Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

September 13, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

FEDERALISM....Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the Sunni speaker of the Iraqi parliament, said yesterday that federalism is dead in Iraq. Then he added this:

"The United States is a federated system and it is leading the world. But this was after the Civil War," Mashhadani said. "So must we go through a civil war in order to achieve federalism?"

That's a fairly eccentric reading of American history, isn't it? In fairness, though, probably no worse than most readings of Iraqi history by American politicians.

On a more serious note, though, things seem to be going to hell in Iraq, don't they? The Kurds have all but seceded now, and as Marc Lynch notes, that hasn't gone down well in the Arab world. And while Mashhadani may not be keen on federalism, the Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim is and he's got an army to back him up. Meanwhile, Iran is happily offering help with "security matters" and violence is flaring up yet again in Baghdad. And those are just the high points.

Question: how does this end up? I figure like this: the Kurds break off from the rest of Iraq maybe officially, maybe not and after a bloodbath that American troops can't stop, the Shiite majority takes over the rest of the country and installs an Iranian-backed theocracy. If anyone can figure out how to keep this from happening, I'm all ears.

Kevin Drum 12:36 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (122)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

The bleaker the picture, the more realistic.

And where will the U.S. troops be while this is taking place? Whose side are we on?

Posted by: clem on September 13, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

The way to keep it from happening is the way Bush has been relying on all along: Clap harder!

Posted by: Ted on September 13, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

..."stopping it" is a little like losing 50 lbs. I could lose 50 lbs. in an hour... if I cut my leg off. So, your question isn't limited enough.

The folks who planned and executed this thing won't own up to it, will they? If they had been in charge of Apollo 13, there would still be three dead astronauts in orbit around the moon "staying the course".

...that said. Are there enough troops anywhere to maintain martial law?

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on September 13, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Not to mention that the al Anbar province is all but lost. I know Al, American Chickenhawk, dimwit jay and others will attribute this as "loser liberal" talk, but that is the opinion of senior military leaders (according to Michael Ware of CNN). Oh, but CNN is part of that "liberal media"!

The fact is that Dumbya will not or can not provide the resources needed to secure the country. Military leadership on the ground in Al Anbar say it will take 3x the number of troops to win back the area from al Qaeda. Where are those troops coming from?

Al, Chickenhawk, dimwit? I;m sure there's a recruiting station nearby.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 13, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

That is a pretty interesting reading into American History, although pretty wrong. From all reports, including MSNBC Iraq corespondent this weekend, there is an unofficial Kurdistan at this point. The question is what Turkey and the rest of Iraq will eventually look like. Those crazy thoughts about a year ago about splitting Iraq into 3 parts may eventually be not too far off.

Posted by: Derrick on September 13, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

We stay the course! There are still a few schools to paint, and lots of oil to liberate!

Who cares if dozens or hundreds die every day? Who cares if it costs billions and billions of tax payer dollars every week?

Freedom has no price!

Posted by: Al on September 13, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Always click the link
We are winning Winning, WINNING. I CAN'T HEAR YOU DEFEATIST LIBERALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Al on September 13, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

That analogy to the U.S. Civil War would only work if the central government in Iraq ends up winning their civil war. Seems doubtful. That said, it sounds like he knows a lot more about U.S. history than any of our leaders know about Iraqi history.

Posted by: RM on September 13, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

If Iraqi Kurdistan declared independence, we might see Iran, Iraq and Turkey agree to kill them all.

Posted by: freelunch on September 13, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

A big issue ahead is Turkey's potential reaction to a de facto independent Kurdistan. A NATO member that will fight Kurdish independence tooth and nail presents some unique problems.

Posted by: Ricky Barnhart on September 13, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK


'That's a fairly eccentric reading of American history, isn't it?'

It's a very common reading, perhaps more so among us Southerners who don't buy the self flattering Yankee myth that the Civil War was 'all about slavery'. It was essentially about the meaning of 'federalism', which affected slavery and many other issues. What we today call 'federalism' is the system preferred by the winning side, and is our system today because that side won.

Posted by: David Tomlin on September 13, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Question: how does this end up?

Sure seems that way, Kevin.

But you don't take into account, Turkey and Iran have both already exchanged hostile fire with Kurdistan (either sanctioned by the Kurdistan govt. or splinter rebel groups trying to expand Kurdish territory into Turkey and Iran).

Even the Kurdistan scenario isn't going to go smoothly.

But I do agree - any Iraqi Sunnis should get the fuck out of there now, while they have the chance.

The Bush power vacuum will implode, and will do so violently. And the Iranian-Iraqi/Shia bloc will end up having a very significant impact on world oil prices, should they decide to wield that club.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I heard Paul Hackett on the radio a few weeks ago. His take was descent into a worse civil war than they have now with the Sunnis winning. I wondered if he misspoke, but that's what he said.

Posted by: JJF on September 13, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, if you're all ears, listen to me, and start shouting this from the rooftops:

Instead of either fleeing in a panic, or contuining a war that degrades Iraq's fabric the longer we stay, what we must do is:

negotiate our withdrawal on the condition of a general truce between major violence leaders in Iraq.

The bush admin can't do this. They're too proud and stupid.
Unless pressure - very specific pressure for this very specific policy - gets loud.

I know you haven't thought of this. Neither have most people. The most common end of all to wars - negotiation and withdrawal of foreign troops - ISN'T EVEN BEING DISCUSSED.

START DISCUSSING IT!!!

--glasnost

Posted by: glasnost on September 13, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

off-topic, the latest in my continuing series on American efforts to create fuels of the future:

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Air_Force_Prepares_To_Test_Synthetic_Fuel_On_B_52_999.html

Posted by: republicrat on September 13, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, I thought the bloodbath was going to start once the Kurds tried to formally establish an independent Kurdistan?

Turkey and Iran both have significant Kurdish minorities. Turkey in particular has a longstanding conflict with their own Kurdish secessionist movement. Surely they are not going to sit idly by while a new Kurdish state next door threatens the integrity of their own territory.

Posted by: joe bob on September 13, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

If they had been in charge of Apollo 13, there would still be three dead astronauts in orbit around the moon "staying the course".
Posted by: Darryl Pearce on September 13, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget:
The accident would be blamed on the Astronauts (because the contractor who built the defective oxygen tank shouldn't have to suffer the hit on their bottom line for a "mistake" an astronaut made).

Then, as people began to defend the astronauts in the press, sordid details about how they were funded by George Soros, or how their wives gave money to Democrats, etc. would be aired, culminating in a thinly veiled accusation of homosexuality among astronauts.

Then $300 Billion dollars would be spent firing nuclear missiles at Mars in retaliation for the Apollo 13 accident.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

And the Iranian-Iraqi/Shia bloc will end up having a very significant impact on world oil prices, should they decide to wield that club.

This happens as the U.S. tips into its second dubya-era recession as the real estate bubble pops and the dollar nosedives.

