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Tilting at Windmills

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February 20, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

IRAQ GETS A WARNING....America's ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, warned Iraqis today that U.S. patience with religious conflict is limited:

The ambassador said the US would not continue spending billions of dollars to build up security forces run by people with a sectarian agenda.

"American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly. We are not going to invest the resources of the American people into forces run by people who are sectarian," he said at a rare news conference.

Mr Khalilzad bluntly warned politicians from Iraq's largest group, the Shia Muslims, that the key defence and interior ministries must be in the hands of people "who are non-sectarian, broadly acceptable and who are not tied to militias".

Khalilzad has to walk a tricky line in his public statements, but this strikes me as a useful stance: not too hot and not too cold. What's more, if it doesn't have the desired effect it gives us a prepackaged excuse to pull out later this year.

Kevin Drum 11:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (66)

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Comments

Hey, if this is the way sanity gets injected into Bush's Iraq policy, I'm all for it.

Posted by: Dave Munger on February 20, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Finally, the fruits of our secret energy policy are budding!

Posted by: max on February 20, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly.

I know I do. If enough isn't going to Haliburton and various Congressional payoff schemes, I get upset.

Posted by: craigie on February 20, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Ten to One this is a ploy to bring back Chalabi.

Posted by: Boronx on February 20, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone doubt that the Shia have spent the last few years getting ready for inevitable abandaonment? How much leverage do we really have?

Posted by: Boronx on February 20, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

I disagree. I am not very keen on statements like these, because once again the U.S. is becoming the greatest hypocrite in the world.

We say we want to spread democracy, but what happens when people in the Middle East actually choose the people they want to lead them? The U.S. says "you chose the wrong people." The Palestinians chose wrong by electing Hamas. The Iraqis chose wrong by electing Shia. And until they choose right, we aren't going to help them.

One of the primary complaints about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is that we say we like democracy but we prop up dictatorships like in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Saying that democratically-elected governments need to watch what they do only serves to reinforce U.S. hypocrisy about democracy. Democracy is apparently only good if the right people get elected.

Posted by: Doctor Gonzo on February 20, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Khalilzad is right, we are spending way too much on sectarian agendas here at home to spend more on those abroad.

Posted by: peBird on February 20, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Pot. Kettle. Black.

What are we going to do, get really mad and stamp our feet? I mean we can get away with killing only so many people.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 20, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

What's more, if it doesn't have the desired effect it gives us a prepackaged excuse to pull out later this year.

But...but...surely you aren't suggesting the Bush Administration plans to cut and run from Iraq? Or is subordinating national security to the domestic political fortunes of the GOP? Perish forbid! [/snark]

Posted by: Gregory on February 20, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK
The ambassador said the US would not continue spending billions of dollars to build up security forces run by people with a sectarian agenda.

On the other hand, US taxpayers do continue to spend billions on building up security forces run by people with a sectarian agenda here in the US...

Wasn't the Iraq reconstruction supposed to pay for itself?

Posted by: grape_crush on February 20, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Why does Zalmay Khalilzad hate God? Doesn't he know it's freedom of religion, not freedom from religion?

Posted by: shortstop on February 20, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Or else we will take out $800 million embassy and go home?

This is old George, trying to solve the 1,000 year old struggle between the Shia and Sunni.

Posted by: Matt on February 20, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Your LAST is exactly what I FIRST thought when I read that - this is the start of the real campaign to pull out before the election in Nov. They know perfectly well that Iraq will have sectarian violence, and now we will be able to blame it on them and say we're outa here.

Posted by: nhselectwoman on February 20, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

As if!

Khalizad seems to imply that the American tax-payers have a say in how their money is spent.

I don't know much about the Iraqi political classes, but even if they have average intelligence on these matters, they must be laughing their ass off at this false bravado from an administration desperate to avoid being held responsible for a $200B disaster in the making.

