Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 25, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

TRAINING REPORT....Four months ago the Pentagon reported that the number of "level one" Iraqi battalions had dropped from three to one. On Friday they reported that although that number has now dropped to zero, 53 battalions are at level two, up from 36 in October. There's reason to be skeptical that this is good news, though. Note the definitions:

"Level one" means the battalion is able to fight on its own; "level two" means it requires support from U.S. troops; and "level three" means it must fight alongside U.S. troops.

I suspect it's fairly easy to fudge the difference between level 2 and level 3, but you can't do that with level 1. A battalion can either operate on its own or it can't. The fact that not one single level 2 battalion has made it to level 1 in the past year suggests that perhaps games are being played with the level 2 designation.

There's another reason to treat these figures with caution. Last November the Washington Post reported that military planners have a "rule of thumb" for gauging whether it's possible to draw down American troops in Iraq:

The formula estimates that for every three Iraqi battalions and one Iraqi brigade headquarters achieving a readiness rating of level two, a U.S. battalion can be dropped.

We've got 17 more level 2 battalions than we did in October, so why isn't anyone talking about cutting back on U.S. troops? Either "level 2" doesn't mean much, or else events on the ground have gotten so much worse that we need all the extra troops we can get.

Neither of these thoughts is very comforting. And given the fact that Iraqi troops appear to be mostly private armies run by local theocrats anyway, you have to half wonder if all this training is even doing any good. Are we just guaranteeing a more efficient civil war?

Kevin Drum 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (111)

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Comments

NY Times should be prosecuted for divulging this information. The enemy is always reading the Times, and such disclosure only embolden him.

Posted by: lib on February 25, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

What? The Bush administration playing politics with battallion readiness counts? Blasphemy! How dare you speak such mistruths? Pat Robertson will soon be calling for your skin.

OT, did someone notice this piece about ricin in Texas (http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/02/25/UT.ricin/index.html). Ricin in Texas, of all the places. Who would have thunk that Texas is harboring terrorists!

Posted by: bt on February 25, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Has anybody bothered to ask Casey the question of why the levels had changed? What changes have taken place in the other training levels? Is this another case of reporters stopping asking questions once they have the answer they wanted to hear, like in the Katrina coverage?

Posted by: tbrosz on September 30, 2005 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: tbrosz (recycled) on February 25, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Until there is an Iraqi force in place doing this work, we can't pull out, or even pull back. There is a lot of progress in that area, but it's being thoroughly spiked by the media, which doesn't smell anything any more except Bush's blood.

Posted by: tbrosz on November 17, 2005 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: tbrosz (recycled) on February 25, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

You crack me up bro. Your Dear Leader made a mighty mess of Iraq and you have the balls to blame the media for the mess. Don't you have any shame? You may be a moron but don't think that the rest of the world is.

Anyone can see the trend in Iraq. Three years of occupation and things continue to get worse by the month. The trend is down. And it is all because some wise guys decided to bomb a place with more targets than Afghanistan.

Posted by: bt on February 25, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

This is the Patented Doug A. McArthur School of Combat Readiness.

You never stir from your air-conditioned penthouse in Luzon - Green Zone, whatever. You sign off on the invoices which say you have x number of combat ready troops.

When invaded, place urgent call to CinComPac for submarine.

Wave to the bastards on Bataan as you depart.

"Dugout Doug lies a tremblin' on the Rock
Dugout Doug lies a tremblin' on the Rock
But the bastards battle on."

Posted by: CFShep on February 25, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Along similar lines, these guys actually tracked statements printed in the press by Administration officials which referred to Iraqi troop strength and the result is quite funny. From 100,000 troops one day to 80,000 a week later to 200,000 a week after that. If you don't want to read the string of press releases, they've graphed the results here.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 25, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Something tells me tbrosz's little hands must be sore from clapping so loudly for the Dear Leader for so long.


Posted by: Casting Director on February 25, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

From the CNN link"In January 2006, the mission is to continue to hand over more and more territory and more and more responsibility to Iraqi forces," Bush said. "That's progress."
Does it follow that since we have just taken away the responsibility of this Battalion operating on its own that we are no longer making progress.

Posted by: virgil on February 25, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

tbroz is a piece of work. I wonder what possible event at this put that could put him into a full-blown semiotic crisis. After all, Bush says we are WINNING and tbroz thinks there is a lot of "progress in that area" but tne media spikes the news.

Of course, our troops are getting killed at the same our greater rate as ever before. And there is no denying (to a sane person) that Iraq is more disordered than at any time since we went in. Closer to civil war, more corrupt, more dangerous, more sectarian strife.

Damn that media, and hooray for Bush!

Posted by: Ba'al on February 25, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

This war in Iraq is worse than Vietnam - in Vietnam we were holding our own as long as we were there. In this war we're outright lossing.

Thinks get worse and worse and worse.

Posted by: Cheryl on February 25, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think that even thinking these numbers have any value is silly. The Iraqi military was never a real military, not worthy of the respect offered to them, and were never anywhere near the ability of the US,UK and AU could deliver. They are now an emerging military, and as for the batallion dropping out of a level one step is odd, but I can prolly explain the level 2 units staying put at level two.

I would say that only the Ex-pats who came from the US,UK and AU were ever in a real fighting force, so to stand up the new military, you had the US, UK and AU instructors training the boots, entering them into the military and now testing them in the battlefield. As individuals are recognized as having the characteristics necessary to continue the active training of deficient other units they get transfered.

It happens all the time, in the military. Granted ours is the greatest in the world, but Commanders have shifting commands, units have shifting personell, and the reason is to test the individuals in all area's for the purposes of identifying those traits that might make them the leaders that are necessary to maintain control of the most terrifyingly affective fighting force the world has ever known.

Either that, or these distinctions are just a bunch of crap. It's hard to identify the necessary metrics to explain effectiveness.

Posted by: wickedpinto on February 25, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

So now that the Iraqis are standing down, does that mean that we have to stand back up?

Posted by: Stefan on February 25, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

ah-oh...

NRO - Lowry on Bush's only playing card - terror and that Republicans are tougher on security.


Emergency, indeed: if Bush loses his edge on national security, he has nothing left.

The cult realizes that Bush isn't God after all --and that Bush has no other redeeming qualities - can impeachment be far away?

Next - is Bush really a conservative? (scrap the bushie gum off the conserative shoes.)