Buckle up, it's going to be a wild ride. Lotta pipers to be paid, all at once, and they won't take any more chinese credit cards.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 13, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Let the Kurds secede and form their own state. They have nothing in common with other Iraqis and are only a part of Iraq because they were forcibly integrated by the British.

What the US needs to focus on is minimizing Iranian influence in Iraq. Therefore we should redeploy our forces along the Iran-Iraq border and let the Shiites and Sunnis fight it out without Iranian influence.

Posted by: mfw13 on September 13, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with David. This is a very standard way of reading U.S. history. The civil war was the outcome of a long struggle over the locus of sovereignty because that was left ambiguous -- not surprising, given the difficulty in ratifying the constitution (Um, Rhode Island was coerced into approval.)

Slavery, however, was the most salient issue because it was the issue of elite power at both the local and national level, directly connected with that power through the 3/5 clause. Had there been no slavery and no 3/5 clause, it's entirely possible that there would have been no civil war. David, do you disagree with this statement?

Posted by: ralph on September 13, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

I know it's not polite to criticize dear leader, but I, for one, am damn tired of his relentless incompetence and the unwillingness of congressional republicans to hold him accountable for any of his disasters.

Posted by: razorboy on September 13, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

glasnost, can you explain how your solution isn't the ultimate "Wink wink, nudge nudge" solution? As soon as we're gone, under the conditions of a general truce, why wouldn't they escalate again? It's not like we'd see a lot of troop build up to warn us; this is a civil war built on guerrilla tactics, not organized fronts. (Moreover, this fact also makes creating a truce in the first place a nearly impossible task.)

Posted by: jhupp on September 13, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Tell the Iraqi's get your shit together or we put Saddam back into power.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 13, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

off-topic, the latest in my continuing series on American efforts to create fuels of the future:

I found this one on terradaily much more interesting, republicrat:

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Using_Microbes_To_Fuel_The_US_Hydrogen_Economy_999.html

I'm generally not a big fan of hydrogen as a solution to the energy-transmission problem for automobiles. I tend to think that nanotechnology is going to factor in big with solar cells and battery technology.
But Hydrogen looks much more attractive if we find a way around the generation problem. (then there's the storage and transport problem).

Sunlight (solar) is very easy to transport, because it's already everywhere. It's already very cheap to collect and convert to electricity. It could be much cheaper and easier, in fairly short order. And electricity is very easy to store, and convert into mechanical energy. The only remaining problem for electricity is the energy-density-in-storage problem.

The other problem is the old-guard auto industry, who does not want to retool from expensive, mechanically-complex, inefficient, internal combustion solutions, to mechanically simple, efficient electricity-based solutions.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, your forecast may come about. Who knows? However, you may be too pessimistic, because the media tend to report only bad news. E.g., here's an e-mail that's been bouncing around:

Did you know that 47 countries have reestablished their embassies in Iraq?

Did you know that the Iraqi government currently employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?

Did you know that 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been built in Iraq?

Did you know that Iraq's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers, all currently operating?

Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the re-established Fulbright program?

Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational?! They have 5- 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.

Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operational squadrons, which includes 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft (under Iraqi operational control) which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 Bell Jet Rangers?

Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?

Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers?

Did you know that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks?

Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.

Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?

Did you know that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid October?

Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?

Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consists of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?

Did you know that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004?

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 13, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

How to stop it? You add at least 500,000 more troops to Iraq, institute the draft, occupy Iraq indefinately and let the well being of the United States ride on the outcome 50 years from now.

Posted by: plane on September 13, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

probably no worse than most readings of Iraqi history by American politicians.

Oh, come now. Is there any evidence anywhere that American politicians have read Iraqi history?

Posted by: tomeck on September 13, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal -- sounds like a great country where you are.

You are in Iraq, right? Building your utopia, protecting us from the evil brown people?

Posted by: Al's Mommy on September 13, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational?!

That's right. And how many boat bombs have you heard about. None! WE'RE WINNING!

Posted by: tomeck on September 13, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?

Isn't that what they use to set off the IED? No wonder cell phone use is up!

Posted by: tomeck on September 13, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Most Iraq supporters have by now changed from defending the invasion to claiming US troops need to remain as a buffer to prevent a bloodbath. That's only a half-valid point, though. A peacekeeping force - which is what they are essentially claiming our invasion force has become - only works when it is holding the line to ensure the integrity of some recognized political structure. Such a structure does not exist in Iraq.

If it were a question of, for instance, keeping the peace between Kurdistan, Sunni Baghdad, and Shia Mesopotamia, maybe a US led peackeeping force would make sense. But as long as we keep pretending we are there on behalf of some fictional "unity government," all we're doing is getting shot, bombed, and killed for no good reason, and with zero chance of success.

Posted by: moderleft on September 13, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Ex liberal

If it weren't for those 1000+ people being killed every month, you'd have a near paradise.

Posted by: tomeck on September 13, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal:
Did you know that Abu Ghraib has been turned over to Iraqi operations, and that the Shiite militias are using it to torture abducted Sunnis?

Freedom's on the march! Fuck yeah!

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten: The other problem is the old-guard auto industry, who does not want to retool ...

True of the "American" auto industry, but I've got no problem buying a Toyota hydrogen car. These days there's not much difference in percent American content between "American" and "Japanese" cars.

Posted by: alex on September 13, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

A more up-to-date list of good news can be found at: http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=OGM2NmM0NTk0YWVjMzZhMTRmZjI4YWQxZThjNWRhNmI=

It's much to long to copy here, but here are a few highlights:

"The Iraqi Army will meet its recruiting goal for 2006.

Prime Minister al-Maliki continues his push for national reconciliation, largely ignored by the U.S. media:

As part of his reconciliation effort, 40,000 soldiers in Saddams army are now eligible to serve in the new Iraqi army.

As of this Sunday, debate on the federalism issue was suspended.

Rubaie went on to credit the security crackdown in Baghdad for a drop in violence in the capital.

Jordan became the first Arab country to have an accredited ambassador in Iraq.

On the political side, the last quarter saw the national government getting on its feet, the assistant secretary said. In June, the parliament approved the three national security ministers, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki introduced a national reconciliation plan to the Council of Representatives and the council began tackling legislation particularly in the economic area. "The point is that you have a national government that is functioning," Rodman said. "It is a national government that includes the leaders of all the major communities."

On September 8, the Iraqis assumed operational control of their armed forces.

Clerics across Iraq called for an end to sectarian violence. (although a related bit of bad news is that unfortunately, Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani has made the decision that it is futile to do so. Hopes for a peaceful transition were further eroded when the most influential moderate Shiite leader in Iraq announced that he had abandoned attempts to restrain his followers.)

Iraqs deputy prime minister said recently that the parliament had resolved the issue of how to share Iraqs oil revenues.