Posted by: lib on February 20, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

How does this square with the previous post on permanent bases. It seems Khalazid is giving an ultimatum with nothing to back it. Isn't he saying fix it or we will leave you to it.

Or is this the necessary preparation for the installation of an american backed military dictatorship (i.e. we get to keep the bases)

Posted by: ed_finnerty on February 20, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck the "pre-packaged excuse," just get out. We were wrong to go in, we are wrong to stay. It's just a question of how much more we can fuck things up in the interim. Aside from profiteering contractors, no one wants the Americans in Iraq. Wake up!

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on February 20, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

The "non-sectarian" iraqi leadership is imaginary. There's no one of any significance there who could be honestly described this way. You can pick which sectarians to back, but if you're trying to create a secular, non-sectarian government there, you are trying to raise phantoms.

Calibrating the temperature of official U.S. pronouncements in Iraq is pretty much the definition of Titanic deck chair arranging. Totally meaningless, as it has nothing to do with the reality of the place.

Posted by: jimBOB on February 20, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

"We say we want to spread democracy, but what happens when people in the Middle East actually choose the people they want to lead them? The U.S. says "you chose the wrong people." The Palestinians chose wrong by electing Hamas. The Iraqis chose wrong by electing Shia. And until they choose right, we aren't going to help them."

The Iraqis did not elect religious Shia to run them without coalition partners. Check the election results, the UIA (religious shia) got something like 40%.

And if their alliance falls apart, they might not even be in govt.

Posted by: cranky on February 20, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, shortstop, he clearly doesn't see that all people everywhere who invoke the name of God are morally superior to people who don't, and therefore can do whatever they want to whomever they want. For instance, I just used the word "God" in this statement and so am totally right all the time about everything and no one can tell me a damn thing. Now, where's my money?

Posted by: Kenji on February 20, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

related topic here: Democrats attempting to suppress political opinion, also link to original ads.

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/013191.php


Note to Powerline haters: follow the links. Disagree with the ads? Not a problem to me. Suppress the ads? That won't work.

Posted by: republicrat on February 20, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Sure we will...we do it with the US air force currently!

Posted by: madmatt on February 20, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Khalilzad has to walk a tricky line in his public statements, but this strikes me as a useful stance: not too hot and not too cold.

I agree with that assessment. the US wants a democracy, not a dictatorship of the Shi'ite militias.

I can't tell which alternative scares you more: the prospect of civil war if the US abandons the Iraqis, or the prospect of America staying and preventing a large scale civil war.

Posted by: republicrat on February 20, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly."

ROFLMAO!!!

Iraq is gonna be an extremist Muslim country. It's a done deal - get over it. Best to start strategerizing about how to deal with it, and the new complexities it introduces into the region.

Posted by: cdj on February 20, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II asks:
"What are we going to do, get really mad and stamp our feet?"

We're going to make them form the right government by fighting the Iraqi army we've been equipping and training up to now. (We were for them before we were against them.)

Posted by: cowalker on February 20, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, Dubya, in an attempt to stop being labeled "Worst US President Ever", embarks with members of his cabinet on an alternative energy roadshow, including stops in Wisconsin, Michigan, and the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.

I would applaud Dubya's adoption of this 'liberal agenda' item...if it were sincere:

Golden, Colorado - Just a week after President George W. Bush proclaimed his support (State of the Union address) for renewable energy technologies, the nation's premier renewable energy laboratory has been forced to announce layoffs because the Bush Administration's proposed budget doesn't adequately fund the laboratory's current staff.
Citing a $28 million budget shortfall, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reduced its staff by 32 people this week. Research programs affected by the layoffs include biomass, hydrogen and basic research.