Posted by: Cheryl on February 25, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, tbrosz's first question is relevant, but he won't like the answer. Why aren't the units ready to fight on their own? It's not because the men don't know how to fight, it's because that cannot be trusted to fight for the right side. Their loyalties are not to the central government, but to a particular party or chief. Iraqi police stood by as Sunni mosques were trashed because their fellow Shiite militia were doing the trashing.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 25, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

So that explains this from Reuters:

Iraq's 232,000-strong, U.S.-trained security forces have few tanks but U.S. forces, which routinely patrol Baghdad with heavy armor, are also standing by, commanders said. The loyalties of the largely untried new police and Iraqi army could be tested in any clash with militias from which many were recruited.
The Pentagon said in a report on Friday no Iraqi units were able to fight on their own but about 40,000 troops were in battalions able to take the lead in combat with support from U.S. forces, an increase of 50 percent in the past three months. [Emphasis added.]
Based on Reuters, that means about five to six battalions are level 2. Am I looking at this right? Nah, the 40,000 troops probably doesn't account for all the level 2 battalions, could it? Of course, who trusts what the Pentagon says except for Tbrosz & Friends. And that brings us around to Kevin's remark: "Either 'level 2' doesn't mean much, or else events on the ground have gotten so much worse that we need all the extra troops we can get."

Operation FUBAR in Iraq brought to you by BushCo.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Where do we get our "I told you so" bumper stickers?

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Where do we get our "I told you so" bumper stickers?
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Posted by: CFShep on February 25, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

The issue isn't whether Iraqi battalions are at readiness level 1 (or 2 or 3), it's that the Bush administration won't, or more likely can't, level with the American people. All we hear from them is delusional happy talk like they're in the throes of some kind of psychosis episode. They're obviously dissociated from reality. They can never admit even the smallest error, let alone that they've committed the biggest foreign policy screw up in American history.

What's really scary is that about 40 percent of the American people have seem to have been infected with the same psychosis. Maybe it's a new virus, or some environmental contaminant that affects higher reasoning ability. Whatever it is, for some reason Republicans seem to be disproportionally susceptible. The Centers for Disease Control needs to get on this right away before it becomes a world-wide pandemic. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

aa

Noun: psychosis - Any severe mental disorder in which contact with reality is lost or highly distorted.

Posted by: aaron aardvark on February 25, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Although I do still have a coupla "Acadiana for Kerry" ones you can have for free.

Just sayin'.

"Dugout Doug lies a tremblin' on the Rock
Dugout Doug lies a tremblin' on the Rock
Dugout Doug lies a tremblin' on the Rock
But the bastards battle on."

(sung to the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' and authentic to the time - there are verses my Dad wouldn't sing to me, however.)

Posted by: CFShep on February 25, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you are asking all the right questions and raising all the right logical doubts.

It's a crying shame that the Bush administration cannot be trusted with regard to any of these numbers. Their attidude is that they truly do not owe the American people the truth.

Republicans, as the Daddy party, make unilateral decisions in secret and the rest of us just have to live with it. The only choice we have is to throw the bums out.

I do regret that so many Americans have given the Bush folks the benefit of the doubt for so long. I mean, what competent adult could not have looked at the situation a long time ago and asked all these same question? There is no reason whatsoever to trust the "Iraqi military". As so many of the commenters have pointed out, that military is divided amoung sects.

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As they blow up, we'll stand accused.

Posted by: foresight is 20/20 on February 25, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

The report can be found here, if anyone's interested.

Amazing. I've apparently become a research project for somebody out there.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 25, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

"The fact that not one single level 2 battalion has made it to level 1 in the past year suggests that perhaps games are being played with the level 2 designation."

Ya think?!

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Posted by: 香港 on February 25, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Numbers mean nothing if you don't have the logistics to support the troops. Got to feed them, get ammo to them, get them gas for the their vehicles. Got to have reserves to rotate into line so people can rest and restore. My guess is that the Iraqies don't have the required logistics to stand up to any fight longer than a day, maybe even an hour. Most of the Iraqie army may be tied up in just protecting what logistics capability that we have given them.
If things really go to sh*t, the US army may not have the logistics.
Pray for our guys they need any help, supernatural or not.

Posted by: dilbert dogbert on February 25, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

``The fact that not one single level 2 battalion has made it to level 1 in the past year suggests that perhaps games are being played with the level 2 designation.''

excellent point. you're at your best when you're working on this plane.

Posted by: secularhuman on February 25, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Mongols used an army supported by Persian Shiites to slaughter the Sunni in Baghdad -- leading to their firm control of the city for nearly 80 years.

It's time to choose sides. If we're not willing to play different sects off of eachother and threaten Iraq with Hulagu-style destruction maybe we're just not capable of maintaining an empire.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 25, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

``The fact that not one single level 2 battalion has made it to level 1 in the past year suggests that perhaps games are being played with the level 2 designation.''

You know (well, you probably don't) the Marines, in a best case peace time scenario, allow battalions 18 months to achieve combat readiness before rotating overseas. And that's with a significant core of seasoned professionals left over from the last rotation. But if that's Kevin's best when working the military plane ... well, then, I guess it's his best.

Posted by: scouser on February 25, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

this is in response to earlier blogs.....

I think you guys are nuts to talk of invading Pakistan.

As a pretty liberal Pakistani, I am very much offended.

You f-ing tarts haven't realized/ read that Pakistan Army has lost more than 500 soldiers in the war on terrorism fighting foreign and local jihadis in the NWFP province bordering Afghanistan.

We have captured more al-qaeda terrorists than any other country. All of them have been handed to the US.

If you tarts cannot find al-zarqawi in a country you own, how do yo expect Pakistanis to find OBL?

The only reason Afghanistan is doing better than Iraq is BECAUSE OF PAKISTAN.

We have a democratically elected government with an assembly and a senate. Even Musharraf had to get a vote of confidence from the people to remain in power. There are democratically elected local bodies running government at the street level. How more democratic can you get?

The talk of invading pakistan is nuts - a country of 160 million people, an active army of half a million, with more than a million reserves, long-range ballistic missiles (more than 3000 km) capabale of carrying nukes, deep water submarines capable of carrying nuke-tipped missiles, long range fighter aircrafts again capable of carrying nukes....

what the hell are you guys thinking?

Posted by: sherry on February 25, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

Aaron Aardvark: "All we hear from them is delusional happy talk like they're in the throes of some kind of psychosis episode. They're obviously dissociated from reality. They can never admit even the smallest error, let alone that they've committed the biggest foreign policy screw up in American history."

Psychosis is a very apt term. I haven't been able to keep up with the WM and all the threads lately. Has there been any discussion about the profoundly offensive--even psychotic--ad that aired in Minnesota during the Olympics??

Paid for by the conservative Progress for America Voter Fund, it features an Iraq vet who claims that ""You'd never know it from the news reports, but our enemy in Iraq is al-Qaida, the same terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on 9-11, the same terrorists from the first World Trade Center bombing, the USS Cole, Madrid, London and many more.""