ISF and MND-B have cleared more than 36,000 buildings, 32 mosques and 26 muhallas, detained 42 terrorist suspects, seized more than 900 weapons, registered more than 184 weapons and have found 18 weapons caches. The combined forces have also replaced 444 doors, 18 windows and 656 locks damaged during clearing operations and have removed more than 17,000 tons of trash from Baghdad streets.

The number of Coalition troops in the north of Iraq has been cut in half over the last year, thanks to an intensive training program for Iraqi forces. There are now two Iraqi divisions and 35 battalions of Iraqi forces operating in the area, compared to just one nearly one year ago.

Responsibility for security in much of Kirkuk was transferred to the Iraqis on September 2."

I will stop here. Go to the link and read the whole article.

The point is that there's quite a bit of good news, as well as all the bad news. One should look at both in projecting the future.

I remain optimistic that the Iraqi government will muddle through and eventually put down the insurrection. Time will tell.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 13, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

I don't have the time or interest in fact-checking ex-liberal's list of all the wonderful things going on in Iraq.

Let's just for the record state that any of those things are NOT the result of our being there.

I'm sure you can come up with an equally or more impressive list for Iraq back in the days of Saddam Hussein. Lots of people worked for the government, lots of kids went to school, lots of police officers got trained.

So what?

People are getting blown up by the dozens every day and that's what's newsworthy.

Our invasion has been a grand fucking disaster of the most epic proportions. It is hard to be too pessimistic. Really.

Posted by: JJF on September 13, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

KD: and after a bloodbath that American troops can't stop, the Shiite majority takes over the rest of the country and installs an Iranian-backed theocracy. If anyone can figure out how to keep this from happening, I'm all ears.

not that i don't agree with you. here's my question: if there's gonna be a Sunni/Shiite bloodbath that American troops can't stop, ytf have the American troops be stuck in the crossfire?

Posted by: e1 on September 13, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consists of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?

. . . who happily air segments and articles produced from US Psy Ops teams, as well as taxpayer-funded propaganda shills. But it's OUR propaganda, so it's okay!

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

On a more serious note, though, things seem to be going to hell in Iraq, don't they?
...
I figure like this: the Kurds break off from the rest of Iraq maybe officially, maybe not and after a bloodbath that American troops can't stop, the Shiite majority takes over the rest of the country and installs an Iranian-backed theocracy.

Some people see the glass half-full, and some see the glass half-empty. KD sees the glass as simultaneously all-empty, draining, and stolen as well.

It's a minor detail, but the asphalt plant in Tal Afar has recently expanded its capacity by 70% (or 30%, the memory sometimes fails.) This is a tiny part of the ongoing expansion of the Iraqi economy, documented in the aggregate in the Iraq War Index of the Brookings Institution. Also, Tal Afar is one of the cities in al Anbar province that US forces liberated from the al Qaeda/jihadists/militants; the mayor of Tal Afar wrote quite a nice letter in appreciation of the American forces.

Back to "bloodbath"; it is an inherently vague term, covering everything from a gang fight in South Los Angelos to the Peach Orchard at the Battle of Shiloh to fighting in South Asia after the partition of Pakistan and India, to the Soviet expropiration of all land in the Ukraine in the 1930s, to the Chinese Civil War of the mid-late 1940s. It was used to describe Pakistan's large cities during the term of Benazir Bhutto, and it is used to describe contemporary Baghdad.

The current state in Baghdad may continue a while, but there is no reason that American forces at currnt levels can not prevent an outright assault by Shi'ite militias against large regions of Sunni-occupied Iraq. Since the Iraqi army is now conducting operations against Shi'ite militias, there is no reason to think that the Iraqi army will cooperate in any such large scale attack by Shi'ite militias against the Sunni population.

in short: to "keep this from happening", keep American forces in Iraq until the Iraqi government has consolidated and extended its power. The most recent Kurd demand, broadcast worldwide, was not for secession from Iraq, but for a change in the Iraqi flag. Kurdish Iraq has the fastest growing economy of the three regions, and Arabs are moving there from Shi'ite and Sunni areas to participate in the economic growth. There are strong ties of family and trade between the Kurdish areas and the rest of Iraq, and a strong political interest for the Kurds to seem to be participating in Iraq instead of seeking complete autonomy.

Iraq isn't going to hell. It isn't even a disaster.

Posted by: republicrat on September 13, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Death squad litters Baghdad streets with 60 bodies, bound, gagged, tortured. Didn't even use dumpsters.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060913/ts_nm/iraq_dc_88

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Why try to keep it from happening? Is it that otherwise all those troops' deaths will be in vain? Hell, that was true from the outset. aWol has blood on his hands.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on September 13, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

if there's gonna be a Sunni/Shiite bloodbath that American troops can't stop, ytf have the American troops be stuck in the crossfire?
Posted by: e1 on September 13, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

The only reason is so that the Bush Administration doesn't have to admit they were wrong.

When one's whole reason for being is bluster and hubris, one will go quite a long way to prevent being outed as incompetent. The last thing an addict does during the downward spiral to the bottom, is admit they have a problem.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal That is fine,But they got no fucking money and they are draining your tax cut day by day,Is that what you want to lose another tax cut?

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 13, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten sarcastically wrote

[Iraqi media] who happily air segments and articles produced from US Psy Ops teams, as well as taxpayer-funded propaganda shills. But it's OUR propaganda, so it's okay!

Evidently OBF doesn't like the American viewpoint being presented to Iraqis. I conclude that s/he considers the US to be the bad guys. Would it be fair to call her/him "unpatriotic"?

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 13, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Many people saw the partition of Iraq coming. Peter Galbraith has been saying this for some time. He also argues that it's the least-bad solution. See http://blog.washingtonpost.com/worldopinionroundup/2006/09/partition_debate_splits_iraq.html

The Kurds have probably been planning for partition since early in the game (which is why they pay Galbraith to lobby for them). They are hoping for US diplomatic support and arms sales down the road.

Partition is going to become the establishment-dove position in the US, if it hasn't already. It'll be the common position of the "sensible liberals" and realists like Scowcroft, who are in increasingly open coalition against Bushco, the crackpot neocons and the radical right. Very similar to the establishment coalition against the Vietnam war--establishment liberals like Cyrus Vance and W. Lippman allied with realists like George Kennan and Hans Morgenthau. History is the same fuckin thing over and over again.

Posted by: lord weary on September 13, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Evidently OBF doesn't like the American viewpoint being presented to Iraqis.
Posted by: ex-liberal on September 13, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

OBF thinks that a free press is a vital element to a functioning democracy.

I conclude that s/he considers the US to be the bad guys. Would it be fair to call her/him "unpatriotic"?

I would conclude that ex-liberal considers a free-press to be a bad thing, and therefore, does not really buy-in to the concept of freedom and democracy, and deep down, is just a frightened little control-freak who can't handle the idea of people who are different from him having independent thoughts, without wetting himself in fear over what they might be thinking. Or dare I imply, PLOTTING?!!

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

You want to stop the breakup of Iraq? Reinstall Saddam or some other strong man and wash our hands of the situation.