Oh, and this as well:

In a February 16 letter to the council, Reps. Henry Waxman, D-CA, Marcy Kaptur, D-OH, and Jim Davis, D-FL, ask why the (White House Council of Economic Advisers Annual Report) document, released on February 13, differs so significantly from the Presidents energy goals articulated in his State of the Union Address.
While the CEA Report does describe many policy proposals supported by the Administration, it does not appear to reflect the Presidents State of the Union energy plan, the lawmakers state. We request an explanation of how we are to interpret this report, and whether the American people should dismiss the Presidents State of the Union Address, as apparently the Council of Economic Advisers has.
The report does, however, refer to its support for a number of the Administrations energy policies, including greater access to oil and natural gas resources and opening a small portion of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge for this purpose, noting that the US holds only 2 percent of the worlds total proven oil reserves.

Apologies for the off-topic post, but Dubya's messing up the traffic in my neck of the woods, and I'm a bit peeved about it.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 20, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Who is this "republicrat" character? Another avowed "independent" who never met a Dem he'd defend or a Republican he wouldn't kneel for?

Kenji: For instance, I just used the word "God" in this statement and so am totally right all the time about everything and no one can tell me a damn thing. Now, where's my money?

We'll need a little more info before we cut you a check, friend. Tell us about your God, being sure to provide a Christiness rating.

Posted by: shortstop on February 20, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

You think Bush can invade a country all balls out, antagonize everyone like an idiot child poking a hornets nest with a stick, and then pull out and blame the terrorist fueling chaos on the same sectarians we were supposedly freeing from the yokes of oppression in the first place?

What kind of administration would try to use surrogates to blame the victims of their own ineptness? It just doesn't seem plausible.

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 20, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Before we had Saddam contained. Now we have ourselves contained ... in a can of shit. Sorry thing about this democracy stuff, the majority rules. Good luck finding a non partisan, secular commander of the Iraqi armed forces. Won't be long before we are finding ways to contain him.

Posted by: lou on February 20, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat,

"I agree with that assessment. the US wants a democracy, not a dictatorship of the Shi'ite militias."

The US does not care. The disruption is useful as a distraction.

The basic reason to invade Iraq was to install remote permanent bases in the deserts west of Baghdad.

Air crews trained in handling nukes as well as their equipment have already been deployed to Iraq, per many non-domestic pubs. as well as friends in the military. No speculation needed here. I imagine the objects of their training are poised for arrival if not already there.

Posted by: Sky-Ho on February 20, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqis outnumber collaborators 100-1. Lost cause, but we will have to borrow another 2-3 trillion dollars from the Chinese and Koreans to fund this basketcase as the alternative, admitting mistakes, would be too traumatic for the neurotic Bush and the cabal of neocons. We're gonna make it work no matter how much American blood and money it costs. That's the ridin' tall in the saddle Texas spirit we see in westerns that reflect our can-do spirit, such as Brokeback Mountain.

Posted by: Myron on February 20, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Mr Khalilzad bluntly warned politicians from Iraq's largest group, the Shia Muslims, that the key defence and interior ministries must be in the hands of people "who are non-sectarian, broadly acceptable and who are not tied to militias."

Now if we could just apply the same requirements to our OWN gummint......

Posted by: Andrew on February 20, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Khalilzad's statement is basically an admonition that we lost the war. Yes, won the battles, or at least most of them, and lost the war.

Who didn't see this? Besides the administration I mean? Who didn't see this coming? These are supposed to be our "leaders" making these decisions? People who ignore a thousand years of religous conflict, much of it over the past century.

It's f***ing embarassing.

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on February 20, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat on February 20, 2006 at 12:34 PM:

related topic here: Democrats attempting to suppress...blah blah blah

More manufatured outrage from the same mindset that brought you the 'War on Christmas' and the 'War on Valentines' Day'.

Disagree with the ads? Not a problem to me.

Do you have a problem with me disagreeing with the Powerline commentary you linked to? Not that Powerline is, like, biased or anything...

republicrat on February 20, 2006 at 12:40 PM:

the US wants a democracy, not a dictatorship of the Shi'ite militias.