Jeeze, they are still fantasizing that Iraq was involved in 9/11: We're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here. We are winning, but the liberal media only reports the bad news--the bombing of the mosque, the lack of trained Iraqi soldiers, the daylight curfew.

Meanwhile, even the used-to-be-fringe-right William F Buckley is arguing that we have failed in Iraq.

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 25, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

think about this. 8 billion went missing in iraq, cash money, under bremer
8 billion.

that can buy alot of Beer and pink flamingos for the trailer lot

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on February 25, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

WoooOOoo!!!
Heckuva Jobb

Duhh B Yew!

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on February 25, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

But you support the troops right?

Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

sherry, well said. You are, however accusing the lefties of something they don't normally do: think. They are completely reactionary and the first thoughts that usually enter those little wooden heads are how can they make the conservatives look bad on this issue, completely void of any objectivity. The second thought then turns to political posturing, again without any regard to anyone other themselves. From there then cerebral process breaks down. So keep that in mind when addressing them, type slow and try to be monosyllabic. Just trying to help out.

Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Are we just guaranteeing a more efficient civil war?

That's always been a secondary goal. Given that we've ALWAYS known that the "Iraqi Army" was just various sectarian militias with a unified designation system, the primary motive could only have been to train them to more effectively fight Americans. (Or unmatched stupidity, or treason.) That's why there's always been foot-dragging on the part of our military in supplying the Iraqi Army with the heavier-duty weapons. Those guys deserve a medal, and a raise.


Posted by: jim p on February 25, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Sherry, please maybe I missed something but who is talking about invading Pakistan? I will admit that I personally have wondered if there is a plan using airpower and/or special forces to secure/destroy the Pakistani nuclear devices in the event that the government of President Musharraf is violently deposed by an Islamic fundamentalist revolution. Such a plan may even have, and may even require for all I know, the aid of Musharraf and government loyalists.

But no one with more than 2 working brain cells (and this excludes the Neocons by default) would want to invade Pakistan. That would be the height of insanity. And not just for the military reasons listed above, or because the US military is just not in any position to do such a mission. Pakistan right now represents our best case scenario for change in the region: an incremental development of the instutions of law and order, a court system and representative democracy based on internal forces. These cannot be created at the point of a gun by a foreign occupying power because it would lack any credibility. The idea of democracy as a form of government is that it rests on the consent of the governed. If you need a case study, just look at Iraq.

Plus with the current amateurs and morons running our executive branch, who would trust them not to completely screw it up?

Posted by: clyde on February 25, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Are we just guaranteeing a more efficient civil war?

That's always been a secondary goal. Given that we've ALWAYS known that the "Iraqi Army" was just various sectarian militias with a unified designation system, the primary motive could only have been to train them to more effectively fight Americans. (Or unmatched stupidity, or treason.) That's why there's always been foot-dragging on the part of our military in supplying the Iraqi Army with the heavier-duty weapons. Those guys deserve a medal, and a raise.


Posted by: jim p on February 25, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Just more bull to drag it out.
We manage to train our troops
in boot camp that takes 6 weeks.
We have the finest Military in
the world. Then comes some know
it all GOP run war machine and we can
not manage to get any Iraq troops
trained in 4 years. What a nasty
Joke this has turned out to be.
Maybe if Halliburtion had not set
straight to building Billion dollar
Permenent US military bases. While
our troops did not have adaquate
armer. We might have got some Iraq
troops trained in the same 6 weeks
it takes to train ours. Don't kid
yourself we are there to stay.
Our Rich thieveing leaders have
not stole enough from the tax paying
public yet. War is good for Business.
And we are staying for a very long time.

Posted by: Honey P on February 26, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Sherry,

What are you talking about? What earlier blogs? Who the hell is talking about invading Pakistan? And what the hell is a tart?

Posted by: brent on February 26, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Honey P: Don't see that we have the ability to stay for more than a few months. Iraqi Shi'a are sick of us, from what I've read, their factions vying for control through fanning the public's hatred of the Occupation.

If Iraqis are uniting over anything, it's that the occupation is a problem for them, and hasn't fulfilled it's obligations under law. We're out Sept 06, and completely, at the latest. No way to stop it without genocide on our part.

Posted by: jim p on February 26, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

"I suspect it's fairly easy to fudge the difference between level 2 and level 3, but you can't do that with level 1"

Well, if fudging won't work how about just lying?


Posted by: Ross Best on February 26, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Once again the anti-midas touch strikes: The neocons told us that we had to "stay the course" because if we left the bad guys would say we were weak. Now we are in a loose/loose situation: if we stay all the problems will be our fault because they happened when the US was running the show, if we leave they will claim that we abandoned them after setting in motion the collapse of thier country. And the really pathetic part is they would be at least partly right. Thank you, Mr President

Posted by: clyde on February 26, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

WooooOOoo!
KablaaaMMmM!!
gots me a newsum Kamera
wunder if george is got one?

juju Empire Camera Jr. Spy Instructions
http://www.backfire.dk/EMPIRENORTH/newsite/products_en002_instructions.htm

Unfeckin Believable
JuJu jr Spy Camera (program?) and its instruction on how to use with homeland securityo

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on February 26, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

yo kan anyone heer read? sos you can read me that book about Kameras?
Yew kno that guy OrWellia
in 1984,,

oranges n lemons
say the bells O' st. clemens

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on February 26, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Education and training is never a bad idea, even a military education.

ANd, yes, everyone is talking about a withdrawal schedule.

Posted by: Matt on February 26, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

jim p

apparently you have forgotten how
arrogant and greedy our leaders are.
You also seem to be optamistic that
they care about the lives of our
troops. Please note I do not feel
Mr Bush will allow our troops to
come home. It will take the election
of a better man than him to begin
the withdraw. The rest of us see as
long over due. Remember he took us
to war with lies for greed. He is
to greedy to leave before we see
through the lies and call him on
them. I pray God is watching out
for our troops because our fearless
leader is not. Oh and if the next
President happens to be Democrat
it will be his fault for loseing
this war and raiseing taxes to
pay the bill for this mess.

Posted by: Honey P on February 26, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

See a giant list of Political Comics

http://www.thehollywoodliberal.com/comic_feature_links.htm

Posted by: jackrocker999 on February 26, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

Bush talks to Iraqi leaders, I publish a portion of the transcript:

Muqtada al-Sadr: The mahdi army stnds ready to defend Iran and repulse the infidels!

Bush: Shazaaam!

Muqtada al-Sadr: The army of the occupier brings terrorism to the loyal and faithful Iraqi people, we stand united.