Posted by: Big E on September 13, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Many people saw the partition of Iraq coming.

Indeed, this was a topic of dicussion back in 1991 when folks were wondering if Bush I was going to go all the way to Baghdad.

In fact, it was commonly discussed that there were no good options once Saddam was removed, that anyone who was positioned to take his place would be just as bad or worse, and would expose the country to sectarian strife and a power vaccum that would increase Iran's regional standing.

That's why Bush I, and Powell, didn't go after Saddam. Were they wrong?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq isn't going to hell. It isn't even a disaster.

Fuck you,you happy fucking jackass.

People are suffering and dying there and living in misery,fear, and unbearable conditions.

Go there and spend a few days wandering around Baghdad to see what a disaster it's not,
if you last that long. We'll send cohdolences to your family. Until then, you idiot, have the human decency to acknowledge their plight or STFU.

Posted by: Windhorse on September 13, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Congrats to all the commenters who failed to take the bait about the american civil war. I may get a stroke because of it, but I will show similar restraint.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on September 13, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, thanks for the cherry-picked data. It's nice to see that Halliburton/KBR and the rest of America's traitorous war profiteers have managed to give us 5% of what we paid for instead of nothing at all.

As for your response to OBF, you forget one other possibility: American propaganda in Iraq is so bad that every time we air more of it, we manage to provide even more recruits for the insurgencies.

Posted by: freelunch on September 13, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

One more litle thing.The talking point of the loony right has been (We have not been attacked since 9-11) That is a lie.We where attacked shortly after that. Can you say (Anthrax).Sorry try again.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 13, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

In fairness, though, probably no worse than most readings of Iraqi history by American politicians.

And certainly no worse than most readings of American history by American politicians. (I'm looking at you, southern Repubs)

Posted by: Irony Man on September 13, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_been_forgotten: But Hydrogen looks much more attractive if we find a way around the generation problem.


I am delighted that you followed some other links.

There is in fact a way to make H2 from solar power, water, and titanium. When you heat the titanium (using solar) and pass steam over it, you make titanium oxide and H2 (similar to the old method of making H2 from iron and steam, as in the US Civil War). Then using solar, you heat the titanium oxide to a higher temperature, and you make O2 and pure titanium. Evidently you can repeat the process without losing any of the titanium. The method was invented by and Israeli. No one yet knows the economics of scaling the process up.

Posted by: republicrat on September 13, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal Wins the strawman award today.Everbody give the goon a big hand. clap clap clap.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 13, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Adapt to win!

Posted by: bitter on September 13, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

The talking point of the loony right has been

And just wait until the Democrats regain power - that same loony right will strike us again like they did in 1995.

Good thing we'll have the unwarranted NSA wiretapping program in place to help us keep tabs on all those rightwingers, without all that meddling from newly installed Republican activist judges....

Posted by: Irony Man on September 13, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

And certainly no worse than most readings of American history by American politicians. (I'm looking at you, southern Repubs)

That's the Democrats' fault, of course. They refused to fight to keep their bigots when the Republicans embarked on the Southern Strategy.

I do think that al-Mashhadani did get one part right. The roots of America's civil war were found in the unhappy compromises that went into the Constitution. Papering over problems in a constitution, whether America's, Iraq's or any other does not solve them.

Posted by: freelunch on September 13, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

The righty party will have to go and hide for another 40 years.They will be so disgraced no one will ever want them in power again,If anybody really put them in power anyway.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 13, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Missed so many of those Iraqi accomplishments of late - probably too busy observing Prime Minister al-Maliki meeting with the Iranian President Ahmadinejad to discuss a joint oil venture whereby the Iranians would provide security.

Next week, al-Maliki will meet with Roger Goodell, the NFL Commish to discuss the new expansion team, the Baghdad Bombers - Love the new team yells - "Incoming" and "Duck" - well, you really do not need more troops for a prevent defense.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 13, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

If anyone can figure out how to keep this from happening, I'm all ears.

Clap louder dammit!!

Posted by: ckelly on September 13, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

I am skeptical of the notion that the Sunnis will ever accept Shiite rule, even if it means a partition that deprives them of any oil rights.

I might be more credulous of the idea that Iraq will end in a two rather than three state outcome if the Shiites themselves didn't want their own little fiefdom in the south. Partitioning Baghdad is problematic but there are precedents there too.

The Sunnis and the Americans are the only ones who want a united Iraq, and they'll never get it.

Posted by: Linus on September 13, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

...here's an e-mail that's been bouncing around:

Yes, and I just got an email saying I won the Lottery of Botswana...

Again.

Posted by: ckelly on September 13, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK


Ex-Liberal,

Sounds like the development of Little Iran is coming along swimmingly. You do realize that Iran is public enemy numero UNO now right? Right?

Posted by: ckelly on September 13, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Come on guys, this one's easy. The model is right there for us to see:

Yugoslavia.

The country, freed of its strongman, is breaking down into its component ethnic parts - in Iraq's case, three - with several areas of fierce contention - Kirkuk, for example, as well as Baghdad - and a bunch of ethnic cleansing from all sides.

Unfortunately for Iraq, there's no country powerful enough to step in and clamp down on the trouble spots the way Bill Clinton's America could in Bosnia. We don't have the money or the guts to commit the necessary resources, and in any case at this point we lack the moral standing to do so.

But all you have to do to see the future is to picture Yugoslavia without outside intervention. The Shiites map well to the Serbs, largest and strongest, and will probably keep the name 'Iraq' and consider the other nations to be renegade provinces. The Sunni are the Croats, well-armed and able to fight their more numerous neighbors. The Kurds are the Slovenians, relatively wealthy and with a head start on their own nationality. The Assyrians and Turkmen and all those other minorities so rarely reported on, those are your Bosnians. Everyone is going to step on them.

Now, history does not precisely repeat itself, it merely rhymes. Turkey, for instance, doesn't have a good analogue in the Yugoslavian breakup. But Iraq doesn't just rhyme with Yugoslavia, it's in the same meter.

Posted by: S Ra on September 13, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Rubaie went on to credit the security crackdown in Baghdad for a drop in violence in the capital.

The fact that they are now only counting obvious executions and shootings as sectarian violence and omitting all the IEDs and suicide bombs has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: ckelly on September 13, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, all those signs of "progress" Iraq supporters like to point to don't actually mean a civil war is less likely. If anything, they mean it is more likely. As the different Iraqi factions begin to consolidate control of their section of the country, we can expect a degree of stability within each section, but this is a prelude to the sections goings to war with each, not progress of a unified "Iraq."

I'm sure observers could have pointed to the increased industrial capacity of American factories in the 1860s. That doesn't mean there wasn't a civil war going on.

Posted by: moderleft on September 13, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus-Fucking-Christ trollies,

Asphalt plant? Fulbright scholars?
Grasp. That. Straw

then, get a clue.