Disagree. The US wants a stable, pro-US business governing institution in place. Whether that comes in the form of a democracy or another dictator like Hussein is irrelevant to the bigger picture: US access to Iraq's oil.

I can't tell which alternative scares you more:

That's because neither one of those things were mentioned in Kev's post...Nice try at hijacking the topic.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 20, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

What's more, if it doesn't have the desired effect it gives us a prepackaged excuse to pull out later this year.

First, please look at >this. Seems like there might be some tensions here.

Posted by: LJ on February 20, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Let's get real here. No threats from the US are going to have any influence with the players in Iraq. For the Iraq factions it's a permanent life or death struggle, whereas for the US, this fiasco is a political fad people are rapidly becoming tired of.

Posted by: padcrasher on February 20, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sky-Ho: Can you substantiate your statements about nukes? Is this personal knowledge?

Posted by: LJ on February 20, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Others might have had grand geopolitical reasons for the Iraq misadventure, but the politcos found in it a convenient issue for the 2002 and 2004 elections. That's all there is to it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

All the statements about the war become very understandable from this prism.

Posted by: lib on February 20, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

ed_finnerty, you raise an interesting point, to which my response is: at no point during this entire misbegotten adventure has there been any indication that the bush administration has a coherent strategy in iraq.

so the fact is, stuff doesn't square, ever, with these clowns.

that said, khalilzad is the closest thing the bush adminstration has to a realist on iraq....

Posted by: howard on February 20, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Occam's razor would suggest that this statement was for Sunni political consumption and will have very little impact on the composition of security forces or the likelihood that we'll leave the new iraqi leadership high and dry. It might force the Shiites to choose someone for the interior ministry that hasn't been videotaped putting out cigarettes on the scalps of Sunni prisoners.

If on the other hand we actually do something -- withhold funding or equipment, reposition troops, force security forces and leadership to resign, put the ones in charge of torture facilities on trial, etc. -- the iraqi government might pay attention.

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 20, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

"American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly. We are not going to invest the resources of the American people into forces run by people who are sectarian," he said at a rare news conference.

So we are going to stop funding the US Air Force Academy?

Posted by: Wapiti on February 20, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Sky-Ho: Can you substantiate your statements about nukes? Is this personal knowledge? Posted by: LJ

What's to substantiate? That's been U.S. military policy since the Cold War: Wherever there is an established U.S. military presence, one must assume there will be nuclear capability.

A perfect example is with our navy bases in Japan. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy actually began with regard to what our ships were carrying when they made port calls in Sasebo and Yokosuka. Japan has a "law" against nuclear weapons. However, all U.S. battle groups were nuclear during the Cold War. Therefore, all missile cruisers and aircraft carriergoing in and out of port there were carrying nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 20, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Can't help wondering who the real (as in 'intended') audience for Zalmay Khalilzad's comments was.

But the arrogance and cognitive dissonance in all of this is staggering. If he had been remotely honest he would have said,"Look, we invaded your country, spent all this money destroying its culture and its infrastructure, and now we see that we not only underestimated how much it would cost if we had done it right but we have nowhere near enough money to fix what we broke. So, will you please be nice and make things easier for us so that we can go home and hold power in the next election?"

Posted by: JB (not the U.N. John Bolton) on February 20, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Khalilzad is speaking on behalf of the oil companies (as he has for years), who must be getting frustrated that they can't export as much Iraqi crude as they planned on before the war. Please relaize that Khalilzad is a CIA operative and has been since the mid-1980s.

