about the consistency and reliability of the findings - and that there was no public cover up involved.







Post#1022 at 04-24-2008 01:14 AM by Pink Splice [at St. Louis MO (They Built An Entire Country Around Us) joined Apr 2005 #posts 5,439]
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http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...S_CARE?SITE=AP

Apr 22, 7:45 PM EDT

Democrats seek resignation of top VA mental health official

By MATTHEW DALY
Associated Press Writer
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two Democratic senators on Tuesday called for the chief mental health official of the Veterans Affairs Department to resign, saying he tried to cover up the rising number of veteran suicides.

Sens. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and Patty Murray of Washington state said Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's mental health director, withheld crucial information on the true suicide risk among veterans.

"Dr. Katz's irresponsible actions have been a disservice to our veterans, and it is time for him to go," said Murray, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "The No. 1 priority of the VA should be caring for our veterans, not covering up the truth."

Akaka, the committee's chairman, said in a letter to the VA that Katz's "personal conduct and professional judgment" had been called into question by his response to veteran suicides.

Veterans, and the VA itself, "would be best served by his immediate resignation," Akaka said.

A number of Democratic senators said they were appalled at e-mails showing Katz and other VA officials apparently trying to conceal the number of suicides by veterans. An e-mail message from Katz disclosed this week as part of a lawsuit that went to trial in San Francisco starts with "Shh!" and claims 12,000 veterans a year attempt suicide while under department treatment.

"Is this something we should (carefully) address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?" the e-mail asks.

A VA spokesman declined to comment Tuesday.

Another e-mail said an average of 18 war veterans kill themselves each day - and five of them are under VA care when they commit suicide.

"It is completely outrageous that the federal agency charged with helping veterans would instead cover up the hard truth - that more and more Americans coming home after bravely fighting for their country are suffering from mental illnesses and in the most tragic circumstances, committing suicide," said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. "Anyone at the VA who is involved in this cover-up should be removed immediately."

Harkin, Murray and Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., introduced legislation Tuesday calling on the VA to track how many veterans commit suicide each year. Currently, VA facilities record the number of suicides and attempted suicides in VA facilities - but do not record how many veterans overall take their own lives. The agency, however, is reluctant to disclose specific numbers, veterans advocates complain.

The new bill would require the VA to report to Congress within 180 days the number of veterans who have died by suicide since Jan. 1, 1997, and continue reports annually. Harkin's office said statistics provided earlier this year by the VA showed that 790 veterans under VA care attempted suicide in 2007. That figure is contradicted by the e-mail revealed this week.

Two veterans groups last year filed the class-action lawsuit against a sprawling VA system that handled a record 838,000 claims last year. A government lawyer on Monday urged a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the agency runs a "world class" medical care system.







Post#1023 at 04-24-2008 01:16 AM by Pink Splice [at St. Louis MO (They Built An Entire Country Around Us) joined Apr 2005 #posts 5,439]
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Come on out and play, administration supporters.







Post#1024 at 04-29-2008 10:16 AM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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Democracy with Bullets

Here is one from the New York Times, but a native born Baghdad resident about to come to the US for a few years. For discussion purposes... What a Way to Go

What Im hoping for when going to the States is to see and learn and test American democracy, the same democracy that was brought to my country or so I was told.

Because I havent really liked it in my country. What is happening now is nothing but chaos.

For instance, yesterday I was driving to Karada, where I could wire my money to Syria instead of carrying it with me. It is dangerous to travel with lots of cash in Iraq, because you dont know what will happen in any given minute.

My route required me to drive across Jadriya Bridge, but when I got there I saw that an Iraqi Army checkpoint had been set up in the middle of the span and that an American convoy was passing through. We poor drivers have to stop at these places, of course, lest we be considered a possible enemy and get shot.

The American convoy was followed by a convoy of commandos from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, known here as the National Police. The American convoy found its way through the traffic and passed the checkpoint. The National Police convoy, however, was stopped; the Iraqi soldiers guarding the checkpoint didnt like having the National Police passing without showing them who was boss.

The two sides started arguing, and the argument soon developed into a gunfight, with the soldiers firing on the tires of the police convoy and the police using their radio to call for backup. In a matter of minutes we had more than 20 trucks full of armed men blocking the two sides of the bridge and pointing their guns at one another.

The funny thing was that all of them were Iraqis, members of the security forces, the people who are supposed to keep peace and order in the streets. But what happened was that they were fighting over power, and because of that hundreds of cars civilian cars, including mine were stopped, with nobody knowing what to do. If they started fighting, we would all be caught in the crossfire.

I thought in that moment that I could take a bullet. I was carrying all my savings, driving my car and waiting for tomorrow to come in order to fly to my family. And here I was, in the middle of a confrontation that could erupt into a gunfight at any minute, and between whom? The people who were supposed to protect me; me, the poor Iraqi citizen.

This is the kind of democracy we have. You can do whatever you want as long as you have power, and you can express your opinion and force it whenever and wherever you want, not caring about others.

This is democracy in Iraq.

So Im going to the United States to see, is what we have here an American democracy? Or is it Iraqi democracy?

When I go there, I will know the difference.
It's not yet about how many people with votes that determines power over there, but how many people with guns. Here, it might be about how many people with money.







Post#1025 at 05-01-2008 12:10 AM by Zarathustra [at Where the Northwest meets the Southwest joined Mar 2003 #posts 9,198]
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Quote Originally Posted by Pink Splice View Post
Come on out and play, administration supporters.
Maybe they would like to comment on these two pieces?

Wolfowitz changing his tune on the insurgency. What a f*cking clown.

Or another one of Rummy's ol' subordinates now admits that "measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle."
Americans have had enough of glitz and roar . . Foreboding has deepened, and spiritual currents have darkened . . .
THE FOURTH TURNING IS AT HAND.
See T4T, p. 253.
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