Posted by: ckelly on September 13, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I can't imagine the Shiites actually want to rule over a region full of Sunnis; and the Shiites don't acutally want to be ruled from Tehran. If Washington had any guts they'd call for a UN Division of Iraq conference and clearly demarcate three separate coutnries.

Posted by: cld on September 13, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

It's a very common reading, perhaps more so among us Southerners who don't buy the self flattering Yankee myth that the Civil War was 'all about slavery'. It was essentially about the meaning of 'federalism', which affected slavery and many other issues. What we today call 'federalism' is the system preferred by the winning side, and is our system today because that side won.

To which we Northerners can only say: suck it, losers. We kicked your ass -- get over it.

Posted by: Yankee on September 13, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq isn't going to hell. It isn't even a disaster.

Clap louder, republicrap. We are essentially left with defending Baghdad because we don't have sufficient troop levels to secure the rest of the country. Military leaders in al Anbar say it has been essentially lost to al Qaeda. But don't let the facts get in the way of your little fantasy. Hell, why not go over and buy some beachfront property? I'm sure it's pretty damn cheap right about now!

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 13, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

It's a very common reading, perhaps more so among us Southerners who don't buy the self flattering Yankee myth that the Civil War was 'all about slavery'. It was essentially about the meaning of 'federalism', which affected slavery and many other issues. What we today call 'federalism' is the system preferred by the winning side, and is our system today because that side won.

It's also a very common reading among southerners that the Civil War had little to do with slavery, when it had everything to do with slavery. Yes, federalism was an issue, in as much as it determined whether slavery could be extended into the new territories. Northerners felt slavery should be restricted to the states where it already existed, southerners felt those territories should determine the slavery issue.

So, technically, yes, there were issues in play other than slavery, but those issues were all deeply entwined with slavery itself.

In short, the Civil War was about slavery.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 13, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

Did you know that we are spending $500 billion to conquor and rebuild a country that had a GNP of only $52billion before we conquored it?

Did you know that the administration promised us that the invasion of Iraq would only cost us $2 billion>

Did you know that tens of billions of dollars have simply disappeared in Iraq?

Did you know that Republicans think that a poor black displaced New Orleans katrina victim 'wellfare' queen is a crime and a crisis and that the billions of dollars lost to corporations and cronies of the Administration in Iraq and Katrina rebuilding is not?

Posted by: Bubbles on September 13, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq isn't going to hell. It isn't even a disaster?

republicrat, I do believe you're suffering from a guano impared reality view.

Problem is that the Iraqi government is not consolidating and extended its power but loosing it. The only reason why the Kurds have not called for secession from Iraq is not that "There are strong ties of family and trade between the Kurdish areas and the rest of Iraq" but the realisation that an independent Kurdish nation whould be instantly invaded by Turkey.

The reason for kurdish co-operation is hardly good news for the central government. The iraqi government has no authority what so ever in the kurdish provences while Kurdish leaders have consideral sway over the government. that is not a healthy situation nor does it lead to a consolidation and extending of central powers. That road leads to nowhere. Nor is that road likely to avoid civil war.

Partition will very likely lead to civil war over the natural resourches, the invasion of independant Kurdistan by Turkey, and whats left of the rest the country controlled by Iran.

Staying the course is a bad idea, partition is a bad idea. leaving is a bad idea. doubling or even tripling the boots on the ground might be effective but impossible without a draft...

And a draft.... is a g-d awful bad idea...

Heck of a job Bushie!

Posted by: Ernst on September 13, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Should have left Saddam in there,I know it's not much but what is the diff. if he's killing these people or if we are killing the same people he would have killed?

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 13, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin neglects to mention that Badr affilliated ( and US backed)Shiite Iraqis are not just fighting Sunnis, but fighting Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army as well, as evidence by the recent fighting between Shiite factions in Diwaniyah. Sadrists are turning against the partion/federalist approach, going as far as to issue fatwas against it, like the one by Ahmad al-Hasani al-Baghdadi, a Shiite cleric.

Let's also not forget just how unacceptable an independent Kurdistan will be to our ally Turkey.

Posted by: dk on September 13, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

To which we Northerners can only say: suck it, losers. We kicked your ass -- get over it.

So, why do the morally repugnant intellectual heirs of the Confederate traitors have so much power in America?

Posted by: freelunch on September 13, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

The best result in Iraq would be Confederation:

For Turkey to negotiate 'floating point' autonomy, on the Spanish (similar to what they do with autonomous groups in Spain).

For Sunnis, to form a confederation between Jordan, Syria, Iraqi Sunnis and Kuwait.

For the Shia Arabs to be given autonomy and confederated with Iran.

For a general settlement of the oil revenues to be divided between the three groups.

In exchange for for Shia Iraq, Iran will allow its Kurdistan region to join the Iraqi Kurdistan region and for the Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan regions to join the Turkish Kurdistan region, where they will be an autonomous region within the Turkish Republic. The Kurds will then gain access to some European Union resources as an added benefit and come under NATO protection as well.

Posted by: Bubbles on September 13, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Let's also not forget just how unacceptable an independent Kurdistan will be to our ally Turkey.

Let's not forget how badly Turkey wants to join the EU, and how badly Kurdistan wants the US as an ally. We're in a good position to get both Turkey and Kurdistan to accept compromises (Kurds giving up all claims to Turkish territory, Turkey accepting an independent Kurdistan). We could even go so far as to place a military base in northern Kurdistan - ostensibly as an "over the horizon" force in Iraq, but in reality as a security guarantee to Kurds and Turks that we're keeping their border secure.

Posted by: moderleft on September 13, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mann Coulter wrote: Should have left Saddam in there,I know it's not much but what is the diff. if he's killing these people or if we are killing the same people he would have killed?

The difference for the Iraqi people is magnitude. Today, insurgents can kill dozens of people with a truck bomb. When Saddam was in power, his military could kill tens of thousands of Kurds by dropping poison gas from airplanes. They could commit genocide on the Marsh Arabs by draining the marshes which gave them sustenance.

We don't see it that way, because our media now pay close attention to the atrocities in Iraq. They paid less attention to the far worse atrocities commited by Saddam.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 13, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

A big issue ahead is Turkey's potential reaction to a de facto independent Kurdistan.

boohoo Turkey. They've been denying basic rights to the kurdish minority inside their borders for far too long. I support an independent Kurdish state. And I think the USA should support the kurds in Iran and Turkey to sucede or immigrate to the new country in the north of what's currently Iraq.

If Turkey doesn't like the thought of the Kurds getting their own state, then maybe they ought to think long and hard about how they treat the Kurds currently in their borders. You want a democratic allay in the region with oil? You've got it: Kurdistan; my guess is they'd love for us to have some permanent bases to provide over-the-horizon support in dealing with Iran, Syriah and Turkey (not to mention the ongoing bloodbath in Iraq). Turkey doesn't like it? Too bad. Iran doesn't like it? Good. Anything that detracts from Iran's efforts to destabalize southern Iraq sounds good to me.