See the following article:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_01/01.14A.Zalmay.Oil.htm

Excerpted (and paraphrased) from the article:

"In the early 1980s, Khalilzad was executive director of the Friends of Afghanistan, a support group for the mujahedin fighting the Soviets -- the same group that spawned Osama bin Laden. He advocated providing arms to the "resistance" fighters in Afghanistan. [That worked out well, didnt it?]
In 1984, Khalilzad became an American citizen and joined the State Department where he worked under Paul Wolfowitz. The two [Khalilzad and Wolfowitz], joined others in signing an open letter to Clinton that argued for the overthrow of Saddam {remember PNAC?} Khalilzad also worked as a paid adviser to multinational oil company Unocal and accompanied representatives of the Taliban to Texas to visit with then Governor George W. Bush [wonder what they talked about?]. After Bush II was appointed president by Fat Tony Scalia in 2000, Cheney selected him to head the transition team for defense. In May 2001, Bush appointed him the National Security Council official in charge of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. His direct superior was Condoleeza Rice, who herself had served as an oil consultant for Chevron. Khalilzad has changed his tune so often that one analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, Anatol Lieven, said, "If he was in private business rather than government, he would have been sacked long ago."
But Khalilzad has long and consistently argued that America ignored Afghanistan at its peril. In an article that appeared in the winter 2000 issue of the Washington Quarterly, co-authored by Rand colleague Daniel Byman, Khalilzad and Byman issued a stern warning about Afghanistan being "a haven for some of the world's most lethal anti-U.S. terrorists" who "pose a threat to U.S. soliders and civilians at home and abroad, to the Middle East peace process, and to the stability of our allies in the region." The two recommended taking measures to weaken the Taliban and support the Northern Alliance.
As Jacob Weisberg pointed out in a recent article on Slate News, "What's remarkable about Khalilzad's recommendations ...... isn't just how tragically prophetic they look in the light of Sept. 11. It's how closely they track the Bush administration's emerging Afghan policy."

And we trust this reptile to speak on our behalf in Iraq??? Are we friggin' nuts????

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 20, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

do you really believe iraq has to worry about us pulling out? no , because they know bush and his cronies care more about filling their cronies pocketbooks then the american people. they will kill our soldiers (but wouldn't go to war themselves ) to fill those pocketbooks..now they are bringing the terrorists over here to secure our ports..against whom? themselves? certainly not against terrorist...they are the terrorist..look at their history. when are the american peopls stop being afraid and greedy and STOP this man and his cronies??? they are bankrupting our country, starving our people ( especially our children and the elderly ),bankrupting our school systems,and now since they want the terrorist in charge of our ports..they are calling AMERICANS racist and prejudice when we say NO-NO-NO to them...

Posted by: cheryl powell on February 20, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

"American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly. We are not going to invest the resources of the American people into forces run by people who are sectarian"

This strikes Kevin as a "useful stance." It stikes me as blatant imperialism. But of course, it's nice to see an American speak frankly, as happens occasionally.

Posted by: Mark on February 20, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

"non-sectarian"? In Iraq? Good one!

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 20, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Februrary 19th, 6:31pm
"The United States is building at least four "super-bases" in Iraq, military compounds that are almost certainly designed to be huge permanent presences there."

Februrary 20th, 11:45am
"What's more, if it doesn't have the desired effect it gives us a prepackaged excuse to pull out [Iraq] later this year."

Cognitive dissonance.

Posted by: still working it out on February 20, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Khalilzad has to walk a tricky line in his public statements, but this strikes me as a useful stance: not too hot and not too cold.

Kevin, what I think you miss here is that we're nearing the endgame of a chess match that's been going on for almost three years.

From the time that Chalabi got Bremer to declare de-Baathification and disband the army in 2003, the Shiites have been manuevering themselves into position to purge/control the Defense and Interior ministries -- in the eminently logical belief that whoever controls Iraq's armed forces controls Iraq.

Even before last January's elections, I wrote at Needlenose: "This is a gap that probably can't be bridged -- either you use Baathists (the core of Iraq's former military) to build a new army/police structure, or you don't."

I elaborated in April:

... too many Shiites have died at the hands of Baathists (both during Saddam Hussein's reign and since then) for them to take any chances with possible "moles," and as long as Allawi remains synonymous with government by (un)reconstructed Baathists, there's no middle ground for them to work together.

... Of all the "compromises" the Americans might try to impose on the UIA, I can see the Shiites backing down on Islam/sharia in the constitution and even some permanent U.S. military presence before they submit to having a new military that is substantially composed of the same Baathists who terrorized them for decades.
Given how these forces were the primary instrument of Saddam's repression, how could their replacement not be the fundamental issue in defining a new Iraq?

That's why the U.S. and Team Shiite are still fighting over it a year later, except that the UIA has entrenched its hold enough that Khalilzad's threat is like a chess player backed into a corner with just a pawn and his king saying, "Let me win, or I'll flip the board over."

Except that as I wrote this morning, "... is making clear that these are the goals of the highly resented occupier really going to make it easier for Team Shiite to go along with them? How does it help them to be seen as obviously knuckling under to American threats? Zalmay had better hope they don't decide there's more of a political benefit to be gained by telling the Americans to shove it."

Posted by: Swopa on February 20, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

"The ambassador said the US would not continue spending billions of dollars to build up security forces run by people with a sectarian agenda."

What, are they going to defund the US Air Force Academy?

Posted by: rea on February 20, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised to have to say this about Khalilzad, whose has been the indispensable man for a while now in Iraq as he was previously in Afghanistan, but his comments on this subject yesterday were not as useful as they might have been.

There is nothing wrong with taking a strong position against sectarian militias or their control of major government ministries. But unless you believe the whole Shiite population of Iraq is swept up in fundamentalist fervor you are left with one big reason sectarian hardliners find favor with Shiites -- the mostly Sunni Arab insurgency.

It is no good condemning sectarianism among Shiites and Kurds and urging fair treatment of Iraq's Sunni Arabs if you don't note that it is the conduct of Sunni Arabs that makes many Shiites and Kurds feel compelled to seek protection from their ethnic militias in the first place. It is not enough for Americans to feel that they have to assume Sunni Arab leaders are on the level -- that their participation in the government will cause them to act to suppress terror attacks by Sunni Arabs against Shiites and Kurds. Shiites and Kurds in Iraq are never going to believe this if the issue is not forced on Sunni Arab politicians. They will assume that they are being asked to give up positions of power in exchange for empty promises.

Now, forcing the issue on Sunni Arab politicians means demanding that they insist that insurgent attacks against the government and Shiite civilians end. That in turn probably puts their own lives at risk from terrorist attack. If this is what it means, then this is what it means. By not confronting Sunni Arab terrorists, Sunni Arab political leaders will eventually be putting their lives at risk anyway, this time from sectarian militias seeking revenge.

Sectarian militias, especially those under Tehran influence, are not a good thing. But Iraq's problem today is the insurgency. The economy is in shambles because of the insurgency. Crime is rampant because of the insurgency. The Americans are still there because of the insurgency. And until Sunni Arab leaders move against the insurgency, Shiite and Kurdish militias will wield ever-growing power within their respective communities, regardless of how many forceful warnings come from the American Embassy.

Posted by: Zathras on February 20, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

"What's more, if it doesn't have the desired effect it gives us a prepackaged excuse to pull out later this year."
--

Unfortunately, this will NEVER happen with the Bush criminals in charge. Super military bases and a billion dollar embassy in Baghdad is what you should expect.

The country is screwed. Iraq and the US. Until Bush/CheneyCo are in prison... no one is safe from their criminal negligence and stupidity.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on February 20, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Ha, that's rich.

Ask any Jewish man in the Air Force in religious wingnut-infested Colorado Springs, if our taxpayer money is being spent on a sectarian force.

Posted by: lilybart on February 20, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

"American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly."

Ha ha! Ha ha ha!

In all seriousness, this sentance should have been re-worded:

"International lenders, like the Chinese, expect their money to be spent properly."

Posted by: ctm on February 20, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

The "American Conservative" reported a couple of weeks ago that the ambassador had been instructed not to let the Shia have the defense or interior departments. Their take was that the US was getting ready to switch sides in Iraq as they prepared for Iran. Sadr has infiltrated the military and police in Iraq to the point that if we attack Iran, we will be attacked in Iraq by the very army we are building there. The AC also noted the negotiations we are having with insurgency leaders. I have no way of knowing how true this all is, but this announcement by Khalilzad makes me wonder if the wack-o right has good sources.

Posted by: ted on February 20, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

So how's the spread of liberty going?

Khalilzad's admonition is a concession that we've spent billions upon billions, killed thousands upon thousands, and are not only powerless to accomplish what the fantasists in power wanted, but, quite the reverse, have the fecal touch. Everything these clowns touch turns to shit.

Sure, good of Khalilzad to say we don't want to fund religious extremists. Might have thought of that before spending billions of dollars and thousands of lives in a project that was overwhelmingly likely to do precisely that. I find it hard to applaud such belated, paper-thin slices of rationality.

Posted by: tom on February 20, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

This is standard Empire stuff. You have to keep shifting your weight between local factions so you hold the balance of power.

Good the US is finally learning.

As in Germany/Japan, Uncle Joe Stalin in WWII and Nixon's visit to China, your former enemies can be your friends, depending on the common enemy.

Posted by: McA on February 20, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Message to Bush: Iraq had an election; you lost; get over it.

Posted by: Brian Boru on February 21, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Khalilzad is a pro.

Posted by: stress on February 21, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not clear. Does this or does this not include the Air Force Academy?

>"American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly. We are not going to invest the resources of the American people into forces run by people who are sectarian,"

Posted by: CFShep on February 21, 2006 at 7:19 AM | PERMALINK

>Aside from profiteering contractors, no one wants the Americans in Iraq. Wake up!

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Right, because those same profiteering contractors are so eager to bring their expertise home - to 'reconstruction' in Louisiana and Mississippi, with just as high a probility of the Federal billions being well spent or anything of long term value being produced.

Other than all those newly enriched GOP donors I mean.

Posted by: CFShep on February 21, 2006 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

States are always bitching about unfunded mandates.

Well, at least we gave our 51st state both a mandate and the funding.

Of course, since Sistani runs Iraq, hmmmmmmmmmm.
Tough giving orders to a theocracy.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 21, 2006 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

The ambassador said the US would not continue spending billions of dollars to build up security forces run by people with a sectarian agenda.

I assume he's talking about the US armed forces who are run being run by the Bush regime and its sectarian agenda, correct?

"American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly.

They...they do?

We are not going to invest the resources of the American people into forces run by people who are sectarian," he said at a rare news conference.

If I'm reading this correctly, then, we're going to defund the US military, since to do otherwise would be to invest resources into forces run by the sectarian Bush regime, correct?

Posted by: Stefan on February 21, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

What's more, if it doesn't have the desired effect it gives us a prepackaged excuse to pull out later this year.

It's all about the GOP covering its ass now, isn't it.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 21, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: credit cards on February 21, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

And what is the "desired effect"? To manipulate the inner workings of a nominally friendly fellow democracy?

This sort of posturing can only hurt our standing in the middle east. (See also our posturing vis-a-vis Hamas.) Why should anyone take our desire for democracy seriously if we repeatedly reject democratically elected leaders who are not to our liking?

If you doubt this will have that effect, just imagine if France said that sort of thing to us: "You'd better appoint Colin Powell to secretary of defense, or else..." Well, OK, actually that probably wouldn't have upset too many people.


Posted by: cramer on February 21, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Message to Bush: Iraq had an election; you lost; get over it.

Posted by: Brian Boru on February 21, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Message to liberals: Iraq had an election; Bush was right; get over it.

Posted by: McA on February 21, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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