Bush: Holy cow, hey, got any oil?

Muqtada al-Sadr: Faithful Shia stand in unity with our Sunni bretheren and condemn the attacks on our mosques (except when we do them ourselves)

Bush: I like that towel hat, can I get one?

Posted by: Matt on February 26, 2006 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK

Without getting all sarcastic 'n everything, I note that Mr. Drum's first point essentially negates itself (it's no more difficult -- or easier to fudge level 1 to level 2, than level 2 to level 3), but the second requires actual analysis. And it would be nice to see him, or any of his critics, do the latter.

But, of course, I'm too lazy to do that. I will, however, note that my dog is at least as athletic as the AFL-CIO's. If only I can get a decent picture....

Posted by: Shelby on February 26, 2006 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

General Pace has pointed out that even the US Marines would rate a 2 on this scale.

But hey, if it sounds bad, and you're ignorant and you know you can rely upon your followers' ignorance, well, run with it.

Posted by: am on February 26, 2006 at 6:29 AM | PERMALINK

What a bunch of nonsense - Level 1, Level 2, blah, blah, blah... Karl Rove propaganda and nothing else. No American should believe a single word this Administration speaks or writes.

This occupation is a collosal failure and Iraq is fracturing into it's pre-WWI factions.

"What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder..."

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 26, 2006 at 7:23 AM | PERMALINK

"General Pace has pointed out that even the US Marines would rate a 2 on this scale."

Since the US Marines being at level 2 would mean that the US Marines require support from US troops, I'm left wondering:What's your point, am? That when the US Marines stand up, the US troops will stand down? When enough US Marines reach level 1, we can start pulling out US Troops? WTF?

Moron.

Posted by: Joel on February 26, 2006 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

The big question is this:
Will we ever trust the Iraqis enough to leave them the equipment they will need to not require the support of the US? I am thinking heavy tanks, artillery, helicopters and fighter aircraft. If not, then we either stay there forever or get the hell out. Forget the level numbers, do we now and will we ever trust them?

Posted by: lou on February 26, 2006 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

I came over here in a fairly grim mood, so thanks for this.

First smile of the day.

Bush: I like that towel hat, can I get one?
Posted by: Matt

The Catch of the Day or quotation du jour:

Intelligence is not to make no mistakes, but quickly to see how to make them good.
- Bertolt Brecht

Posted by: CFShep on February 26, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

The Mongols used an army supported by Persian Shiites to slaughter the Sunni in Baghdad -- leading to their firm control of the city for nearly 80 years.

Posted by: tbrosz

We covered this already. That was in 1253. Move on.

Posted by: CFShep on February 26, 2006 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

"Forget the level numbers, do we now and will we ever trust them?"

I think that's what the level numbers tell you. What they tell me is that we do not trust them now. Will we ever trust them? Dunno. Where do I find the crystal ball?

Posted by: Joel on February 26, 2006 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

It seem awfully convenient not to have these Iraqi troops ready. Without them being ready we simply cant leave - and that is the position of every war monger in Congress. Did it ever occur to anyone that we aren't trying very hard to get these troops ready? - because that might thwart the plans for longer term troop placement in the area.

Posted by: jman on February 26, 2006 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

"General Pace has pointed out that even the US Marines would rate a 2 on this scale."

am, interesting info. But I'm not sure if this is real or maybe taken out of context. After all, who should train the iraqis if even the US elite are only at level 2? There's obviously something wrong with this picture. I googled, but couldn't find it. Pls provide a link.

Posted by: Gray on February 26, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

"Forget the level numbers, do we now and will we ever trust them?"

That's the main question, and it might be the reason behind the stalled progress. After all, the definition clearly states that a lvl 1 iraqi batallion would be able to fight US troops. Is it possible that the US trainers are sabotaging the process because of fear they might be creating a monster?

Posted by: Gray on February 26, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

"Is it possible that the US trainers are sabotaging the process because of fear they might be creating a monster?"

We are sabotaging the process because Bush has no intentions of pulling out in the near term. Why dont people face this obvious fact? This administrations has Syria and Iran in their sights not to mention oil.

Posted by: jman on February 26, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Is it possible that Murtha and Bush are on the same track?

We pull our support back to "safe" bases, providing only heavy air and armored support while the Iraqis fight it out on the streets w/AK47s, RPGs and IEDs. Why the hell are Americans still getting blown up by IEDs?

Posted by: lou on February 26, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

If 53 battalions of Iraqis are at level 2, and our Marines are at level 2, why aren't 53 battalions of Marines on their way home?

Posted by: John West on February 26, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

"theorcrat's private armies"

And what is the training level for the Falwell-Robertson "Fighting Libertarian Zoaves"?

But of course, no Vivandiers or Cantoniers will be allowed - Wouldn't want the Generalissimo George saying, "Private Madelaine, you're doing a heckuva job"

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 26, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Eventually, most of the world is gonna end up looking like South Central LA. Our troops will circle overhead in fantastically expensive surveillance/interdiction machines, while down in the bitter impoverished streets, the swarthy inhabitants fight out the battles we've divide-and-ruled them into. Occasionally, we'll swoop in to kill or spirit away whoever we decide poses an unacceptable menace, which may or may not actually be the "right" guys. It'll all be really neat and clean for us. Too bad for the poor kids who have to grow up in the societies our troops are hovering over.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 26, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

"why aren't 53 battalions of [Level 2] Marines on their way home?"

We don't have enough level one troops to transport them home?

"Too bad for the poor kids who have to grow up in the societies our troops are hovering over."

Hopefully not those airborne guys doing the sex videos.

I can see it now. I am out in the garden with my three pot plants, I hear a drone, the last thing I see is the remote control airplane launching one.

-----------------------------------

If we take this level stuff to the extreme, we would have to handicap various armies, like golf, you know. According to your handicap, you could request some portion of NATO forces to fill in, sort of even the battles around the world. Make an Olympic sport of it.

Posted by: Matt on February 26, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, there is a pretty significant difference between level 3 and level 2. At level 2, the only support required is logistical. At level 3, we can't put them on the battlefield without U.S. troops alongside.

Which does not mean that you can't fudge the numbers, of course; to determine precisely what level units are at it would be necessary to actually run through unit experience and see which Iraqi battalions have actually been committed to the battlefield without U.S. tactical support. It is a more complicated question than it might seem at first glance.

Your question remains a good one. If we have 17 more Iraqi battalions at level 2 now, what does this mean for U.S. troops on the ground? Are there plans to bring them home? Are there plans to use them elsewhere? It is possible that U.S. troops are being held as a reserve in case the roof falls in, or that they are being used to try to better secure the borders. It's also possible the situation is deteriorating or stagnating and we don't dare pull the troops out yet. Whatever it is, there ought to be some answer to the question.

Posted by: Andrew on February 26, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

That's the main question, and it might be the reason behind the stalled progress. After all, the definition clearly states that a lvl 1 iraqi batallion would be able to fight US troops. Is it possible that the US trainers are sabotaging the process because of fear they might be creating a monster?

Partly, yeah. One reason we're not providing advanced weaponry and heavy armor to the Iraqi Army is the quite-reasonable fear that it may actually be used against us in a year or two. Considering that the IA is really only a collection of rival private armies, any US military planner has to consider that the tank he provides to it one day may be driven by the Mahdi Army the next, or that the Stingers may be handed right over to Zarqawi.

The result, therefore, is an Iraqi "Army" without armored vehicles, tanks, artillery, attack helicopters, fighter jets, submarines, destroyers, cruisers, etc. -- in short, an army unable to operate on a modern field of battle and unable to protect itself against its neighbors, an army totally dependent on us. And worse, not only do they not have such equipment, but even if we gave it to them they have no-one trained to use it -- no real fighter or helicopter pilots or tankmen or submariners.

But wait, it gets worse -- as Napoleon said, an army fights and dies on its stomach. The Iraqi "Army" as we've constructed it has no logistics to speak of, no real quartermaster corps, no transport trucks or heavy transport helicopters or transport trains. It has no working, non-corrupt, unified structure to supply its own men with food, clothes, ammunition and general supplies -- we've made it totally dependent on outsourced Western contractors such as Halliburton if it wants to feed itself.

All we've managed to "train" in three years, therefore, is a few thousand riflemen -- and a few thousand riflemen isn't an army, it's a glorified street gang.

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

But, Stefan, think of the increase in sales of Toyota 4X4s. Whose Republican brother-in-law has the dealership?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 26, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

There is little doubt that the Bush administration is responsible for the recent mosque destruction, through CIA operatives, and allowing the situation to deteriorate in Iraq.

It is the only way they can continue to justify staying in Iraq and keeping Americans on edge so as to justify continued erosion of civil liberties and to further their policy of fear-mongering politics.

The more instability in the world, the more it plays into their only political cards, fear, fear, fear.

The GOP is losing on every front, so they will continue to destroy peace around the world in order to sell their message of "we must be kept in power to keep the peace."

In fact, the GOP is responsible for virtually all of the violence worldwide - it is the result of years of irresponsible conservative foreign policy that says to people around the world: here is your choice - be our slaves or be our enemies.

Posted by: Bush Bites on February 26, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

It takes 6 weeks to train our troops
It is called Basic Training.
Not haveing Iraq troops trained
Is called convenient for the long
term plan.

Posted by: Honey P on February 26, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I find it quite strange that everyone keeps talking about Iraq lurching "towards" Civil War. To my mind, Iraq is already deeply in the throes of a Civil War. In some ways, this is a matter of semantics, of course. But look, you're never going to see huge set-piece battles in Kirkuk between organized, uniformed Shia and Sunni troops. There ain't going to be any Picketts Charge or Siege of Petersburg in the deserts of Iraq. That's just not how modern wars look, civil or otherwise. There is also usually not a clear start to modern wars, nor a clear end: no Sumter or Appomattox.

But that doesn't mean that Iraq is not already in a state of Civil War. Elsewhere in the world, there is little doubt that the level and type of violence occuring in Iraq now would already be labelled a "Civil War".

If there is (as all media outlets regularly assert) currently a "Civil War" in Nepal, or Uganda, or Colombia, then there is certainly a "Civil War" in Iraq. Why keep saying that we are "lurching" towards a situation that we are in fact already in? I would really like to ask some of these reporters what they consider the threshold for "Civil War" to be in the case of Iraq.

Posted by: kokblok on February 26, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Notice Bill Buckley is calling the Iraq war a defeat, sort of reasserting control over his movement. Bill let the big government conservatives have a run, and it is time to go back to basics.

http://www.nationalreview.com/buckley/buckley200602241451.asp

Posted by: Matt on February 26, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

I find it quite strange that everyone keeps talking about Iraq lurching "towards" Civil War. To my mind, Iraq is already deeply in the throes of a Civil War.

Well, some people talk about Iraq being in a low-intensity civil war at the moment, which could devolve into something much more deadly. That sounds about right. At the moment, the militias aren't actually fighting each other all-out for control of cities. If/when that starts, you're going to see thousands of civilian casualties and ethnic cleansing in Baghdad, and what's going on right now will look tame in retrospect.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 26, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Tangent

William Kristol, the face not worth saving saver, has put his Vietnam Redux in a row recently, saying that the US effort in Iraq has not been "serious".

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 26, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

That Russian commentary on numbers of Iraqi troops available was an absolute hoot. You have to wonder why no Westerner picked up on it : no Free Press ?
Lou's 9:46 post reads what I think most likely - withdrawal to "safe" areas. That's leaving without actually going home ; good progress ?
But the theocrats have been proffering the olive branch after mosque bombings. Perhaps the real representatives of the Iraqi people will find the traction to shape their world one of these days ( I didn't say who ).

Posted by: opit on February 26, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

And there is no denying (to a sane person) that Iraq is more disordered than at any time since we went in. Closer to civil war, more corrupt, more dangerous, more sectarian strife.

Probably it was worse about 1 1/2 years ago. That was when Fallujah was at its worst. As the time has passed, the insurgents have attacked targets that are increasingly less well-defended, and they have gotten progressively less support from within the areas where they receive their greatest support. The phrase "civil war" covers a lot of things; the most likely outcome, on the basis of evidence to date, is that Sunnis and Shi'ites will stop living in integrated neighborhoods: where Sunnis predominate, the few remaining Shi'ites will leave, and where Shi'ites predominate, the few remaing Sunnis will leave. It could be necessary to build barriers like the DMZ in Korea or the wall that separates Greeks from Turks in Cyprus.

It is interesting that the Sunni and Shi'ite clerics have united in their calls for ends to Mulsim on Muslim violence (and Iraqi on Iraqi violence), and their moral authority counts for less than the nominal authority of the elected government. It seems to be well-appreciated by almost all Iraqis that the attacks on mosques are instigated by small numbers of people who represent no large faction in Iraq [though there are small numbers who seem to believe that the attacks are by US and Israeli agents.]

The number of possible outcomes, with many historical and contemporary parallels, is vast. To me, it seems that most of the thinking on this post is narrow; everything different from the US domination and guidance of Japan post WWII is portrayed as necessarily ghastly, like the partition of India after the British left. But there are plenty of examples [like the partition of Cyprus] of less violent separations.

Prior to OIF, evidence of criminality and corruption in Iraq was suppressed; criminal gangs shared their lootings with the Baath party, which had little interest in promoting the wealth of the nation as long as they retained political power. If there is a scale of thuggishness for such arrangements, Iraq was probably less thuggish than Haiti, more thuggish than the Philippines under Marcos. Now the criminality is more widely reported, but it hasn't increased in scope. According to the latest briefing on Iraq from the Brookings Institution, gdp per person in Iraq is up over 25% since the invasion, and growing at about 6% per annum. This is possible because the violence is largely confined to a small region of the nation. Baghdad, a city of about 6-7 million, has about the same murder rate as Washington, DC or New Orleans, LA. Not enviable, but not necessarily a precursor to civil war. The US in the year just prior to the Civil War was considerably more violent, with censorship of speech and press in the South enforced through lynching; and the whole "bleeding Kansas" civil war.

Posted by: republicrat on February 26, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

And you cannot have a civil war without good lyrics!

A wish I were a Shia, Allah! Allah!
Belt bombs there are not forgotten
See Iran, see Iran, see Iran in Shia land

To Shia land I'll take my band
To live and die a Shia
Away, away, away down south a shia

Posted by: Matt on February 26, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

The Mongols used an army supported by Persian Shiites to slaughter the Sunni in Baghdad -- leading to their firm control of the city for nearly 80 years. It's time to choose sides. If we're not willing to play different sects off of each other and threaten Iraq with Hulagu-style destruction maybe we're just not capable of maintaining an empire. --Posted by: tbrosz on February 25, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Is that what you were writing on February 25, 2003, tbrosz? I bet it was something different, wasn't it?

Posted by: derek on February 26, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

kokblok: I find it quite strange that everyone keeps talking about Iraq lurching "towards" Civil War... I would really like to ask some of these reporters what they consider the threshold for "Civil War" to be in the case of Iraq."

You make an excellent point. What IS the threshold for a civil war? At what point is the daily body count high enough?? How many daily incidents of violence does it take? How many kidnapped and executed corpses does it take? And how about the government--when do we declare the government a failure?

George Bush. Not just the worst American president ever, he is a contender for the top 100 worst leaders in all history.

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 26, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Sistani calling for Shiia militias shows the utter failure of the American occupation. It's blowing up in Bush's face and we're the losers in this fiasco.

Something tells me tbrosz's little hands must be sore from clapping so loudly for the Dear Leader for so long. Posted by: Casting Director

No doubt they are chapped and calloused from working Dear Leader's mighty member
Amazing. I've apparently become a research project for somebody out there.Posted by: tbrosz

Becoming a laughing stock is not generally considered to be great career recognition, but then in the topsy-turvy world of Bushland where failure is success, up is down, slavery is freedom, war is peace, dark is light, and ignorance is marketable, you may stand proud.
Sherry, what are you talking about? Posted by: brent

Sherry is Jay's own personal sock puppette.
It could be necessary to build barriers like the DMZ in Korea or the wall that separates Greeks from Turks in Cyprus. Posted by: republicrat

Such ethnic cleansing is not a viable option in that Turkey will not accept a Kurdistan, the Sunnis will not accept being shut out of oil revenues and the Saudis probably will not accept a union between Iran and the Shia dominated oil-rich areas of Iraq. This was a failure foretold in Gulf I and by many State Department experts, but ignored by ignorant ideology driven neo-Cons and Cheney/Bush.
The problem with excusing the current state of corruption in Iraq is American control. Iraq resources are being diverted to Republican supporting groups and companies.
contender for the top 100 worst leaders in all history.Posted by: PTate in MN

I would say he's definitely in the top 10 because his errors are errors of ignorance brought about by refusing to listen to people with actual knowledge or experience.

Posted by: Mike on February 26, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

PTateinMN:

I addressed this the other day: in the US civil war, with a population of 33 million, the average rate of death was 300+ per day for the duration.

I'll add: The central army fell apart, and the Union and Confederate armies were made up of militias raised by the states, each with a small core of professionals. the Spanish civil war was on the whole more horrific and destructive, but the Greek civil war after WWII less so. The Russian civil war of 1918-1922, and the Chinese civil war post WWII were even more destructive, each leading to widespread starvation.

The Swiss civil war of 1850, which resulted in restored unity, was less severe. The separations of "Czecho" from "Slovakia", and of Russia from Belarus, Ukraine, and the "stans" had much less violence than the contemporaneous separation of Yugoslavia into its multiple parts.

there are all kinds of "civil" wars. The French Revolution resulted in civil war followed by 20 years of a military dictatorship. Not that I think such would be a good development in Iraq, but nothing like the tumbrils of the Committee for Public Safety are there, following the overthrow of a dictator considerably more brutal than the French monarchy.

Posted by: republicrat on February 26, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Reading through the comments on this post I get the feeling that a lot of people still don't get it.

Our military can defeat an army in the field. Our military can take any city, neighborhood or particular piece of real estate in Iraq.

What our army cannot do is provide security in Iraq and build a democracy. We will be targets forever.

For many years prior to September 11, 2001, some of us heard Muslim voices loud and clear, and I am not talking about just radicals or terrorists. I'm talking about most all of them except for a tiny number that belong to extremely rich and ruling families. They told us that they would never accept two specific things: U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia or the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Who thinks they will ever accept U. S. troops in Iraq? Foolish people.

Perhaps we can occupy Iraq for decades if we have the will. I doubt it, but I dont pretend to know the answer for sure. But I firmly believe that we will be a priority target for as long as we are there. We cant bring peace to the region via our military. Weve got to get out.

We can try to work through the United Nations and do any number of things in conjunction with the international community, but weve got to get out in the near future.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 26, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Baghdad, a city of about 6-7 million, has about the same murder rate as Washington, DC or New Orleans, LA. Not enviable, but not necessarily a precursor to civil war.

I do so wish these people would stop lying through their teeth:

From the August 22, 2005 Christian Science Monitor by Dan Murphy:

"The spreadsheets in Dr. Faad Ameen Bakr's computer shed some light on the casualty rate. Baghdad's chief pathologist pulls down the death toll for Iraq's capital in July: 1,083 murders, a new record.

"Under Saddam Hussein, Baghdad was a violent city. But the highest murder rate before the war was 250 in one month. (By comparison, New York City with about 2 million more residents, had 572 murders in 2004, and a peak of 2,245 in 1990).

"The month of June, with 870 murders, was the previous record in Baghdad. In a weary monotone, Dr. Bakr explains that 680 of the victims were shot, the rest 'strangled, electrocuted, stabbed, killed by blunt trauma or burned to death.' The totals don't include residents killed by Baghdad's frequent car-bombings."

From November 19, 2004 "Iraq and Damned Statistics" by Prof. Juan Cole:

"The London Times reports that nearly 700 persons die under suspicious circumstances (most of them from bullet wounds) every month in Baghdad. These are not, at least mainly, victims of the guerrilla war. They are mostly victims of crime or revenge. I figure that as 8,400 murders a year in a city of 5 million, or 168 per 100,000 per annum. The highest murder rate in the U.S. for 2003 was 45.8 per 100,000, in Washington, D.C., with Detroit coming in second. That is, Baghdad is nearly four times as dangerous as the most dangerous American cities, more than a year and a half after the fall of Saddam.

Ergo, Baghdad in one month has more murders (again, not counting car bombings) than a city like NY or DC has in one year.

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

If Iraq is so safe then why is republicrat over here? Can't we all chip in to buy him a ticket to Baghdad, where he can spend his days painting schools, merrily whistling a happy tune as he spreads his paint roller over the blood-spattered and bullet-pocked walls?

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

This is possible because the violence is largely confined to a small region of the nation.

From Juan Cole's "Top Ten Myths About Iraq in 2005"

1. "The guerrilla war is being waged only in four provinces." This canard is trotted out by everyone from think tank flacks to US generals, and it is shameful. Iraq has 18 provinces, but some of them are lightly populated. The most populous province is Baghdad, which has some 6 million residents, or nearly one-fourth of the entire population of the country. It also contains the capital. It is one of the four being mentioned!. Another of the four, Ninevah province, has a population of some 1.8 million and contains Mosul, a city of over a million and the country's third largest! It is not clear what other two provinces are being referred to, but they are probably Salahuddin and Anbar provinces, other big centers of guerrilla activity, bring the total for the "only four provinces" to something like 10 million of Iraq's 26 million people.

But the "four provinces" allegation is misleading on another level. It is simply false. Guerrilla attacks occur routinely beyong the confines of Anbar, Salahuddin, Ninevah and Baghdad. Diyala province is a big center of the guerrilla movement and has witnessed thousands of deaths in the ongoing unconventional war. Babil province just south of Baghdad is a major center of back alley warfare between Sunnis and Shiites and attacks on Coalition troops. Attacks, assassinations and bombings are routine in Kirkuk province in the north, a volatile mixture of Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs engaged in a subterranean battle for dominance of the area's oil fields. So that is 7 provinces, and certainly half the population of the country lives in these 7, which are daily affected by the ongoing violence. It is true that violence is rare in the 3 northern provinces of the Kurdistan confederacy. And the Shiite south is much less violent than the 7 provinces of the center-north, on a good day. But some of this calm in the south is an illusion deriving from poor on the ground reporting. It appears to be the case that British troops are engaged in an ongoing struggle with guerrilla forces of the Marsh Arabs in Maysan Province. Even calm is not always a good sign. The southern port city of Basra appears to come by its via a reign of terror by Shiite religious militias.

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Something tells me tbrosz's little hands must be sore from clapping so loudly for the Dear Leader for so long.

Posted by: Casting Director on February 25, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Is that what he calls it now?

tbrosz is very unZen -- but what IS the sound of one hand clapping?

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 26, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

ALSO, Did anyone catch Senator Warner lying about the state of Iraqi troop capability on Meet the Press this morning?

Mere days after the Pentagon reports a reduction in Iraqi Army readiness, Warner comes out and brags about how 'things ah lookin bettah.'

What a reckless idiot.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 26, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

As Juan Cole and others have pointed out, people keep comparing apples to oranges re: the murder rate in Iraq/Baghdad vs. the murder rate in America/whatever city.

For example, sometimes they compare murders in Washington D.C. to military casualties in Baghdad, but they fail to realize that they have not counted the murders by civilians in Baghdad. You have to count all the murders (or violent deaths) in each city or area if you want to compare apples to apples and figure out which is the most dangerous.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 26, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

There is a paradox about the claim that Iraq is so safe: why are our national resources spent there instead of here if Iraq is so safe?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 26, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

What would be the murder rate in Wash.DC if there were only 3 1/2 to 5 hours of electricity per day say in July? That's what Baghdad averaged in 2005.
The insurgents attack infrastructure more often than people. That's why oil production remains well beneath pre-war levels,why electricity demand is well above supply. They blow up towers,pipelines,transformers etc.
It's not so much how many attacks in each province but what the target is. These guys aren't stupid.

Posted by: TJM on February 26, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Here is where republic rat may have got his talking point about DC murder rates:

Baghdad's Murder Rate Distorted By John R. Lott, Jr.
http://www.tsra.com/Lott91.htm#John%20Lott

For those who may not be aware of Lott's history, he is the guy who poised as a woman(Mary Rosh) to praise his own research on the the web. He is also the one whose dog "ate" all of raw data for a survey that he claimed showed that gun ownership reduces crime.

For details about Lott: http://timlambert.org/lott/

If Lott were correct that widespread gun possession lowers crime then Baghdad should be the safest city in the world.

Posted by: arkie on February 26, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

The French Revolution resulted in civil war followed by 20 years of a military dictatorship. Not that I think such would be a good development in Iraq, but nothing like the tumbrils of the Committee for Public Safety are there, following the overthrow of a dictator considerably more brutal than the French monarchy.
When, recently in Iraq, we have seen those "dressed as policemen" (a denial of reality I particularly enjoy) destroy one of Iraq's mnost holy places, more people "dressed as policemen" dragging Iraqis from their homes and disappearing them, and torture victims in the basement of the Iraqi Interior Ministry, just HOW different from post-Revolutionary France can we argue this is? Minus the army of occupation, that is. I'm sure THEY make it all better.

Posted by: Daddy Love on February 26, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, thanks for your statistics. However, the following is absurd: "Under Saddam Hussein, Baghdad was a violent city. But the highest murder rate before the war was 250 in one month.


If Iraq is so safe then why is republicrat over here? for the same reason that republicrat is not in DC or New Orleans. republicrat is also not in Minnesota or South Carolina.

I am surprised to learn that the murder rate, all told,is 4 times as high in Baghdad as in Washington, DC. It would appear from the statistics that more people are dying of murder than of combat casualties. Is that so?

Posted by: republicrat on February 26, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

another view:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/25/AR2006022501738_pf.html

It's an emotional roller-coaster, like battling leukemia or TB. Some cases get well, some don't. It could be like HIV, with a need for perpetual daily medication.

Let's see: I have compared the "civil war" in Iraq to some other civil wars, to a fungus [consider aspergillus], to leukemia, TB, and HIV. Others have mentioned the campaign against Emilliano Aquinaldo, and the campaign against the Sandinistas (another civil war.) How about the war against the "shining Path" guerillas, or the civil war in Colombia? I also mentioned the civil war in Indonesia. There is a great variety in these examples.

Posted by: republicrat on February 26, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

"How about the war against the "shining Path" guerillas, or the civil war in Colombia? I also mentioned the civil war in Indonesia. There is a great variety in these examples."

Good point, republicrat. The US should pull out of all those countries . . . oh, wait . . . nevermind.

Posted by: Joel on February 26, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Joel, nevermind?

If I remember correctly, the US military did help to defeat the Shining Path. And is involved in supporting the elected Colombian government against the FARC, and may have assisted the rightist Indonesians to defeat the leftist Indonesians (this is murkey.) When you next have the floor, do you want to make a point? My point is that the current mayhem has no particular implication, at least not an obvious implication.

During the US civil war, the New York city riots occurred within a few weeks of the Battle of Gettysburg, and had no particular effect on the progress of the war. Throughout the US Civil War the state of Missouri was in nearly continuous chaos, and the chaos continued after the war ended, but it had almost no effect on the outcome of the war (indeed, the chaos in MO was much more serious than the chaos in NYCity, lasting much longer and resulting in more death and property damage.) Nathaniel Banks' 1864 Red River campaign was a disaster for the Union, but the Union won in the end.

There is certainly a non-negligible chance that, shortly after the withdrawal of American forces, there is a series of civil wars among the nations whose boundaries were drawn by France and Britain after WWI, and that the only remaining democracy will be Israel, but it is not inevitable and the current news (taken altogether) doesn't make it seem inevitable to me.

There is also a non-negilible chance that Europe will be overwhelmed by illiberal Islam in the next few decades, but that isn't inevitiable either.

Posted by: republicrat on February 26, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

I am surprised to learn that the murder rate, all told,is 4 times as high in Baghdad as in Washington, DC.

Well, the fact that multiple car bombs aren't going off every day througout DC probably has something to do with it. But seriously, why would you be surprised? Baghdad is in the middle of an ongoing war, whereas DC is not.

It would appear from the statistics that more people are dying of murder than of combat casualties. Is that so?

Hard to say, honestly, due to the fact that (i) not all deaths are reported (the rebels, of course, don't report their dead) and (ii) there's a problem of classification. Is a death due to car bomb, for example, a murder or a combat casualty? What about an Iraqi family shot dead at a checkpoint by a US soldier -- the Iraqis would undoubtedly list it as murder, but would the US?

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

The French Revolution resulted in civil war followed by 20 years of a military dictatorship. - Republicrat

Latest GOP Iraq meme: not as bad as the French Revolution?

New Improved GOP - now with talking points so weird, even the base can't understand them!

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 26, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the fact that multiple car bombs aren't going off every day througout DC probably has something to do with it.

Stefan, your own cites above pointed out that the murder rates didn't include car bomb fatalities.

The reason why the murder rate in Baghdad is a multiple of that in DC is obvious: there is no civil authority recognized as legitimate, and the government is a. weak, nascent and divided and b. has its hands so full trying to achieve basic things like military security and electricity that it can barely handle tasks like investigating murders. I thought conservatives believed in the "broken windows" theory of policing? Just imagine how many broken windows there are in Baghdad!

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 26, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like 19th century Los Angeles. In a hundred years Baghdad could be the world center of movie making, high speed car chases, freeway shootings, and bikini clad surfers.

The typical mid-nineteenth-century Angeleno lived in a place rife with homicides in both the Mexican and American eras. Some-times the victims were limited to particular social groups, and most of the time they were men. But whether or not one was at risk, one had to know that violence was common and tolerated. The city, its surrounding hamlets, and the rural countryside were all places with little government, weak law enforcement, high transiency, anonymity, and, apparently, elite tolerance of violence.19The four decades from 1830 to 1870 set a record for homicides and a template for tolerating violence that persisted through the twentieth century. Recently, there have been some changes, but the city and its surrounding urban region still invest far less in homicide suppression than do other places. Violence rates moderated downward but still remained high in the 1880s. By the turn of the century the rate had dropped to about 10 per 100,000, near the current rate. Was the West homicidally violent? Certainly Los Angeles was. This research note fills in a part of the puzzling landscape of Western violence. Much more work needs to be done: The legacy is troubling.

caliber.ucpress.net/doi/pdf/10.1525/phr.2005.74.4.603

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 26, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, your own cites above pointed out that the murder rates didn't include car bomb fatalities.

Yeah, it was a joke (of a sort). That's why I said "but seriously" right afterwards.

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

No offense, but if its only 4 times that of Washington D.C. and its a war zone...what the fuck is wrong with Washington D.C.?

Posted by: McA on February 27, 2006 at 6:04 AM | PERMALINK

I'd point out that the 'declining murder rates' about which the MSM has recently made such a fuss about do not in any shape or form reflect a diminishing level of violent crime.

We'd have to leave out Houston in any case since that seems to be where a significant fraction of New Orleans criminals have taken up new residence if not a new livihood.

It's the fact that 'advances' in medical treatment can now 'save'(after a fashion) so many victims who would would have died from serious penetrating injuries just a very few years ago. Those people don't count in the murder rate.

Mortality rates in combat in Iraq? Same-same.

Posted by: CFShep on February 27, 2006 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

McAnus: No offense, but if its only 4 times that of Washington D.C. and its a war zone...what the fuck is wrong with Washington D.C.?

What the f*ck is wrong with McAnus who doesn't think four times is a big jump?

Oh, that's right, McAnus lives in a delusional world.

Nevermind.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 27, 2006 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if McAnus would think that a 4 times in number of 9/11 attacks would be just a small difference?

Or a 4 times jump in breast cancer rates?

Or a 4 times jump in auto accident deaths?

Or a 4 times jump in number of times McA, Bush's inveterate b*tch, gets buggered by the Boy King?

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 27, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

McAnus: . . ....what the fuck is wrong with Washington D.C.?

We understand why the Right thinks there is something wrong with D.C. and why it is always obsessing with D.C.'s shortcomings - it's called "racism" and unfortunately you practice it well, McAnus.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 27, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

A newspaper in Iran is now holding a cartoon contest called iran holocaust cartoons. Iran made Holocaust denial government policy when Iran foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in December that remarks made by the Iran president that the Nazi mass murder of Jews during World War II was a myth. Investors hit the ground running early in 2006, diamond rings with the blue-chip averages rising for six out of the first seven sessions of the year, and the tech-fueled Nasdaq making it seven in a row diamond rings http://1diamond-rings.com/

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