Posted by: Edo on September 13, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

The best result in Iraq would be Confederation:

That's very likely true, Bubbles, but it would depend on this assministration actually negotiating something other than another handout to our indigent billionaires. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until the adults are back in charge.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 13, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

When Saddam was in power, his military could kill tens of thousands of Kurds by dropping poison gas from airplanes.

While we dropped 5 ton cluster bombs on civilian areas. No one is making Saddam out to be a good guy, but this administration is doing their damnedest to make him look that way.

At a minimum, our bombs killed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis during "Shock and Awe". How is what Saddam did any worse?

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 13, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam should have just called them Insurgents then it would be ok ? AS far as the US is concerned can you say Falluja!!

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 13, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

D'oh. "...secede or immigrate..."

Posted by: Edo on September 13, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

One more thing Who do you suppose died in the first attack on Iraq, Bush drooped 40 missles on some building that Saddam was supposed to be in. Who died there?

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 13, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

In the long term there is bound to be a Shia/Sunni/Kurd breakup no matter what the state of Iraq is when we leave it.

So the logical decision would appear to be a orderly partition agreed upon by the three parties. This option will lead to the least amount of bloodshed, which is bound to occur sooner or later, unless Shias and Sunnis forget their differences of the last thirteen hundred years and kiss and make up.

I think Bush knows this. The affect of our long term occupation, which is clearly his policy, would be to postpone the fighting till Iraq runs out of oil in 50 years so we can leave the Iraqis to their own devices without being affected by what happens there.

Posted by: gregor on September 13, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam's genocidal acts were quite effectively halted by the imposition of US/UK patrolled no-fly zones. In retrospect, those no-fly zones began the process of the tripartite division of Iraq into Kurdish north, Sunni center, and Shia south.

Hmm, maybe this is why GWB refuses to see the logic of allowing Iraqis to divide themselves into their natural constituent parts. It worked fine under his father and under Clinton, and as far as I can tell his entire foreign policy has consisted of doing the exact opposite of the GHB and Clinton administrations.

Posted by: moderleft on September 13, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if American politicans realize that, by and large, what voters want isn't that US troops leave Iraq, but that they stop dying over there. A president canny enough to negotiate a tripartite division that gets us out of central Iraq and into an independetn Kurdistan would get to take credit for ending the war and staying the course at the same time, winning over just about everyone except for the neo-cons and the pacifists.

Posted by: moderleft on September 13, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

i can't believe that this is even a discussion.

of course someone would say that.
That's how american history looks.
the fact that he has "given up" on his country's ability to make it through without a war is sad, but not out of the blue.

Posted by: stephanie on September 13, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

. . the fact that he has "given up" on his country's ability to make it through without a war is sad,

"we've tried hard with diplomacy, and it didn't work. Now we get to, er. . . I mean have to kill them."

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Grab. . .er. . . .secure the oil fields? Put Sunnis and Shia into completely different cities or provinces? Put up fences? Dole out the cash?

Posted by: ferd on September 13, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kurds?

Turkey?

I can't negotiate with countries that go by such silly names. They're all probably Islamofascist terrorists anyway. Let's "liberate" them too.

Posted by: George W Bush on September 13, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if American politicans realize that, by and large, what voters want isn't that US troops leave Iraq, but that they stop dying over there.

I realize that what voters want is low gasoline prices, if we've got troops over there dying.

So I had a talk with my buddies at ExxonMobileChevronCo, and they're gonna ease up for a while. At least until this "voting" nonsense is over with.

Posted by: George W Bush on September 13, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Could the ethnic differences between the Iraqi and Iranian Shia compplicate the idea of an "Iranian-backed theocracy" controlling much of Iraq?

Posted by: Brian on September 13, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

ferd: Put Sunnis and Shia into completely different cities or provinces? Put up fences? Dole out the cash?

There are precedents for the fence idea: Iron Curtain, the wall that divides Cyprus, the fence in portions of the US-Mexico border, the fence in Palestine.

Sunnis and Shia may be segregating themselves: there are stories of movement of Sunni out of Shia areas and vice-versa; there are also stories of effective Sunni-Shia cooperation in mixed neighborhoods.

segregation + fencing is probably better than "bloodbath", and probably achievable.

Posted by: republicrat on September 13, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that the US civil war was about something other than slavery is entirely a post-bellum phenomenon. Original sources: legislative debates, editorials, books, speeches, diaries, etc. make it abundantly clear that the South saw it as a war to preserve slavery. No one has come up with any convincing primary-source evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: Virgina Dutch on September 13, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

The Sunnis and the Americans are the only ones who want a united Iraq, and they'll never get it.
Posted by: Linus on September 13, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam wanted a unified Iraq.

So unified, that he tried to reign in the rogue province of Kuwait, and the Shat Al Arab.

This was elementary Iraqonomics back in 1991.

Unfortunately, my stupid cokehead son wasn't paying attention.

I'd give him a good spanking, but the Constitution forbids it, until his term ends.

Posted by: George H W Bush on September 13, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

segregation + fencing is probably better than "bloodbath", and probably achievable.

Well, so much for the Republican plan to turn Iraq into a bright shining beacon of democracy that would be a model for other countries in the region. Now we're defining success down to the fact that preventing a bloodbath via ethnic cleansing is "probably achievable."

Can a statue of Bush erected in Baghdad's central square by grateful Iraqis be far behind?

Posted by: Arminius on September 13, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

But don't let the facts get in the way of your little fantasy. Hell, why not go over and buy some beachfront property?

the facts are complex; the beachfront area that you speak of was dried intentionally by Saddam Hussein in order to punish the Marsh Arabs. It has been considerably, but not completely, rehabilitated since OIF. The Marsh Arabs are among the 80% or so of Iraqis who are dramatically better off since the Baathist government was deposed.

Posted by: republicrat on September 13, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Could the ethnic differences between the Iraqi and Iranian Shia compplicate the idea of an "Iranian-backed theocracy" controlling much of Iraq?
Posted by: Brian on September 13, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, in the long term.

In the short term, they'll be unified enough for Iran to grab the oil fields, long enough that by the time the Iraqi (Arab) Shia recognized they were screwed by the Iranian (Persian) Shia, it will be too late for them to do anything about it.

Or - maybe the Mullahs will unite these Moslem bretheren against the common foe.

Which would really, really suck bad for us.

Which is why I stopped after I expelled Saddam from Kuwait.

Posted by: George H W Bush on September 13, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten wrote: OBF thinks that a free press is a vital element to a functioning democracy.

Pardon me, OBF, for ragging on you. You've had the honesty to state your point openly. I'm sure many posters agree with you.

Let's review. Under Saddam, there was not a single free newspaper or magazine in Iraq. Today, thanks to Bush's war, there are hundreds of independent newspapers and magazines presenting a multitude of views. If the insurgents overthrow the democratic government, there will no more free press.

In order to help defeat the insurgents, the US pays to have some articles published.

