Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 11, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SPEECH FOLLOWUPS....Some miscellaneous followups to Bush's speech last night:

  • My wife's reaction: "He didn't seem like he was asking for my support. He was just telling me what he was going to do."

  • AP reports that "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has agreed to crack down on fighters controlled by his most powerful political ally, Muqtada al-Sadr." If that's right, it means we are indeed declaring war on Sadr and the Mahdi Army.

  • We invaded the Iranian consulate in Irbil yesterday. This, combined with our recent naval maneuvers and Bush's threats last night, seems likely to strain relations with Abdel Aziz al-Hakim and SCIRI.

  • Of course, we're also continuing to target the Sunni insurgents. Put this all together, and outside of Kurdistan it means we're fighting everyone: the Sunnis and both of the main Shiite factions, plus Syria and Iran. And all with shiny new rules of engagement that take the gloves off. I don't care what they call this, it sure doesn't sound like counterinsurgency to me. Exactly what population is left to win the hearts and minds of?

  • I see that I'm not the only one who noticed Bush's plan to "deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies." Like me, Brian Ulrich is confused about this.

That's all for now. More later.

Kevin Drum 12:08 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (107)

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Comments

You can win a lot of hearts and minds by relaxing the rules of engagement. The other body parts are just extra mess.

Posted by: SP on January 11, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Everybody is confused about that last one...unless you think that an attack on Iran is not only in the cards, but it's face-down on the table.

Posted by: Karmakin on January 11, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

And if Turkey is a friend and/or ally, then doesn't that mean that even Kurdistan isn't safe? So really we're fighting everyone!

Posted by: Jeremy on January 11, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I sat down to watch the speech last night and fell asleep- empty platitudes do that to me, I'm afraid- but it looks like I didn't miss much.

Posted by: pdq on January 11, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Your dear wife is still under the impression that The Decider gives a damn about mere citizens?

Posted by: thedeadcanary on January 11, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the ubermensches at The Corner are having an orgasm over the prospect of a war with Iran.

What's wrong with you guys? Come and join the fun.

Posted by: gregor on January 11, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

My wife's reaction: "He didn't seem like he was asking for my support. He was just telling me what he was going to do."

He WAS telling us what he's going to do. He's the President. That's his job.

Posted by: Al on January 11, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Until yesterday evening weren't the right wingers telling us that we would win this war, unlike vietnam, because Bush wasn't hamstringing the troops with rules of engagement?

Posted by: jefff on January 11, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

The big news last night was on the other side of the TV cameras, where a record number of Americans saluted their Commander-in-Chief with a raised middle finger.

Posted by: olds88 on January 11, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

The Patriot missiles are probably a necessary precondition (one of many, I would imagine) to gaining the support of the oil monarchies (Saudis, Kuwait, etc.) in military action against Iran. If we attacked Iran without those missiles in place, then the oil monarchies would be forced to publicly distance themselves from us, maybe even kicking us off their soil, in order to avoid becoming targets for Iran. With those missiles (and, like I said before, whatever else this administration may have promised to its oil pals), then the monarchies can allow us to use their bases and ports to attack Iran.

Essentially, the Patriots are only defensive. They only matter if you think Iran might fire something at you. And the only reason Iran might do so is if we (or Israel?) went after them first (at least anytime in the foreseeable future).

Same discussion probably applies to Syria, but change oil monarchies to Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey.

Posted by: cramer on January 11, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Bush: "To my friends in Iran and Syria, I give you Tonkin II."

Posted by: vachon on January 11, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

My wife's reaction: "He didn't seem like he was asking for my support. He was just telling me what he was going to do."

She's exactly right. The Bourbon king isn't looking for the general support of American populace, other than some minor political cover from his sycophants in Congress and the popular press.

BTW, Rice has had a very difficult morning at her testimony. This crowd is clearly unaccustomed to questioning their god-given wisdom. They are monarchists through and through.

Posted by: SavageView on January 11, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

The Patriot missiles will be going to Israel which will be attacked when we start military action against Iran.

Posted by: David Patin on January 11, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Baby Bush in a nutshell:

We've made a mess in Iraq, and everything I have tried has failed. Since I don't have any new ideas and I refuse to consider any that might make it look like I failed, I'm sending in more troops. I'm also expanding this losing war to Iran and maybe Syria, for starters. The nation must support me because I'm better its sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers (but not mine or Cheney's or Rice's).

Posted by: klipklop on January 11, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

At least the cards are on the table now. Couple more friedman's and we can hopefully declare real progress or we can toss Bush/cheney on the scrap heap of history. The LATimes writes about the Gated Community technique they plan to use in Baghdad. But nothing Bush said last night explains how we plan to stop the insurgency, or the Shite ethnic cleansing. So a Freidman from now, we could have some parts of Baghdad secure, but the civil war will rage on elsewhere. At its core, the Sunnis want power back and the Shites don't want to give it back.

Posted by: the fake fake al on January 11, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like Bush is angling for WWIII.

Like Nixon before him, Bush's plan to win the war is to expand it beyond our already overstrained capabilities.

Unlike Nixon, Bush is trying to ensure he never has to pay the political price for his failure by attempting to drag the war out until after his departure from the Oval Office.

Shameful to the nth degree.

Child molesters have more moral fiber in their pinkies than Bush has in his whole being.

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Seems we've also been pointing guns at Kurdish forces, if you look into the Iranian Consulate story a bit more, so we really are escalating tensions with every faction in the country we are sending more troops to.

The problem is that Bush is the evil he's chasing in the world.

Posted by: Trypticon on January 11, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Put this all together, and outside of Kurdistan it means we're fighting everyone:"

If we are fighting everyone, it means we are well and truly fucked. Like rats, humans only start fighting "everyone" when they are desperate, so thoroughly cornered that the only remaining options are "fight everyone" or death.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 11, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Put this all together, and outside of Kurdistan it means we're fighting everyone: the Sunnis and both of the main Shiite factions, plus Syria and Iran."

A wag once quipped that the goal of Nazi diplomacy was to make new enemies. These people appear to have learned from the masters.

Posted by: Peter Principle on January 11, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

We invaded the Iranian consulate in Irbil yesterday.

'We' are also holding the Iranian diplomats prisoner. A consulate is not an embassy, but if the Iranians invaded a US consulate and took its inhabitants prisoner, US officials would claim sovereign US soil was invaded, the MSM would call the prisoners hostages and start a new nightly news program to count down the days until their release.

We need a nightly news program to count down the days to our unprovoked attack on Iran. Perhaps they can count the number of murdered children, too.

Posted by: Brojo on January 11, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is pulling troops out of Afghanistan to do this "surge." Afghanistan is already mere inches away from complete collapse back into Taliban Land.

And now he wants to expand the Iraqmire into Iran and Syria, even though it's clear we do not have the men, resources, or national desire to do so.

Bush's place in history will indeed be secured: He will go down as the first president of the United States to start and LOSE three wars. I think we can all agree that will be a singular achievement.

Posted by: Derelict on January 11, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Same old same old. When they say "Failure is not an option" read this to mean we have to stay for however long it takes to achieve stability. And, "withdrawing our support from the Maliki government if he doesn't follow through", don't read asw the US leaving Iraq, read as installation of a new government more amenable to US wishes. This follows from "failure is not an option".

Posted by: Neal on January 11, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: 'We' are also holding the Iranian diplomats prisoner. A consulate is not an embassy, but if the Iranians invaded a US consulate and took its inhabitants prisoner, US officials would claim sovereign US soil was invaded, the MSM would call the prisoners hostages and start a new nightly news program to count down the days until their release.

And the brownshirts on the Right would insist that it was an act of war.

So, again we see the Bush administration committing an act of war against a nation that has not committed an act of war against this country.

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

When they say "Failure is not an option" read this to mean we have to stay for however long it takes to achieve stability.

When this crowd says "failure is not an option" I read it as "failure is a certainty".

Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

a record number of Americans saluted their Commander-in-Chief with a raised middle finger.

I put a pantomime noose around W. Bush's head while he spoke.

Posted by: Brojo on January 11, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Or, perhaps, "failure is the only option?"

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

If failure is not an option, why is Bush continually pursuing it (and many times catching it) with such diligence?

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently the consulate we raided was in Kurdish territory, so the Kurds are unhappy too.

This is just flailing around.

Posted by: humble blogger on January 11, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

The bit about the Patriot batteries was the only part of the "speech" that mattered. It was a public declaration that we're in the countdown to an air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

I guess the White House figured they couldn't keep it secret, so why not slip in it with all the "surge" hoopla and hope people don't pay too much attention.

Posted by: Peter Principle on January 11, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

I see that I'm not the only one who noticed Bush's plan to "deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies." Like me, Brian Ulrich is confused about this.

If you planned on lauching a naval and air bombardment on a country, I'll call that country Nari and your intel folks tell you that Nari has a few thousand medium and long range missles. Not those little puny things Hezbollah has, but the real deal that could lay a hurt on you and your allies if they land. And let's say that you have 170,000 soft targets right next door to Nari, you might want to have a butt load Patriot systems around before you launch your next most excellent adventure against Nari.


Posted by: klyde on January 11, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Patriot missiles aer effective only as long as your base has power. Supplement them with a few Aegis cruisers and IFV's and you're all set.

Until the dreaded Kirovs arrive.

Posted by: Matt on January 11, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I Leonard Clark, candidate for the U.S. Senate against John McCain (2010) call on Senator McCain, to publicly to change his stance on the lie called the Surge, further, I call on John McCain to publicly repudiate, the Commander In Thief for his authorization to provoke a war with Iraq by seizing its diplomats from their nation's compound in the Kurdish part of Iraq earlier yesterday.

If John McCain, continues on with his support for the anti-American, anti-constitutional king George and further, continues to support war profiteers who are profiting off the blood of my fellow American soldiers in Iraq through No-Bid contracts than I will call publicly for his recall and all other Federally elected officials in Arizona who also support the Gangster George Bush and what I have just stated above: The Needless Killing of My Fellow American soldiers in Iraq.

Hello, my fellow activist. I just got back from the protest held in front of McCain's office this morning. It was truly inspirational to see young and old alike protesting in front of a major contributing accessory to the demonic George Bush (John McCain).

Well, sorry, for such a short letter. I am going to try and be in front of McCains's office again at 4:30 PM today. Also, even though I don't push politics at the school I am becoming increasingly concerned for my job as a teacher. My paycheck is almost a week late because the Federal Postal Service seems to have lost my check. I had my mail forwarded to my new address but all of my mail is arriving except of course for my paycheck. I am not yet ready to push the panic button because the postal service says that my check is probably just delayed because of the forwarding process but then I have to ask myself why has all my other mail been arriving (one letter coming all the way from the state of Ind.) ? Remember, my taxes were audited by the State of Arizona while I was still in Iraq and getting ready to come home a month later. Basically, one of the dirty tricks in politics is to try and smear the reputation of a candidate for office which I was and still am. But, I will not let these gangsters stop our quest for the removal of my fellow American soldiers from Iraq

I will wait until Saturday at that point, I will begin raising hell (non-violently of course). Well, I'm going to get going and thank you for your inspirational power and your soul power. NO MAS! NOT ONE AMERICAN SOLDIER SHOULD DIE IN IRAQ !

Truth To Power,

Leonard Clark

Persian Gulf/Iraq War III Vet
School Teacher
January 10th, 2006

Posted by: leonard clark on January 11, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Technically, Embassies are considered to be soveriegn territory. There is no difference between invading an embassy and crossing a border. Well, invading an embassy is a little ruder. Can anyone remember the last time an Embassy was invaded? oh thats right Tehran late 70s.

Posted by: jimmy on January 11, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

See, Bush thought he said he was extending the Patriot ACT to calm our friends and allies.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on January 11, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

My wife's reaction: "He didn't seem like he was asking for my support. He was just telling me what he was going to do."

Perceptive, that.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

a record number of Americans saluted their Commander-in-Chief with a raised middle finger.

I hate to be a tool about this but the CinC bit is rightist propaganda designed to build the boy king's standing. Unless you are a member of one of Americas armed forces on active duty George W Bush is NOT your commander-in-chief.

Posted by: klyde on January 11, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

there does seem to be some dispute over whether the building in Irbil was indeed a consulate.

the U.S. position seems to be that a bunch of Iranian intel officers took over a building and called it a "consulate"

there are some registration requirements and the like for it to be a genuine one.

I'm curious how this will play out.

Posted by: Nathan on January 11, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK
'We' are also holding the Iranian diplomats prisoner. A consulate is not an embassy, but if the Iranians invaded a US consulate and took its inhabitants prisoner, US officials would claim sovereign US soil was invaded, the MSM would call the prisoners hostages and start a new nightly news program to count down the days until their release.

A consulate is not an embassy, but it is, under international law, generally itself inviolable and the receiving state (here, Iraq) has a positive obligation under international law to protect it against any intrusion. Consular staff have particular protections (though not the sweeping immunity of diplomatic officers) that do not appear to have been observed here.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Congress--Democrats and Republicans--need to reign in the lunacy of George W. Bush and his advisers.

Expanding the war is completely goofy. Generals and admirals should be drafting resignation letters.

Expanding the war to Iran is folly. What's our the mission? How does further our national objectives?

And Bush is already crafting ways to move forward with no approval or reluctant approval from Congress.

No general or admiral should sign on for a major war that the American people don't want. It will put the U.S. military in an untenable position. Going to war with Iran will break the current military and make it exceedingly difficult politically to obtain the resources to recreate the military.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on January 11, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

to follow-up:

the "consulate" appears to have been recognized by the Kurds but not by the Iraqi national government.

I'm surmising that the U.S. position is that the Kurds didn't have standing to recognize a consulate (i.e. the Kurds act like Kurdistan exists but it doesn't actually....yet)

Posted by: Nathan on January 11, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK
Technically, Embassies are considered to be soveriegn territory.

Consulates are not embassies and consular officials are not embassy officials; the protections that apply are different, though somewhat similar.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: I've confirmed that the U.S. position is that it was not a consulate. I surmise that this is predicated on the Kurds not having standing to recognize a consulate.

This may, in fact, be true.

Posted by: Nathan on January 11, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, if the Israel lobby doesn't step up and oppose expanding the war to Iran, you can rest assured Israel will pay a price for Bush's Iran war.

It's going to look a lot like the Israeli gov't and the Israel lobby pushed for both the Iraq War and the Iran War after this is done.

And the Saudis better talk some sense to Bush too. Because it's sorta looking like we're whacking their regional rivals too.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on January 11, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I cannot get my head around this:

The insurgents are fighting for their country and their lives. They are enemies of Iraq, they are Iraq.

What would it be like if Bush decided to use the US Army and Marines to attack American citizens who do not agree with his maniacal power grab?

What if he also allowed the the Chinese Army to come in and help him?

Posted by: bcinaz on January 11, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: outside of Kurdistan it means we're fighting everyone: the Sunnis and both of the main Shiite factions, plus Syria and Iran.

Of course, Kevin is playing with words a bit. We're not fighting the Sunnis; we're fighting some Sunnis. And, we're not fighting the Shiites. Many or most of them would like the democratic government to succeed.

Bush is finally fighting all those who have been fighting against us. It's too bad that we have so many enemies in the middle east, but I'm glad Bush is finally facing the reality that these groups are our enemies. They're all undemocratic and militaristic. I'd be ashamed if we were not the enemies of these groups.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 11, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Carl Nyberg: BTW, if the Israel lobby doesn't step up and oppose expanding the war to Iran, you can rest assured Israel will pay a price for Bush's Iran war.

Iran has already announced that it is their policy to destroy Israel. They are building nuclear weapons which will allow them to do so. It's hard for me to see how the Iranian threat to Israel could be any worse.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 11, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Your wife is one sharp cookie, Kevin. It was a speech one would expect from a monarch, not a president. What was the line about, "this is unacceptable to the American people and it is unacceptable to me"? And just who do you think you work for, doorknob?

Bush has really let this imperial presidency thing go to his head. I expect him to start wearing a crown and carrying a scepter soon.

As far as fighting everyone, don't forget we are killing people in Somalia now too. And they ain't all al-Qaeda either, as King George would have you believe. Whoever posited that the Patriots were for Israel's protection, probably is right. When the fireworks against Tehran start, which they will unless we can take down Bush first, Iran will lash out againt Israel in retaliation. Count on it.

The only bright spot in all this is that the protests in the U.S continue to grow. A friend in D.C. called last night to say they are protesting outside the White House 24/7. Expect King George to travel this week, cuz he ain't gonna get any sleep at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over the chants of "Impeach Bush"!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 11, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK
the "consulate" appears to have been recognized by the Kurds but not by the Iraqi national government.

The Kurdistan Regional Government claims otherwise, stating in part:

The Presidency and the Kurdistan Regional Government express their dismay and condemnation of the American action against the official consulate of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The consulate was opened by agreement between the governments of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and enjoys immunity and protection under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

A number of other stories have quoted "Iraqi officials" who characterized the building as a consular mission, but mentioning uncertainty as to whether the detained persons were consular staff. I have seen no indication in any story that the the Iraqi government has claimed that it was not a properly-accredited consulate.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: . . . there are some registration requirements and the like for it to be a genuine one.

Let's see. The country is in chaos with no control over its own laws and its own people, but we're going to get the Iranians on a technicality, despite the likelihood that there is actually no one who can register the consulate anyway.

I wonder how many technicalities Bush has violated that Nathan has shamelessly excused . . .

Scores, at the very least.

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surmising that the U.S. position is that the Kurds didn't have standing to recognize a consulate (i.e. the Kurds act like Kurdistan exists but it doesn't actually....yet)
Posted by: Nathan

That's true it doesn't (yet), but the Kurds are our staunchest allies within Iraq. So until more info (a lot more) comes out, it's hard to see something like this as anything other than reckless and short-sighted. Oh right... that's SOP for the last three years.

Posted by: cyntax on January 11, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly what population is left to win the hearts and minds of?

We've got the Chaldeans solidly in our corner.

Posted by: Glenn on January 11, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: Of course, Kevin is playing with words a bit. We're not fighting the Sunnis; we're fighting some Sunnis. And, we're not fighting the Shiites.

Of course, Bush is playing with words a bit. We're not fighting the terrorists, we're fighting some terrorists, and generally not the ones who have attacked US soil.

Many or most of them would like the democratic government to succeed.

Another claimed fact without any empiracl evidence to back it up.

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Put this all together, and outside of Kurdistan it means we're fighting everyone:

Forward, in all directions.

Exactly what population is left to win the hearts and minds of?

Burma? Paraguay? The Citizen's of the US of A?

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on January 11, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, do you know shit about counter insurgency?

The population isn't divided into insurgents and non-insurgents. The population is divided into insurgents, people who support insurgents, people who sympathize with insurgents and others.

Most Iraqis are at least sympathetic with the insurgents of their ethnic group or sect.

Didn't some Iraqi high official say killing GIs was justified?

Bush is a fool. Hitler had more smarts about warfare than Bush. Bush's plan seems likely to iincrease the number of Iraqis who support and sympathize with insurgents.

What the fuck does going to war with Iran solve?

I can't recall using the term kool-aid drinker in the last year. But if you think Bush's "plan" is going to accomplish something positive for Iraq, you're a kool-aid drinker. You'll consume any amount of bullshit as long was you believe in your Dear Leader.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on January 11, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Iranian students confirmed that the Ayatolla's position was that it was not an embassy. No sovereign US land was violated 1979.

That was easy.

Not only will Bush's new aggression not work, neither will the Patriot anti-missile systems.

Posted by: Brojo on January 11, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK
I've confirmed that the U.S. position is that it was not a consulate.

Yes, US military officials are claiming that. On the other hand, Iraqi officials, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the Iranian government say it was a consulate.

Now, clearly, the Iranians have an interest in lying. But if both the Iraqi government and the regional government in Kurdistan are inventing stories to discredit the United States—the only way the US claims could be true—than things are fundamentally a lot worse than the wars remaining supporters (and especially the Administration) have admitted.

I surmise that this is predicated on the Kurds not having standing to recognize a consulate.

No one that I've seen, except you, claims that it status is dependent on "the Kurds" having recognized it. Iraqi officials characterize it as a consulate, and the Kurdistan Regional Government specifically claims that it was established by agreement between the Government of Iraq (not the Kurdistan Regional Government) and Islamic Republic of Iran. No one is claiming any independent Kurdish authority in recognizing the embassy.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I've confirmed that the U.S. position is that it was not a consulate.

What a conundrum -- if Nathan claims to have confirmed something, it's a safe bet that it isn't so.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

We've got the Chaldeans solidly in our corner.

And the Kurds are ethnically cleansing them out of the equation.

(aka Global Citizen)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on January 11, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Put this all together, and outside of Kurdistan it means we're fighting everyone: the Sunnis and both of the main Shiite factions, plus Syria and Iran.

I think it means that we are fighting those who oppose the government. In each engagement we have the support of the majority who support the government.

The next Iraqi election is scheduled for Jan, 2009, roughly coincident with Bush's departure from the presidency. The fundamental
"benchmark" for withdrawing American troops is that the Jan 2009 Iraqi election be carried out as well as the last Iraqi elections. I expect Bush to continue to push for victory in Iraq until he is clearly successful or until Congress rescinds his authority under the 2002 AUMF and orders him to bring the military home.

Today on NPR Sen. Levin spoke of the "symbolic votes" as the first step in a long campaign to force Bush to bring the troops home. He was a little less than forceful, saying that he hoped the votes would show Bush to be "alone" and thus persuade Bush to bring the soldiers home. Bush doesn't act like he especially minds being "alone", he acts like he wants to maximize the impact of his remaining time in office using any power and authority that he has. Your wife was right: he was acting on his authority, not asking for support. Like Grant, he is going to "fight it out on this line".

Posted by: calibantwo on January 11, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: The Iranian students confirmed that the Ayatolla's position was that it was not an embassy. No sovereign US land was violated 1979.

This is entirely possible. The Ayatolla's position was likely that the Shah's rule was illegitimate under Sharia law and therefore his government had no authority to grant diplomatic rights to the US.

This has some legitimacy because the Shah rose to power through what was essentially a foreign-sponsored and mediated coup, of which the Americans were both actors and beneficiaries.

Posted by: Nahtan on January 11, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Google_This, the evidence that most Iraqis want democracy to succeed is the huge number who risked their lives to vote in the last election, despite death threats to voters.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 11, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Many or most of them would like the democratic government to succeed.

...with them in control; therein lies the rub.

It's hard for me to see how the Iranian threat to Israel could be any worse.

Well, sure it's hard for you to see that, you dishonest neocon dipshit.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK
What a conundrum -- if Nathan claims to have confirmed something, it's a safe bet that it isn't so.

Usually, that's true, but there's plenty of confirmation available that the position of the US—or at least, the story currently being put out by military spokespersons—is that the facility was not an embassy.

No explanation has been put forward as to why our supposed friends in the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government would say it was a consulate if it wasn't, though.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Iran has already announced that it is their policy to destroy Israel. They are building nuclear weapons which will allow them to do so. It's hard for me to see how the Iranian threat to Israel could be any worse.
Posted by: ex-liberal

Not necessarily so. That's what was reported in the MSM, but then most reporters, and I imagine you, don't speak Persian. Here's how that speech was reperesented by Juan Cole whos does speak Persian:

    I object to this translation of what he said on two grounds. First, it gives the impression that he wants to play Hitler to Israel's Poland, mobilizing an armored corps to move in and kill people.

    But the actual quote, which comes from an old speech of Khomeini, does not imply military action, or killing anyone at all. The second reason is that it is just an inexact translation. The phrase is almost metaphysical. He quoted Khomeini that "the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time." It is in fact probably a reference to some phrase in a medieval Persian poem. It is not about tanks.

Posted by: cyntax on January 11, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote regarding the dispute over whether the raided building was not a consulate: Now, clearly, the Iranians have an interest in lying.

As do US officials, I might add.

And, of course, we're all familiar with Nathan's deep and abiding interest in lying.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

"On the other hand, Iraqi officials, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the Iranian government say it was a consulate."

some do, some don't. at least one Iranian official has referred to it as a "diplomatic representation" and not as a "consulate"

some Iraqi government officials have said they were uncertain what it was. others have referred to it as a "consulate"

I would suggest avoiding a rush to judgment. its simply too soon to know. (I know, that's preaching to the deaf around here)

Posted by: Nathan on January 11, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan wrote: I would suggest avoiding a rush to judgment.

Of course you would, given the possibility of embarrassment to the mendacious, incomeptent government you support.

I know, that's preaching to the deaf around here

No, it's preaching bullshit to those too familiar with your long record of ignorance and dishonesty to take you seriously.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: I've confirmed that the U.S. position is that it was not a consulate.

The US position was that Saddam had WMDs.

A number of other US positions have also proven to be false, including for example their position on Private Jessica Lynch and several which have lost in the US Supreme Court.

Not a very credible source, then.

ex-liberal: Google_This, the evidence that most Iraqis want democracy to succeed is the huge number who risked their lives to vote in the last election, despite death threats to voters.

Or evidence that they wanted the Americans (and consequently the foreign terrorists) out of their country as quickly as possible.

So, really, no empirical evidence of anything other than that the Iraqis voted.

Well, allegedly.

We know how the Bushies can cook the voting books.

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Usually, that's true, but there's plenty of confirmation available that the position of the US—or at least, the story currently being put out by military spokespersons—is that the facility was not an embassy.

Yes, that's why I said it's a conundrum. It's so rare for Nathan to make a claim that has any grounding in fact.

However, given that Nathan appears to endorse the position of US officials, I'd say it's a safe bet that that's a lie.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

the position of the US—or at least, the story currently being put out by military spokespersons—is that the facility was not an embassy.

Somehow I did not think any official of W. Bush's government would deem the Iranian consulate legitimate. Since the W. Bush government represents the will of God on Earth, many will think it true.

Posted by: Brojo on January 11, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

the evidence that most Iraqis want democracy to succeed is the huge number who risked their lives to vote in the last election, despite death threats to voters

How is that evidence that Iraqis want democracy -- as opposed to the political faction they voted for -- to succeed?

And that doesn't even take into consideration the fact that the various competing militias draw support from many of those same Iraqis who you claim risked their lives to vote.

Your threadbare platitudes in this thread have been a lame effort even for you, "ex-liberal." That even you aren't able to put lipstick on this pig is the clearest indication yet that your neocon policies are a disastrous failure.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK
at least one Iranian official has referred to it as a "diplomatic representation" and not as a "consulate"

A "diplomatic representation" isn't a legal classification, but a general, informal term that would include a consular or diplomatic mission.

It doesn't state that it is not a consulate.

some Iraqi government officials have said they were uncertain what it was. others have referred to it as a "consulate".

Okay, so what? Clearly, not every official of the Iraqi government would know whether it was a consulate. I have seen zero claims from anyone not in the employ of the US government stating that it was not a consulate.

If the Iraqi government and KRG were on the same side as the US, it would be in their interest not to leap out and characterize this as an embassy without knowing what they are talking about, but officials of the former and an official condemnation of the US action by the latter characterize it as an embassy.

There are only two possible situations: either the US is lying, or the US has badly alienated both the Iraqi government and, even more clearly, the Kurdistan Regional Government to the point that those two supposedly friendly bodies are either assuming the worst about the US or inventing hostile lies to discredit the US.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: I would suggest avoiding a rush to judgment. its simply too soon to know.

Because technicalities mean so much to Nathan, unless they involve a defense of the Bush administration.

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

There are only two possible situations: either the US is lying, or the US has badly alienated both the Iraqi government and, even more clearly, the Kurdistan Regional Government to the point that those two supposedly friendly bodies are either assuming the worst about the US or inventing hostile lies to discredit the US.

I'm compelled to point out that, in general, those two possibilities are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: There are only two possible situations: either the US is lying, or the US has badly alienated both the Iraqi government and, even more clearly, the Kurdistan Regional Government to the point that those two supposedly friendly bodies are either assuming the worst about the US or inventing hostile lies to discredit the US.

Given that a previous Bush administration looked the other way while Saddam gassed the Kurds and then rewarded Saddam with additional military aid, alienation of the Kurds seems to be a Bush-family predisposition.

I wonder how much longer the Kurds will endure betrayal from the Bushies?

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK
Given that a previous Bush administration looked the other way while Saddam gassed the Kurds and then rewarded Saddam with additional military aid, alienation of the Kurds seems to be a Bush-family predisposition.

One might also note that that same Bush also waged war against a Sunni-led Iraqi regime, and then betrayed the Shi'a when he encouraged them to rise up against that Sunni-led regime.

I wonder how much longer the Kurds will endure betrayal from the Bushies?

I think that question could fairly be extended beyond just the Kurds.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

One of my reactions is, given that for the 2000 presidential elections, America's hereditary, ultra-rich, neo-fascist corporate-feudalist ruling class wanted a candidate who could play the role of Ronald Reagan playing the role of a cowboy, they could have found somebody a lot more convincing than George W. Bush.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 11, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: "Iran has already announced that it is their policy to destroy Israel. They are building nuclear weapons which will allow them to do so."

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Iran is "building nuclear weapons". You are a liar.

I am increasingly inclined to believe that "ex-liberal" is a parody. His lies are so blatant and transparent, his assertions so idiotic, and his bashing of Democrats and "liberals" so formulaic, that it is hard to imagine that they are the sincere expressions of a real person's actual thoughts.

If they are sincere, then the depths of human stupidity are more abyssal than I had previously imagined.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 11, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Invading an embassy is something that only rogue states, like Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran, do. Is there any depth the Bush administration will not sink to?

Posted by: Joe Buck on January 11, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Will this have any long-range effect?

If so - if we succeed, the question is; why did Bush not do this a year ago? It was clear at least a year ago that Sadr had to go.

If he had - he would have had to accept those who were questioning his rationale and plan. And he was too much of an arrogant prick to let that happen, so he sacrificed the 2006 election (and 1000 troops, and countless Iraqis, and $100 billion) on the altar of his own arrogance.

I shudder to think of what will follow if this action fails. ($100/bbl oil, another 9/11).

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 11, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like Bush is angling for WWIII.

Now THAT'S a legacy!!!

Posted by: ckelly on January 11, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

why did Bush not do this a year ago?

A year ago Maliki was not in office, and the legislature had not yet been elected. In the last few months Maliki has come under pressure from the Iraqi legislature to control the Shi'ite militias. Even Sadr has called on his supporters to support the government, and some of them have defied his orders.

There are more differences from a year ago.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 11, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

A year ago Maliki was not in office, and the legislature had not yet been elected.

Yeah -- the American occupation was, at least nominally, in charge. Which again begs the question, why did Bush not do this a year ago?

There are more differences from a year ago.

Yeah -- Bush's Folly has grown a hell of a lot worse.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

If they are sincere, then the depths of human stupidity are more abyssal than I had previously imagined.

Remember, almost half of Americans are of below average intelligence. I suspect they are the ones that voted for Bush.

Posted by: qwerty on January 11, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, if the Israel lobby doesn't step up and oppose expanding the war to Iran, you can rest assured Israel will pay a price for Bush's Iran war.

You're kidding, right? The Israeli Lobby has been beating the drums for the US taking on Iran so that Israel does not have to.

Posted by: Disputo on January 11, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

According to cnn, the u.s. position is that there is an Iranian consulate in Irbil but the Iranians were not inside the consulate but instead taken from a different building. This seems plausible enough.

Posted by: Nathan on January 11, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

funny, how they're not calling it a "consulate" anymore.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070111/ts_nm/iraq_iran_raid_dc

of course there was the third possibility that cmdicely ignored when he said that there were "only two" eventualities -- that everyone was confused and that early reports (as they invariable are) were wrong.

Posted by: Nathan on January 11, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

According to cnn, the u.s. position is that there is an Iranian consulate in Irbil but the Iranians were not inside the consulate but instead taken from a different building. This seems plausible enough.

So the US position is that it is ok to snatch consular officials from within a third party country as long as the officials have stepped outside the walls of the consulate?

Well, at first I thought that the US was precipitating war with Iran by an outright act-of-war, but I guess all they want to do is provoke Iran to retaliate against this near act-of-war, and then GWB can label that an act-of-war.

Posted by: Disputo on January 11, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

of course there was the third possibility that cmdicely ignored when he said that there were "only two" eventualities -- that everyone was confused and that early reports (as they invariable are) were wrong.

LMAO. Right. One Reuters article doesn't use the word "consulate", and so the retard Nathan concludes that the Kurdish Regional Gvmt got it all wrong. Just more proof that Bush cultists will grab at any straw to justify the insanity of their leader.

Posted by: Disputo on January 11, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Remember your own meme, conservatives; increased violence (read "surge") by a party to a conflict is the sign of desperation from those who've already been defeated.

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK
According to cnn, the u.s. position is that there is an Iranian consulate in Irbil but the Iranians were not inside the consulate but instead taken from a different building. This seems plausible enough.

It is less plausible, though, that the Kurdistan government, whose capital is also in Irbil and whose forces were reportedly guarding the site after the raid occurred would not know where the raid actually occurred. So the question still remains of why the Kurdistan Regional Government issued an official condemnation of the attack and its violation of the consulate if the attack did not, in fact, violate the consulate?

Its also worth noting that apparently another raid was attempted at Irbil airport, but thwarted by Kurdish peshmerga.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

funny, how they're not calling it a "consulate" anymore.

Funny how the Kurdish government is:

Iraqi Kurds demand MNF to release Iranian consulate staff


IRBIL, Jan 11 (KUNA) -- The Presidency and government of Iraq's Kurdistan Thursday demanded the Multi-National Force (MNF) to release Iranian consulate staff members who were detained earlier today.

They expressed in a statement their dissatisfaction towards the incident and said that attacking a consulate violates 1963's Vienna conventions regarding diplomatic immunity of foreign consulates.

The statement pointed out that the operation contradicted with the Iraqi government's efforts to impose peace and stability in the country.

"Citizens of Iraq's Kurdistan express their dissatisfaction to such operations which violate the region internal affairs and create tension between Iraq and neighboring countries, therefore Iraqi Kurds demand the immediate release of the Iranian officials," the statement concluded.

American military forces backed by aircraft have burst into Iranian representation offices in the center of the northern city of Irbil.

http://www.kuna.net.kw/home/Story.aspx?Language=en&DSNO=941557

Posted by: Windhorse on January 11, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

of course there was the third possibility that cmdicely ignored

What Nathan ignores is that he's shown himself to be a fool, a scoundrel and a liar, and so only a fool would take his comments seriuously.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

So, first the US military said there wasn't a consulate at all.

Now they say there was a consulate, but that's not what they attacked.

Hmmmmmm . . . shades of Jessica Lynch and Pat Tilley . . . the stories told by the US military keeps changing hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month . . .

In other words, they're getting caught in lies, telling lies to cover the lies, then making up more lies to justify lying in the first place.

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK
of course there was the third possibility that cmdicely ignored when he said that there were "only two" eventualities -- that everyone was confused and that early reports (as they invariable are) were wrong.

First, I said "situations", not "eventualities", refering to what is not what may eventually come to pass. The two words mean different things.

Second, no, the Kurdistani government issuing an official denunciation without trusting the US government enough to verify facts falls well within the "assuming the worst" version of second of the two situations I proposed, which were, again, either:

  1. the US is lying, or
  2. the US has badly alienated both the Iraqi government and, even more clearly, the Kurdistan Regional Government to the point that those two supposedly friendly bodies are either assuming the worst about the US or inventing hostile lies to discredit the US.
Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

You're kidding, right? The Israeli Lobby has been beating the drums for the US taking on Iran so that Israel does not have to.

Nah, they get neocon shill "ex-liberal" and his/her/its ilk to do it.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Iran has already been committing acts of war in Iraq. That was learned when 5 "diplomats" and intelligence officers were captured and released recently.

A US military spokesman in Baghdad told the New York Times newspaper that the raid had produced "specific intelligence from highly credible sources that linked individuals and locations with criminal activities".

The spokesman added that "some of that specific intelligence dealt explicitly with force protection issues including attacks on Multinational Forces".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6232735.stm

When Iran sent senior intelligence officers to Iraq to help implement attacks on Multilateral forces, they committed an act of war against us.

What should we do about the fact that Iran has been making war on us (and on the elected Iraqi government)? Ignoring it can't be good. Hopefully, Bush's warning last night along with today's action will convince Iran to stop their warmaking.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 11, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

On re-reading the text of Bush's speech, I noticed a subtle change in his standard message.

There was no mention of the phrase "failure is not an option." During the speech President Bush said that failure "would be a disaster" and that "America must succeed."

But he went on to say that if the Iraqi government didn't follow through on its promises it would lose the support of the American people, thereby acknowledging failure is indeed an option.

Am I missing something? Bush's policy has already failed and the American people have already withdrawn their support.

There are no mulligans in war.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on January 11, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's warning last night along with today's action will convince Iran to stop their warmaking.

What, precisely is the name of your drug dealer and will you send me his beeper number under cover of separate email? I went to college for over a decade and never - not even at Kirby's (Hi Dr.S) smoked anything as potent as you obviously enjoy on a regular basis.

Seriously - why would you make such a stupid statement? (I know, I know - YOU DON'T KNOW) Especially since we have been mucking about in Iran since the invasion?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on January 11, 2007 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: That was learned when 5 "diplomats" and intelligence officers were captured and released recently.

If they were released, then they must not have been committing acts of war.

In any event, they cannot commit an act of war against the US in Iraq, but only Iraq.

The US is there illegally and has no standing.

When Iran sent senior intelligence officers to Iraq to help implement attacks on Multilateral forces, they committed an act of war against us.

Nope. Wrong again. Even if you had proof. Which you don't.

I repeat: Remember your own meme, conservatives; increased violence (read "surge") by a party to a conflict is the sign of desperation from those who've already been defeated.

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Iran has already been committing acts of war in Iraq.

...and quotes the US military -- which we've already established as having a motivation to lie -- to justify why the US may well have committed an act of war against Iran.

What should we do about the fact that Iran has been making war on us (and on the elected Iraqi government)?

Your assertion of fact does not establish that it is, indeed, a fact.

Indeed, your assertion that the sky was blue would prompt me to go look out the window to check, you lying toad.

Tell ya what, "ex-liberal," you want a war with Iran that badly, you go fight it.

Posted by: Gregory on January 11, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Doing a little digging, I've found this story, which may shed a little more light. If it is correct, the Iranian liaison office was, in fact, raided, but that office had not yet been officially designated a consulate, but the officials there were performing consular functions. That would suggest that the head of the mission and staff were admitted provisionally without having received an "exequatur", and were thus not officially designated as "consular" staff yet. However, under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, even provisional admission activates the protections of Convention, as to the premises, the persons of the staff, and the documents and archives.

This is all consistent with the statement of the Kurdistani Presidency that the facility was protected under the Vienna Convention. It is consistent with the US claim that it was not technically a consulate, though not with the US claim that there was a consulate but they attacked some other building.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 11, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: That was learned when 5 "diplomats" and intelligence officers were captured and released recently.

BTW, you and Bush seem to have a real problem with understanding the meaning of "learned."

E.g. "we 'learned' that Iraq had been seeking nuclear materials in Niger" was not actually something we learned; some, based on wishful thinking, may have "supsected" it, but they didn't "learn" anything.

Clearly, neither has ex-liberal.

So, I think perhaps that word does not mean what you think it means.

Posted by: Google_This on January 11, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Shifting the topic for a bit:

AP reports that "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has agreed to crack down on fighters controlled by his most powerful political ally, Muqtada al-Sadr." If that's right, it means we are indeed declaring war on Sadr and the Mahdi Army.

BushCo and the rightwing loonies have been trying to turn al-Sadr into the next Saddam for quite some time. If we do attack him, we'll be attacking a member of the "democracy" we claim to be fighting for. Just another point to show how stupid Bush and his allies are.

Posted by: Jeff on January 11, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, Kevin Drum, for these multi-faceted posts. Much to comment on, for days. Plus more above the fold.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 11, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Bush: "To my friends in Iran and Syria, I give you Tonkin II."
Posted by: vachon on January 11, 2007 at 12:45 PM

Well, at first I thought that the US was precipitating war with Iran by an outright act-of-war, but I guess all they want to do is provoke Iran to retaliate against this near act-of-war, and then GWB can label that an act-of-war.
Posted by: Disputo on January 11, 2007 at 4:36 PM

I think they are clearly baiting the Iranians. If they are foolish enough to *easily* take the bait and attack us-then it's "Shock and Awe Part II". I'm just not sure how far we will escalate the baiting behavior. Take it to the hilt or just do it for PR points?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 12, 2007 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Remember, almost half of Americans are of below average intelligence. I suspect they are the ones that voted for Bush.

In the immortal words of Ron Thomason, it's hard to believe that only half the people are dumber than average.

Posted by: just sayin on January 12, 2007 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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