OBF, if you really were focused on a free press, then you'd be grateful to Bush for having made it possible. You'd be sympathetic to a program of planting some articles that will help defeat the insurgency, thus maintaining a free press. Incidentally, running some articles favorable to the US point of view doesn't deprive any of those hundreds of magazines and newspapers from freely writing whatever they like.

My verdict is that you're looking for ways to find fault with the US and with Bush.

OBF wrote: I would conclude that ex-liberal considers a free-press to be a bad thing, and therefore, does not really buy-in to the concept of freedom and democracy, and deep down, is just a frightened little control-freak who can't handle the idea of people who are different from him having independent thoughts, without wetting himself in fear over what they might be thinking. Or dare I imply, PLOTTING?!!

Since the war that I suppport and OBF opposes is what made the free press possible, this insult doesn't look well founded.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 13, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

MeLoseBrain asked: At a minimum, our bombs killed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis during "Shock and Awe". How is what Saddam did any worse?

If we accept your estimate, the answer is:

1. Critics of the sanctions that had been in effect in Iraq claimed that they killed as many as a million people, including many children. Bush ended the sanctions.

2. Saddam is estimated to have killed between one million and two million Iraqis, via mass slaughter, poison gas, torture and through the wars he started against Iran and Kuwait.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 13, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Liffey the answer is accepted in Ireland.

Won. Ends the sanctions the critics effectively claimed as much as a million. Many children, in conclusion, had been saved. That sounds good. So does their play.

True. Killing one or two via mass transit is a low estimate, slaw, to her, the motherland, Iraq, thoroughly against saving gas. Wait, no I ran from the poison, but a benevolent dictator would not torture, so it is curious to support means that Bush could end.

Posted by: Will on September 13, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

We don't see it that way, because our media now pay close attention to the atrocities in Iraq. They paid less attention to the far worse atrocities commited by Saddam.

Yes and many of these same Republicans embraced him at the time.

Posted by: ckelly on September 13, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

ex lib: They paid less attention to the far worse atrocities commited by Saddam.

last week:

the single most downloaded file at the George Washington Univ. National Security Archive: Rumsfled's handshake with Saddam Hussien from December 1983

.

"And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many."

Dick Cheney - Seattle - 1992

Posted by: mr. perspective on September 13, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

2. Saddam is estimated to have killed between one million and two million Iraqis, via mass slaughter, poison gas, torture and through the wars he started against Iran and Kuwait.

Wait, you're counting the casualties inflicted on Iraq by Iranian and Coalition forces in the Iran-Iraq and Gulf Wars against Saddam? That is, the Iraqis killed by their enemies?

Then do I also get to claim that Bush is estimated to have killed over 2600 American soldiers and Marines, via the war he started against Iraq?

Posted by: Arminius on September 13, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Critics of the sanctions that had been in effect in Iraq claimed that they killed as many as a million people, including many children. Bush ended the sanctions.

The Iraqis killed by the sanctions died as a result of lack of medical care, malnutrition, lack of water, electricity, etc. Even though Bush ended the sanctions (via the mechanism of invading Iraq -- gee, thanks) he didn't end those conditions -- the Iraqis STILL suffer from lack of medical care, infection, lack of potable water, lack of electricity and medicine, etc. So now the Iraqi are dying from these conditions PLUS they're dying from the violence. Bush hasn't improved things -- he's made them twice as bad.

Posted by: Arminius on September 13, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

mr. perspective wrote: last week, the single most downloaded file at the George Washington Univ. National Security Archive: Rumsfled's handshake with Saddam Hussien from December 1983

IMHO Mr. p's post illustrates my point. Some care less about the hundreds of thousands or millions killed by Saddam than they do about linking a Republcan to the atrocities.

Here's a question for all of you. Which would you prefer:

1. Iraq and Afghanistan subdue their insurgencies. Democracy and freedom prevail there. Bush gets the credit. Republicans continue to control Congess and the Presidency, or...

2. The governments of Iran and Afghanistan fall. Milliions die in the ensuing chaos. Bush is blamed. Democrats take over the government.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 13, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

You forget Turkey invading Kurdistan.

1) If possible merge the Sunni and Kurd regions into one state. Tell the Sunni's it's this or you take your chances with the Shia.

2) Use whatever pull we have left with European leaders and Turkey to get Turkey to stop persecuting the Kurds.

3) Lock down the Turkey Kurdi-Sunni-stan border so that no material and money can get across to support Kurdish speratists. Offer them lots of money to settle in Kurdi-Sunni-stan

4) Tell Iran that we will let them have peaceful nukes if they can actually keep Shia-stan Iraq under control and prevent them from funneling money to anti-Israel forces in the west. Allow them their rhetoric.

5) Give Syria non-agression guarantees AND that the US will not oppose their claim to the Golan Heights if they can keep Iranian aid from going to Hezbollah.

6) Rebuild Lebannon quickly so that the Lebannese government can provide social services and protection as opposed to Hezbollah and hopefully encourage them to become a political party.

Now the Kurds will be pissed, but not too pissed I hope, they are getting a state they can emigrate too, security guarantees and lots of investment. The Shiites will be under the Iranian's thumb and believe me I find the Iranians/Persians a lot more sensible people to deal with despite rhetoric than the Iraqi militias.

Syria gets to live, gets the Golan Heights back meaning they have far less of a problem with Israel, and all they have to do is patrol their own border. Assad might be able to do it if he gets the heights back.

Lebannon is self-explantory.

Now this will probably blow up, but I think the results of this are better than what is going to happene otherwise.

Posted by: MNPundit on September 13, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

MNPundit,

sounds like a fairly reasonable alternative. Anyone here know if the Kurds would play the "live and let live" card with the Sunnis?

Posted by: Edo on September 13, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal, I'll answer that but will pose a follow-up to you.

1. Iraq and Afghanistan subdue their insurgencies. Democracy and freedom prevail there. Bush gets the credit. Republicans continue to control Congess and the Presidency, or...
2. The governments of Iran and Afghanistan fall. Milliions die in the ensuing chaos. Bush is blamed. Democrats take over the government.

Simple. I choose "1." Now which would you prefer?

1. Iraq and Afghanistan subdue their insurgencies. Democracy and freedom prevail there. A Democrat wins the 2008 election, and Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are imprisoned for war crimes. Democrats control Congess and the Presidency and restore civil liberties and the rule of law, or...

2. The governments of Iran and Afghanistan fall. Millions die in the ensuing chaos. Bush and Rove blame the Democrats. Republicans continue to control the government and use their control to dismantle Social Security and the Bill of Rights and set up a police state.

So...which is it?


Posted by: Arminius on September 13, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

IMHO Mr. p's post illustrates my point. Some care less about the hundreds of thousands or millions killed by Saddam than they do about linking a Republcan to the atrocities.

IMHO ex-liberal's post illustrates my point. Some care less about the thousands of people killed by Osama bin Laden than they do about linking a Democrat to terrorist atrocities.

Posted by: Arminius on September 13, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Arminius,

thank you for dealing with ex-liberal's inane question. I didn't have the energy.

And, ex-liberal, please note that Arminius actually answered your question. Common courtesy would dictate that you'd do the same. I look forward to reading your answer.

Posted by: Edo on September 13, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: "Here's a question for all of you. Which would you prefer:"

I'd prefer to not have my intelligence insulted by idiotic "when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife" questions.

Nice try, moron.

Posted by: PaulB on September 13, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding partition: it's all about the resources. The Sunni's will not accept partition unless they get a share of the oil wealth. They'd be screwed in a partition scheme and they know it. Unless you can address that issue, partition won't solve anything.

Posted by: PaulB on September 13, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Armenius, I'll go for #1, although it seems unlikely. If the Bush/Chene/Rumsfeld strategy actually succeeds, these three men will rightly be considered heros. The Dems who called for withdrawal will look bad.

OTOH if Iraq is going badly in 2 years, the Dems will have been proved right and Bush will have been proved wrong. In that case, I'd expect a big Democratic electoral victory.

I apologize to Edo and PaulB and the rest for the insulting question. My point is, success in Iraq is likely to lead to electoral success for the pubbies. So, I don't have conflicting emotions. Failure in Iraq would help the Dems, so they may have conflicting emotions. For this reason, Democratic leaders are in danger of being (mis)represented as not wanting to win in Iraq.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 13, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

arminius: the Iraqis STILL suffer from lack of medical care, infection, lack of potable water, lack of electricity and medicine,

now that the topic of electricity has been raised, the total electrical power output of Iraq is about 20% above the prewar level, and the energy delivered per week is up about 25%. 80% of Iraqis now get at least double the electricity they received before the war.

Delivery of medicine is increased (not least, all that stuff that was warehoused by the Baathists). The supply of potable water also exceeds prewar amounts.

Production of oil does not quite match pre-war maximum output, but revenues from oil sales are higher than before the war.

You can find this out by reading the Iraq Index by the Brookings Institution. A few readers here have accused Brookings of being administration lackies, but they tend to be left of center rather than right of center.

the daily killing is bad enough, no need to exaggerate the rest. Work on the infrastructure and the civilian economy, and training of the police and army are proceeding apace.

Posted by: republicrat on September 13, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

the daily killing is bad enough, no need to exaggerate the rest

Yes, there is no need to exaggerate.

There is no need to exaggerate the specifics. According to Brookings:

Total power output for Iraq was up 10%, not 20% over the past three months.

Availability of potable water is down 25%, total water treatment capacity is down almost 66%, total sewerage capacity is down (apparently you read the figures incorrectly).

And there is no need to exaggerate the overall sense of success either:

The cost of electricity has skyrocketed almost 270%. So production is up to pre-war levels -- for now -- it's just ridiculously more expensive. I'm sure Iraqis look forward to that day when electricity is up 50% over pre-war levels and only 800% more expensive.

Gasoline is sixteen times more expensive than it was pre-war. And a whole lot harder to come by, including typical overnight waits in line to fill up.

Inflation is surging and unemployment is rampant, making just buying gas, electricity and food difficult, not to mention paying rents and mortgages.

Work on the infrastructure and the civilian economy...are proceeding apace.

Mmmm, no, unless you have a very charitable definition of "apace."

Here are some highlights from last month's report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction:

In addition, more than 75 percent of oil and gas reconstruction projects begun with U.S. assistance remain incomplete, more than 50 percent of electricity reconstruction projects are still unfinished, and provincial reconstruction teams established to assist local leaders lack security, staff, and supplies.

The SIGIR also found that the U.S. allocated nearly $200 million for primary health care centers, but completed only 6 out of the 150 clinics intended to be built with these funds.

In an alarming report on the Basrah Children's Hospital Project, the SIGIR found that the U.S. Agency for International Development repeatedly failed to report to Congress major cost overruns and significant delays in the completion of the hospital. The report found that time and again, USAID hid the mounting costs for completing the project by designating them as administrative or indirect costs. Not only were these charges hidden from Congress, but the hospital project is not even close to completion despite all of the funds being exhausted.

In another case, the SIGIR recently found that the United States continued to fund the restoration of 16 oil pipelines under the Tigris River despite persistent warnings from geologists that the soil was not conducive to drilling.


Posted by: Windhorse on September 14, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Some care less about the hundreds of thousands or millions killed by Saddam

Yes, and those people are mostly Bush Republicans. Unless they can be used as props for domestic consumption during campaign season, as they conveniently have been since 2002.

Still searching for a believable rationale for invading Iraq after all these years, I see. Good luck finding one that will stick.

Posted by: Irony Man on September 14, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

It is sad but i fear that you've got it exactly right Kevin. Even before the war that was one of the most likely scenario, but now it seems like the inescapable conclusion of this ongoing Iraq debacle.

Posted by: grigou on September 14, 2006 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

football predictions jqn football predictions jqn http://best-football-predictions.blogspot.comjqn
best nfl picks jqn best nfl picks jqn http://best-nfl-picks.blogspot.comjqn
college football picks jqn college football picks jqn http://college--football-picks.blogspot.comjqn
football betting jqn football betting jqn http://winning-football-betting.blogspot.comjqn
free football picks jqn free football picks jqn http://free-football-picks.blogspot.comjqn
nfl picks jqn nfl picks jqn http://best-nfl-picks.blogspot.comjqn
aa jqn aa jqn http://testtestjqn
football predictions jqn football predictions jqn http://football-predictions-1.blogspot.comjqn
football predictions jqn football predictions jqn http://best-football-predictions.blogspot.comjqn
best nfl picks jqn best nfl picks jqn http://best-nfl-picks.blogspot.comjqn
college football picks jqn college football picks jqn http://college--football-picks.blogspot.comjqn
football betting jqn football betting jqn http://winning-football-betting.blogspot.comjqn
free football picks jqn free football picks jqn http://free-football-picks.blogspot.comjqn
nfl picks jqn nfl picks jqn http://best-nfl-picks.blogspot.comjqn
aa jqn aa jqn http://testtestjqn
football predictions jqn football predictions jqn http://football-predictions-1.blogspot.comjqn
football predictions jqn football predictions jqn http://best-football-predictions.blogspot.comjqn
best nfl picks jqn best nfl picks jqn http://best-nfl-picks.blogspot.comjqn
college football picks jqn college football picks jqn http://college--football-picks.blogspot.comjqn
football betting jqn football betting jqn http://winning-football-betting.blogspot.comjqn
free football picks jqn free football picks jqn http://free-football-picks.blogspot.comjqn
nfl picks jqn nfl picks jqn http://best-nfl-picks.blogspot.comjqn
aa jqn aa jqn http://testtestjqn
football predictions jqn football predictions jqn http://football-predictions-1.blogspot.comjqn

Posted by: football predictionsjqn on September 15, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly