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Tilting at Windmills

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January 18, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

STRAIGHT TALK....Shorter Nouri al-Maliki: Just give us all your guns and then get out. We'll take care of the rest.

Kevin Drum 12:47 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (90)

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How Churchillian.

"Give us the tools, and we'll finish the job."

Posted by: Conrad (Con) Sordino on January 18, 2007 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Diem

Posted by: gregor on January 18, 2007 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, just leave, you Americans, and don't watch for a while, and when you turn around, bingo! No more Sunnis! Won't that be nice?

Posted by: Malaki on January 18, 2007 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

I am certain this is a stupid question, but does Maliki intend for us to arm up the Sunnis as well? How about the Kurds? Ok, I know the answer, they were rhetorical questions. I'll be honest though, I am so tired of Iraq that if there were an equitable and acceptable way for apportionment of arms and ammo, I would be ready to accept this offer and start lining up the luxury liners to sail our folks on home. The one certainty is that Maliki's suggestion would be far superior to ANYTHING Bush will engage in.

Posted by: bmaz on January 18, 2007 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Where's Don King?

Posted by: browse on January 18, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Drills. We'll need those too. And bits. Lots of bits. Metric? British? Who cares? Oh, and nail guns. Those are fun. And, ...

Posted by: browse on January 18, 2007 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, we are reaching the end run. I think I have already stated the shortfalls to come. What does any war come to?

My god, there is no one on the far right to admit they did anything wrong. On the left, I hope we are willing to stand back from this disaster.

Enough. The right has done enough damage. Enough done. I think we all know that.

Posted by: notthere on January 18, 2007 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

What's that episode of Star Trek, where they have to give phasers to Tribe B because Tribe A has stolen them from some other starship, and they want to maintain an indefinite balance of terror until the combatants all realize the pointlessness of war?

I thought that was a really cool idea - when I was 8. Now I'm sort of thinking, what the fuck gives Captain Kirk the right to decide whether one faction, the other, or neither should win?

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 18, 2007 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

It sucks to be a Sunni in old Baghdad.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on January 18, 2007 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

A Jerry Bruckheimer Production Presents:

Bush

Colin Farrell as GWB
Val Kilmer as GHWB
Angelina Jolie as Laura Bush
Karl Rove as Aristotle
Jason Alexander as Rove the Younger
James Earl Jones as Condoleezza Rice

Posted by: djibouti embedded on January 18, 2007 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe

I was thinking about the Trek ep with the gangsters:

Oxmix: So here's the deal. Give me all the heaters I need to knock off all those punks all at once. I'll take over, and all you'll have to do is deal with me.

Posted by: jimBOB on January 18, 2007 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

So...I'm taking bets on how soon we demand regime change and declare war on Iraq again pursuant to our "vital interests" there.

Posted by: Jimm on January 18, 2007 at 3:12 AM | PERMALINK

I'll be honest though, I am so tired of Iraq that if there were an equitable and acceptable way for apportionment of arms and ammo, I would be ready to accept this offer and start lining up the luxury liners to sail our folks on home.

You and me both...that's been my worst-case scenario withdrawal plan for over a year now. I bring it up in these threads once in awhile, after mentioning the better options (creating a big regional conference, sealing a Grand Bargain including the regional powers and neighbors, including Iran and Israel, and then let the region lead the way in helping to bring order to Iraq).

The longer we wait to do a Grand Bargain, the less viable it becomes to prevent Iraq from descending into complete chaos and factional bloodletting. I've never had much confidence in our own ability to prevent that, since we'll never come close to having enough boots on the ground to do it without just flushing targets from targeted area to untargeted area, and we also don't have the support of the population in these areas so will never be able to remedy the situation long-term (i.e. they'll wait us out).

The best we can do in the meantime is prevent mixed populations from cleansing each other, and we're not every effective at that either so the clock is ticking...

Posted by: Jimm on January 18, 2007 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

As long as there is any chance someone else will get control of those oil fields, EXXON et. al. will make sure Bush/Cheney keep US troops there. It's no mistake they didn't go ahead with putting in those pipe meters until after Iraq signed away control of the fields to them.

The only ways out are impeachment or electiom 2008.

Posted by: joe on January 18, 2007 at 3:46 AM | PERMALINK

djibouti embedded: "James Earl Jones as Condoleezza Rice"

Uh-uh. Mr. Jones has apparently already been contracted by George Lucas to provide the voice of Dick Cheney.

Whitney Houston is the obvious choice to play Ms. Rice, because "there were lines on the mirror, lines on her face; she pretended not to notice she was caught up in the race."

Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are perfect as the Bush twins. And who else could play family matriarch Barbara "Beautiful Mind" Bush but a former Marine, Bea Arthur?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 18, 2007 at 4:55 AM | PERMALINK

And American troops are staying in this country why???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 18, 2007 at 5:32 AM | PERMALINK

Here is how I would cast it:

William Macy as George W. Bush
Don Knotts as George H.W. Bush
Peter Boyle as Karl Rove
Foster Brooks as Dick Cheney (with head shaved)
Whoopi Goldberg as Condi Rice
Julia Childs as Barbara Bush

The fact that many of the cast are dead would simply add a touch of versimilitude. The Keystone Kops could be the supporting players...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 18, 2007 at 5:50 AM | PERMALINK

Don't know...I've kind of got in my head:

The Swedish Chef from The Muppets as GWB
Waldorf (see above) as GHB
Gollum as Karl Rove
Herman Goering as Dick Cheney
Helen Mirren as Condi Rice
and Barbara Bush...who cares, frankly?

Posted by: Al on January 18, 2007 at 6:20 AM | PERMALINK

But, of course, any plan for US withdrawal must include continued support for the Maliki government. There is no plan from anywhere on the US political spectrum that includes simply abandoning the Iraqis. It remains true that the Iraqi government is too reliant upon the US military for heavy firepower and advanced equipment. There is no legal basis for dealing with anyone other than the legitimate Iraqi government, therefore any withdrawal plan means dealing with Maliki.

Prime Minister Maliki is just pointing out the obvious.

Posted by: Trashhauler on January 18, 2007 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK

Could they play Darth Vader's theme instead of Hail to the chief at the next public presidential function?

Posted by: ColdLouie on January 18, 2007 at 6:27 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe: what the fuck gives Captain Kirk the right to decide whether one faction, the other, or neither should win?"

Later on, in this fictional world, the Prime Directive forbade interfering with indigenous peoples. Had Bushco obeyed the Prime Directive, we would not be in Iraq at all. I just hate when fiction provides better leadership than the actual government.

Casting office...Perhaps Christopher Walken as Donald Rumsfeld?

Posted by: PTate in FR on January 18, 2007 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

I always thought that Wilfred Brimley, sans moustache, would play a good Cheney

Posted by: Botecelli on January 18, 2007 at 6:59 AM | PERMALINK

Maliki claims to be standing us. It's our turn to stand down. I am sure Maliki has the best interests of all Iraqis at heart. NOT.

Can we bring our troops home now?

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 18, 2007 at 7:21 AM | PERMALINK

"Standing up." Not "standing us." Frankly, he can't stand us.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 18, 2007 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

Works for me.

It's civil war in a failed state for the foreseeable future no matter what we do.

The only question is how many American soldiers and Marines we are willing to throw onto the pyre before we get out.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on January 18, 2007 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

I always thought that Wilfred Brimley, sans moustache, would play a good Cheney

For a good dose of Wilfred Brimley, sans moustache, check out John Carpenter's The Thing, in which Brimley portrays a paranoid biologist. As a bonus, he goes postal with a pistol and an axe!

With moustache, Brimley could play John Bolton.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Yet more confirmation, if it were needed:

Iran offered the US a package of concessions in 2003, but it was rejected, a senior former US official has told the BBC's Newsnight programme.
One of the then Secretary of State Colin Powell's top aides told the BBC the state department was keen on the plan - but was over-ruled.

"We thought it was a very propitious moment to do that," Lawrence Wilkerson told Newsnight.

"But as soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the Vice-President's office, the old mantra of 'We don't talk to evil'... reasserted itself."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6274147.stm

Posted by: Billy on January 18, 2007 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Trashy wrote: But, of course, any plan for US withdrawal must include continued support for the Maliki government.

Why not? After all, the Bush Administration originally planned to install a pro-Irabnian puppet, Chalabi.

There is no plan from anywhere on the US political spectrum that includes simply abandoning the Iraqis.

Careful, Trashy, you're letting your Dolchstosslegende talking points slip a little early. Keep your powder dry, man!

In any case, bullshit. Check all the references to the Iraqis' responsibility, and it's beyond clear that the Rove brain trust is, as it has always been, perfectly willing to sacrifice Iraqis on the altar of Republican ambitions.

It remains true that the Iraqi government is too reliant upon the US military for heavy firepower and advanced equipment.

You forgot -- purely by accident, I'm sure -- ground troops.

There is no legal basis for dealing with anyone other than the legitimate Iraqi government

Since when has Bush cared about a "legal basis" for anything he finds politically expedient? Besides, the factthat the Iraqi government is manifestly unable to maintain order renders it illegitimate, as Thomas Hobbes pointed out centuries ago.

therefore any withdrawal plan means dealing with Maliki.

And any plan for Vietnam meant "dealing with" Diem.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

After all, the Bush Administration originally planned to install a pro-Iranian puppet, Chalabi.

Instead, they have installed pro-Iranian puppet Maliki, and others. see: http://justworldnews.org/

Posted by: Billy on January 18, 2007 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

This is a good news story. Maliki is stating that the Iraqis are ready to step up to the plate. All we have to do is hand them a bat.

And the liberals are still complaining. Some things never change.

Posted by: Al on January 18, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Took long enough for the troll to appear. Forget to set your ALarm?

Posted by: whew on January 18, 2007 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Laugh if you want, "whew". Give the Iraqis bats, lots of bats, and they will demonstrate their prowess at baseball.

Posted by: Al on January 18, 2007 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Kneecaps.

Posted by: whew on January 18, 2007 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Gregory, I thought you were in favor of our withdrawing? Whatever you think about the Administration's penchant for perfidy, anybody's withdrawal plan is going to include some lasting, substantial support for the existing Iraqi government.

Hobbe's nothwithstanding, there is no regular international process for declaring a government illegitimate. In any case, the ability to maintain order is a relative measure, as unlikely to gain consensus as any other measure.

Posted by: Trashhauler on January 18, 2007 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Alfred E Neuman ("What me worry?") as GWB

Stephen Colbert (or perhaps Rip Torn if he lost a few pounds) as Rumsfeld

Danny DeVito as Karl Rove

Posted by: 2.7182818 on January 18, 2007 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

This is a good news story. Maliki is stating that the Iraqis are ready to step up to the plate. All we have to do is hand them a bat.


The Iraqis (meaning the Shiia, who are our allies, the Sunni don't count) have been stepping up for some time. Who do you think has been kidnapping, torturing and killing the Sunni for the last twenty months or so? Who have beeen organizing the death squads and militia? Who have taken over the important ministries and used them to oppress religious minorities and women? Who has been reaching out a friendly hand to the Iranians?

Posted by: Jose Padilla on January 18, 2007 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how long it will be before the United Republic of Iraqn (Iranq?) becomes a nuclear state.

Posted by: B on January 18, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Egbert is a parody troll.

He's had you all fooled.

Woody Harrelson as Karl Rove.

Didn't you see him in King Pin?

Danny DeVito (on stilts) as Cheney

He was great as The Penguin

Posted by: Egbert Beater on January 18, 2007 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

This is a good news story. Maliki is stating that the Iraqis are ready to step up to the plate. All we have to do is hand them a bat. Al

Wasn't a baseball bat Al Capone's personal weapon of choice.


Posted by: Ron Byers on January 18, 2007 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Eddie Murphy as Condolezza Rice.

Posted by: Eddie's Agent on January 18, 2007 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Wasn't a baseball bat Al Capone's personal weapon of choice.

Nah. That's Joe Pesci.

Posted by: B. DeNiro on January 18, 2007 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone is having a lot of fun with this, but, at the end of the day, something like this IS how it's going to play out.

We're not staying forever (the sooner we leave, the better, IMHO). And there's no way the Shiite government is going to be defeated by the minority Sunni insurgents.

What Maliki proposes (or something like it) is the reality.

Posted by: The Commissar on January 18, 2007 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

What Maliki proposes (or something like it) is the reality.

We know. Hopefully you can forgive us for noting that there is no elegant way to climb out of the pooper.

Posted by: B on January 18, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

My prediction:

1. Give guns to Maliki.

2. Maliki gives guns to Sadr.

3. Iraq percolates for twenty years.

4. President Jenna Bush invades Iraq to take out Sadr to prevent him from attacking America.

5. Lather. Rinse. Repeat every twenty years.

Posted by: Tuna on January 18, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Halle Berry as Condo Rice

Posted by: 2.7182818 on January 18, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Danny DeVito (on stilts) as Cheney Posted by: Egbert Beater on January 18, 2007 at 9:41 AM

No stilts needed with Cheney being on his knees to Big Oil so long.

But I seriously believe that Mr DeVito would snub the part.

Posted by: Zit on January 18, 2007 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

This is a good news story. Maliki is stating that the Iraqis are ready to step up to the plate. All we have to do is hand them a bat.
And the liberals are still complaining. Some things never change.
Posted by: Al on January 18, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

What really freaks me out is that you have no inkiling of why this might be dangerous for our interest. How can I vote Republican when they are not smart enought to conduct foreign policy.

Posted by: Nemesis on January 18, 2007 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

US-Iranian naval clash in the Persian Gulf. Details still unclear.

Posted by: ajay on January 18, 2007 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Maliki may have described exactly what will happen. We can do it now or wait until 2009, merely to save face of people running for office in 2008. Honestly, some Republican candidates must secretly crave to see it over with. McCain cannot honestly want to fulfill any proposals to escalate to the hilt. That would neither work nor be financially feasible. Better that it be merely a rhetorical posture.

Posted by: JKoch on January 18, 2007 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Trashy, the second time you made those assertions was, sadly, no more convincing then the first.

Hobbe's nothwithstanding, there is no regular international process for declaring a government illegitimate. In any case, the ability to maintain order is a relative measure, as unlikely to gain consensus as any other measure.

Shorter Trashy: No matter how bad the violence, nor how little Maliki controls outside the Green Zone, we Bush Supporters can pretned his government is legitimate!

Whatever, Trashy.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK
US-Iranian naval clash in the Persian Gulf. Details still unclear.

Or, perhaps, not:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. defence officials on Thursday said a rumoured Iranian missile strike on a U.S. naval vessel in the Gulf was not true.

"No such event took place," said one of the officials on condition of anonymity.

The bond market briefly pared losses on talk of possible military engagement between the United States and Iran, but turned back down after the U.S. Defence Department said the incident did not occur.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2007 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

We're not staying forever

YES WE ARE

Posted by: klyde on January 18, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler:

There is no legal basis for dealing with anyone other than the legitimate Iraqi government

The foreign commerce powers of the Congress (among others) in Article I, Section 8, provide all the legal basis the US government needs to deal with whoever it chooses in Iraq, whether or not it is the government or anyone else.

Hobbe's nothwithstanding,

Er, Hobbes, anyway...

there is no regular international process for declaring a government illegitimate.

There is no regular international process for declaring that the color of the sky, either, which absence does nothing preventing people from noticing and acting based on that color.

Of course, your noting that there is no regular international process for declaring a government "illegitimate" as if that renders the question of legitimacy moot undermines your earlier attempt to say that we can only deal with the "legitimate" government.

(Actually, there are regular national and international processes for declaring a government illegitimate, such as withdrawing recognition, recognizing an alternative regime, or seating an alternative regime in the illegitimate regimes place in the UN or other international bodies. There is not one single controlling process that is decisive, however.)

In any case, the ability to maintain order is a relative measure, as unlikely to gain consensus as any other measure.

Consensus is irrelevant to the ability of individual governments and/or decision makers to act on apparent illegitimacy. You are posting a mixture of contradictory and irrelevant spew, which I suppose well befits your handle.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Albert Brooks would totally kick ass as Cheney.

Posted by: Allen K. on January 18, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

cm,

Your points are noted and are, as usual, cogent and correct. It still remains unlikely that anyone in our government is going to suspend treating with the Maliki government or its successor. It also appears probable that Maliki's statement is indicative of a willingness to play the game our way, at least enough to provide a way out of the morass.

As always, I thank you for the insult at the end of your post.

Posted by: Trashhauler on January 18, 2007 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

U.S. defence officials on Thursday said a rumoured Iranian missile strike on a U.S. naval vessel in the Gulf was not true.

"No such event took place," said one of the officials on condition of anonymity.

Well, that's progress, anyway...it took the Pentagon years to admit the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was phony.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK
It still remains unlikely that anyone in our government is going to suspend treating with the Maliki government or its successor.

Yeah, I mean, its not like anyone in our government would suggest putting them in the position of either acheiving concrete results or us cutting them off at the knees by cutting off funding for their security forces and the private contractors providing security for their officials.

I mean, unless your definition of "our government" includes within its scope the Senate of the United States.

It also appears probable that Maliki's statement is indicative of a willingness to play the game our way

Er, no, its not. Maliki's statements simply rejected most of the criticism, both from the Executive Branch of our government and elsewhere, about the divergence between the way his government has been acting and "our way", and asked for us to trust him. In fact, he's pulled a page from the Bush Administration playbook and turned it on the Bush Administration, claiming that criticism of his government from the US administration gives "morale boosts for the terrorists".

Maliki doesn't give any hint of a willingness to play by any rules but those he already has been playing by.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Trashy wrote: Your points are noted and are, as usual, cogent and correct.

Whereas Trashy's have been shown to be neither cogent nor correct... Nevertheless!

It still remains unlikely that anyone in our government is going to suspend treating with the Maliki government or its successor.

Trashy repeats his assertion yet again, the thrid time being no more convincing than the first two.

It also appears probable that Maliki's statement is indicative of a willingness to play the game our way, at least enough to provide a way out of the morass.

Shorter Trashy: Bush has screwed Iraq up so badly I have to pretend Maliki's actions have a snowball's chance in hell of, much less are intended to, "provide a way out of the morass."

As always, I thank you for the insult at the end of your post.

Alas, Trashy, time and space limitations prohibit providing the volume of richly deserved and apt insults due you for your reflexive and dishonest support of the Bush Administration and its disastrous policies.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Then he'll just massacre more Sunnis. Have you seen that horrible video just advertised on Drudge sometimes, about the secret prisons, the rape and torture, the killing of witnesses? And, read Fareed's editorial in Newsweek.

Posted by: Neil B. on January 18, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

FUBAR, n, foo-bar:
Fucked up beyond all recognition: for ex, Iraq:
Maliki wants to cleanse the Sunnis but the US says no because SA is Sunni.
Maliki is a Shiia along with Iran, making the sunnis the only thing that stands in the way of a Shiia super nation (Iraq/Iran).
US troops, God help em, don't know whether to shit or carry water.
The surge is supposed to clear baghdad while the malitia lay low.

Posted by: The fake fake al on January 18, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

2.7182818 said:
Stephen Colbert (or perhaps Rip Torn if he lost a few pounds) as Rumsfeld

Let's hire a personal trainer for Rip Torn and get Stephen Colbert to play Rick Santorum. Don't you think that performance would be pretty rewarding?

Posted by: cowalker on January 18, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

I know many people are rightly concerned about Shiites killing Sunnis wholesale. I share that concern, but also know that the Sunnis have earned mush of the retaliation and retribution that is being visited upon them by the Iraqi Shiites. My hope is that once the Shiites have assumed political control over the country and have subdued most of the Sunni militias, they will not continue the mass murder. I think Shiites, unlike Sunnis, have a moral aversion to the kind of long term mass murdering repression seen in the histroy of Iraq.

I am not insensitive to the fate of the Sunnis. I just think that this fate was put into play by the US invasion and very little can be done to stop it except a return of Baathist repression, which would just mirror the Shiite repression anyway. I support Prime Minister Malichi's position and say provide the Iraqi government the weapons they need and withdraw all US forces from Iraq.

The Bush opposition to this proposal has nothing to do with saving Sunni lives. Bush wants to keep Iraq occupied with US troops in order to protect the oil companies' interests in the Iraqi oil fields. Bush's appeal to foster a plural Iraqi society is a lie used to continue our occupation. Iraq may become a plural society again someday, but only through incremental changes initiated by themselves.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo

I agree with much of what you say, but reject your claim the sunnis have it coming. Do you know who generally ends up dead in one of these ethnic cleansing campaigns. Poor women, children and others who can't move fast enough to get out of the way. The rich and the guilty generally see the genocide coming and leave the country with their ill gotten gains. Most of the Sunnis who have been and will be killed won't have it coming. They will just be the Sunnis the Shia can catch. Mass murder is always mass murder.

Given the history of the relationship between the Sunnis and the Shia hoping that mass murder not continue is just that--a hope.

No, Maliki's implicit call for genocide might be the only "solution" possible, but that doesn't make it any less genocide.

There has to be a special place in hell for a President who would invade a country without considering what will happen the day after he subdues the enemy army.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 18, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I do not think the Sunnis deserve the Shiite repression, but that it is the very same type of repression the Sunnis used on the Shiites. The poor women and children being killed today are not different than the women and children killed thirty, twenty and ten years ago. If I thought there was any way to stop the bloodshed between the two religious factions I would advocate it. But I do not think there is. Either the Sunnis are going to dominate the Shi'a with bloodshed or the Shi'a are going to dominate the Sunnis with bloodshed. I do not think there is any other outcome available at this time.

What I do think differentiates the Sunnis from the Shi'a is a willingness to commit longterm slaughter as policy. Historically the Shi'a have not been a repressive people like the Sunnis. Maybe they just never had the chance. I could be wrong, and probably am, as the Iraqi Shi'a are Arab and not Iranian, but what other hope is available? As far as I am concerned, if the American people did not want the Shiites to repress the Sunnis in Iraq, they should not have invaded. The US invasion unleashed this slaughter and nothing can prevent it now.

I said ealier I supported Malichi. I was wrong to write that. I do not support providing the Iraqi Shiites with overwhelming force. Actually it is a dilemma. If the Shiites do not have enough weapons to protect themselves they will be repressed by the Sunnis, who receive support from most of the Arab world. If the Shi'a have too many weapons they may enact genocide.

I support an immediate withdrawal, hope the Iraqi Civil War is short and results in a nation where all can live together without sectarian murder. But what I support is not the reality. The reality is one or the other faction is going to pound the shit out of the other. I just hope the eventual winner is sickened by the violence and tries to build a society where all can worship freely. I think the best hope for that outcome is a Shi'a dominated Iraq.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Thoughts on a nuclear attack on Iran,

http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2007/01/nuclear-war_18.html

A former member of the National Security Council gave me a possible answer. Bush can bury his defeat in Iraq with a “victory” in Iran.

Posted by: cld on January 18, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

I do not think the Sunnis deserve the Shiite repression, but that it is the very same type of repression the Sunnis used on the Shiites. The poor women and children being killed today are not different than the women and children killed thirty, twenty and ten years ago. If I thought there was any way to stop the bloodshed between the two religious factions I would advocate it. But I do not think there is. Either the Sunnis are going to dominate the Shi'a with bloodshed or the Shi'a are going to dominate the Sunnis with bloodshed. I do not think there is any other outcome available at this time.

What I do think differentiates the Sunnis from the Shi'a is a willingness to commit longterm slaughter as policy. Historically the Shi'a have not been a repressive people like the Sunnis. Maybe they just never had the chance. I could be wrong, and probably am, as the Iraqi Shi'a are Arab and not Iranian, but what other hope is available? As far as I am concerned, if the American people did not want the Shiites to repress the Sunnis in Iraq, they should not have invaded. The US invasion unleashed this slaughter and nothing can prevent it now.

I said ealier I supported Malichi. I was wrong to write that. I do not support providing the Iraqi Shiites with overwhelming force. Actually it is a dilemma. If the Shiites do not have enough weapons to protect themselves they will be repressed by the Sunnis, who receive support from most of the Arab world. If the Shi'a have too many weapons they may enact genocide.

I support an immediate withdrawal, hope the Iraqi Civil War is short and results in a nation where all can live together without sectarian murder. But what I support is not the reality. The reality is one or the other faction is going to pound the shit out of the other. I just hope the eventual winner is sickened by the violence and tries to build a society where all can worship freely. I think the best hope for that outcome is a Shi'a dominated Iraq.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Apologies for the double post.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

I still think that there is hope for partition, which is, IMO, the only way to circumvent genocide.

Posted by: Disputo on January 18, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Imposed partition may not cause as many deaths of a single religious faction as genocide. There is no guarantee of that, however. The other problem with imposed partition is that the actor doing the killing is us, America. I do not know if that is worth preventing one faction from dominating another through mass murder, especially if the chance that the same number of people would be killed is similar.

Our nation has created another killing field and there is very little that can be done to stop it.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

I don't like saying this, but the clarity in my feeble mind compels me to. Last time I was this sure, was a couple months before we went to Iraq. I absolutely foresaw our current predicament, although I did not anticipate the magnitude of the disaster.

Any way here goes. There is virtually nothing we can do but delay somewhat the extreme loss of Sunni life in Iraq and the consequence will be horrific in our homeland. Bush will have taken a small movement(Al Qaeda) and inevitably transformed it into a force of many millions suicidally bent on making innocent Americans pay. We will most probably out of a sense of moral obligation welcome many Sunni refugees into the US.

Maybe I should quit watching 24, but what I forsaw became clear to me prior to this week. Bush will have succeeeded in making the US like Israel. Explosions will become routine. What will happen in response is somewhat predictable but for now I will doff my would be Nostradamas hat. If I ever had any credibility, it is no doubt shot, but the train wreck is far from over and I am the hysterical passenger who thinks the train will be pulled over the cliff.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 18, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

I post on the NYT website occassionally and have never had a post rejected until this one. Can you guess why? Aren’t you tired of an ethnic group controlling your freedom of speech?

Sam asks why so many so-called responsible people were determined to go to war for the flimsiest of reasons and the media hardly questioned. I think the answer is the perfect storm of intersecting events and motives. 9-11 caused the hyper-fearful Americans’ brains to turn to jello. They turned their thinking faculties over to Daddy Bush in the desperate hope that he would protect them. When the leader has an 80% approval rating, no journalist is going to commit professional suicide by opposing him. Look what happened to Bill Maher. Bush used his golden opportunity to carry out a delayed desire that the right had nursed for years: pick up where Daddy Bush stupidly (read wisely) left off, and show the world how powerful we are. Add to this the Neocons’ (read Jewish) desire to eliminate a potential threat to Israel, and finally, a building war fever driven by the national desire to lash out at someone—anyone—for 9-11, and you have a juggernaut for war that an established journalist or other opinion leader could question only if he didn’t care about hanging onto his job.

So will the people turn to the few courageous folks who were right from the very beginning? Nah, the famous will keep right on being famous. Stupidity is not a disqualifying factor for those jobs.

Posted by: James of DC on January 18, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

"This is a good news story. Maliki is stating that the Iraqis are ready to step up to the plate. All we have to do is hand them a bat."

Sounds like Al is now supporting withdrawal from Iraq. That's new, isn't it?

As to casting, the one thing that leaps to my mind is the character from Hellboy, the indestructible killer with the big wind-up in his chest, for Dick Cheney.

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 18, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Michael7843853 G-O in 08!

Gore-Obama in 08 has a decided appeal. Gore's best bet is to keep up his very active non-campaign for the presidency for the rest of 2007, perhaps even making a movie about what to do next about fuel-sufficiency and global warming. He has a campaign slogan ready to hand: "Don't you wish you had voted for me in 2000?" It will be especially effective with Bush/Cheney still in office during the 2008 campaign.

Gregory, what's with the Dolchstosslegende? Democratic opposition is out in the open, "in Bush's face", so to speak. Surely, in the unlikely event that a program agreed by the Democrats and forced on an unwilling Bush does even worse than his efforts, you are not advising in advance that none of them be held responsible -- are you?

Posted by: calibantwo on January 18, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

what's with the Dolchstosslegende? Democratic opposition is out in the open

Yes, and since 1) Iraq is FUBAR and 2) we're going to leave eventually (one assumes), dishonest Bush supporters have been laying the groundwork to blame democrats/liberals/the "Left"/the media/all of the above for the disaster unfolding in Iraq.

in the unlikely event that a program agreed by the Democrats and forced on an unwilling Bush does even worse than his efforts

"doing even worse" than Bush is unlikely indeed...

you are not advising in advance that none of them be held responsible

And what, pray, do you mean by "held responsible"? Responsible for what? Measured how? Iraq is Bush's mess. Just as dishonest Bush supporters will pont to any halfway decent government that eventually rises from the chaos -- as one inevitably must -- as vindication!!! of Bush's reckless invasion, whatever disaster results is to be blamed solely on Bush.

As a corrolary, if one doctor badly botches an operation, another doctor takes over to try and save the patient, and the patient crashes, if the second doctor committed an error entirely apart from the first's, then yes, he or she should be blamed. But if it was merely a matter of best efforts not saving a doomed patient, then the fault lies squarely with the original incompetent boob.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Matthew Marler: Surely, in the unlikely event that a program agreed by the Democrats and forced on an unwilling Bush does even worse than his efforts, you are not advising in advance that none of them be held responsible -- are you?

It would be impossible for that to happen, Matthew, given that despite that fact that Bush has had every tool at his disposal to "win" in Iraq he has failed. Violence and casualty rates have spiraled upward, reconstruction has failed, he never secured the country despite every resource at his disposal, and he has been bankrupting the U.S. treasury in the process.

It is already over and Bush is responsible. Unfortunately he will never held accountable, nor will his dismal, irresponsible supporters.

However, if somehow a Democratic plan were forced on Bush that caused another 600,000 Iraqi deaths, another 24,000 dead and injured American troops, another half a billion dollars and counting out of our treasury, and that broke the back of our military yet again -- then I would agree that Democrats should share some of the responsbility with Bush over this historic disaster.

That is, however, unlikely to happen, as spectacular fuck-ups like Bush's don't come easy.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 18, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Dan Quayle as GWB
Oprah Winfrey as Condi

Posted by: Cat lover on January 18, 2007 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Let me just add that the lesson to be learned from the Dolchstosslegende was that it was a failure of German war supporters to take responsibility for their own mistakes and terrible lack of judgment.

It represents the lowest kind of mob mentality, scapegoating, and immature avoidance of responsibility for one's actions words and actions. It is the base behavior of nithings, and some right-wingers in this country are displaying it today.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 18, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Wishful thinking...

Posted by: rcc on January 18, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: And what, pray, do you mean by "held responsible"? Responsible for what? Measured how? Iraq is Bush's mess.

I was thinking of somebody who voted for the war, and then voted to bring troops home, and then we saw that the result of bringing the troops home was a greater bloodbath than what we have witnessed so far. In the event that happened, shouldn't somebody like Russ Feingold who opposed the war from the start have greater credibility than somebody like Clinton or Kerry?

The thing about the Dolchstoss was that nothing of the sort ever happened. The German army was retreating before its combined enemies, and the high command asked (ordered) the civilian govt. to sue for peace; this was kept secret from the Germans because the govt. and army did not want the Germans to lose faith in the army (or something like that.) That isn't a good analogy for a an openly recorded vote of legislators demanding the cessation of American involvement.


There is no issue of Dolchstoss if the result of American withdrawal is a peaceful resolution of the Iraqi Civil War in short order. In that case, the people who voted to end the US involvement will be treated almost as saints.

Bush made a choice between bad alternatives, and about half of the Democratic party went along (less than half in the House); now the Democratic party is in the majority, and they have a choice among some bad alternatives. It still matters whether they push the worst alternatve, or least bad alternative.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 18, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Ok Kevin, we are now on the same page with regard to Maliki and the Shiites. We have been, for the most part, "on their side" for some time now.

Yep. We have enhanced the killing and ethnocentric vibe. Your welcome, Iraq.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 18, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

There is no issue of Dolchstoss if the result of American withdrawal is a peaceful resolution of the Iraqi Civil War in short order.

"A peaceful resolution of the Iraqi Civil War in short order" is simply not an option. What is an option is America not expending its blood and treasure in a futile effort to quell the Iraqi Civil War.

As for your attempt to fix Congress with anything approaching equal responsibility for Bush's debacle, pull the other one. Bush fed the nation, including Congress, bogus intelligence, and then proceeded to ignore the restrictions on the AUMF in order to get his war on.

And while we're at it, let's remember that the Republican Party was foursquare in favor of Bush's Excellent Adventure -- yet somehow -- pulely by coincidence I'm sure -- you fail to mention them and their responsibility.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse -- I just scrolled up -- so Marler has changed his handle again? While dishonesty is, of course, coin of the realm among the Bush dead-headed dead-enders, I should have recognized Marler's drooling desire to damn Democrats with the Dolchstosslegende for the Dauphin's debacle. Shame on you, "calibantwo," whoever you are.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

There is no issue of Dolchstoss if the result of American withdrawal is a peaceful resolution of the Iraqi Civil War in short order.

Richard Clarke, counter-terrorism advisor, in an interview yesterday with Wolf Blitzer on CNN:

"I think that the president's plan just delays the inevitable," Clarke said, adding that when the US troops finally do leave Iraq, even if it's years from now, "there's going to be chaos."

"A lot of the people are fighting us just because we're there," Clarke believes.

With President Bush's "new" surge strategy, the only thing that will happen, Clarke maintained, is that "more Americans get killed and more Ameircans get maimed."

You're missing the point that Bush caused, created, and fostered the conflict in Iraq by unwisely toppling a government that was keeeping order, creating a power vacuum, and not planning for an occupation.

There is no issue of Dolchstoss -- period.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 18, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

And while we're at it, let's remember that the Republican Party was foursquare in favor of Bush's Excellent Adventure -- yet somehow -- pulely by coincidence I'm sure -- you fail to mention them and their responsibility.

I was thinking how best to address the fact that I am being unfair to Democrats here. They only just took over the majority of the Congress. I think that the Republican defeat in 2006 is the beginning, only the beginning, of their punishment for initiating the invasion. Eventually the Democrats will rally behind some plan that they force on the president, and then they'll be judged only on whether they make the situation better or worse.

Bush inherited a shooting war in Iraq; there were daily pictures of all the Iraqi kids who were born with anencephaly, spina bifida, other birth defects, or who had cancer; the sanctions were falling apart, and there was an active effort to remove them entirely; the Baathist government tortured its Olympic atheletes when they lost, and many other people besides; Kurds were living in the mountains; the marshes of the Marsh Arabs had been drained; the Iraqi army for some reason threatened Kuwait again. Iraq would be an awful place right now no matter what Bush had done. Without the invasion, Saddam, Uday, Qusay would be in power and they would be rapidly re-arming (or else the sanctions would be causing untold misery, with photographic evidence published daily). Exactly how bad it would be we can only infer, but: We'd be having the debate that we are having now: what to do next?


Windhorse: There is no issue of Dolchstoss -- period.

That was my point.

Richard Clarke, counter-terrorism advisor, in an interview yesterday with Wolf Blitzer on CNN:

I am glad that you mentioned Richard Clarke, because he is one of the people who, in March 2003, warned that S.H. would use his chemical weapons on the invading U.S. troops.

My older son did a tour of duty with the Navy in the Persian gulf a couple years ago, and my younger son is in the Navy now. I mention this because, according to Barbara Boxer, it matters a lot whether one has military age children or not.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 18, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

They are going to give Bush the last few lenghts of rope necessary to hang himself (or at last get it right):

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2805714

Posted by: calibantwo on January 18, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

When I write about Shi'a domination of the Sunnis, it is from a cold analytical point of view. I may think the Shi'a should dominate the nation from a pluralistc democracy point of view (I am an American afterall,) They are the dominate demographic political faction in Iraq, but the transition from Saddam to occupation and political hegemony and universal civil rights is going to take time. I think the time of peace and civil rights is prolonged by the US occupation. Probably the longer the US stays in Iraq the greater the mass murder.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

I am glad that you mentioned Richard Clarke

Well I'm glad I mentioned him too.

I'm glad I mentioned him because had the Bush administration heeded his warnings about Al Qaeda then 9/11 might have been averted and Bush would never would have had any material to fabricate a case for invading Iraq, sparing hundreds of thousands of lives.

That shows just what a pivotal and important figure he could have been to the security and future of our country had Dick Cheney not disbanded Clarke's counter-terror working group in favor of one his own...that never met.

I'm glad I mentioned him because Richard Clarke revealed that the administration used 9/11 as an excuse to go after Saddam Hussein instead of focusing on bin Laden, even going so far as trying to coerce him to lie under oath and testify that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attack.

In other words, he's been a credible and important witness to the criminality of this administration.

I'm glad I mentioned him so that I could bring attention to the fact that as one of the world's foremost experts in counter-terrorism Clarke's analysis is that the both Bush's foreign policy and the Iraq war has hampered the war on terror and made Americans less safe.*

That's pretty important stuff to know when you're thinking about the safety of one's family, who to vote for, and whether or not to impeach.

And finally I'm glad I mentioned him so we can disabuse ourselves of the notion once and for all that were Iraq in possession of chemical weapons -- which it obviously was not -- that still would not have been a sufficient legal, moral, or strategic reason to launch an invasion against it, particularly as those weapons had they existed would not have been a threat to us. To provide some context, the United States possesses some of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world, in case you were wondering.

Just as an aside, you are free to provide a cite that Clarke indeed did warn about Saddam using chemical weapons. It makes no difference to his credibility, particularly given that on balance he's been about a thousand times more "right" on the issues than George "Iraq-can-attack-us-in-45-minutes" Bush -- but just as a matter of record I don't believe you are correct on this point.

*Most of the retired officer corps agree on this point (and some have testified to it as recently as yesterday) as does the CIA, the US Army War College, and about sixteen other intelligence agencies and strategic think tanks worldwide.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 18, 2007 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie (yes THAT Charlie) posted the link to Clarke's prediction that SH would use his chemical weapons during the 2004 election campaign. It was up here for anyone to read.

To provide some context, the United States possesses some of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world, in case you were wondering.

I suppose that if the UNSC orders the U.S. to destroy them, and promises serious consequences to us if we don't, then we'll have to do it. But, as with SH, a UN-backed military force will have to defeat us in combat first, and make destruction of the chemical weapons a condition for our administration to remain in office.

On a related theme, I noticed that Hillary Clinton has come out in favor of boosting U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan, while simultaneously opposing the surge in Iraq. I hope that she gets a lot of support on the first one right away, while building support for the second. I mean real support, namely votes on binding resolutions.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 18, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie (yes THAT Charlie) posted the link to Clarke's prediction that SH would use his chemical weapons during the 2004 election campaign. It was up here for anyone to read.

Fantastic. Then it should still be around for anyone to cite.

Having googled my little fingers to the bone and come up empty myself, I'd said the onus is on you to provide find that cite to support your claim.

And in lieu of a substantive rejoinder, I'll take your flip remark about the U.S. giving up its chemical weapons when someone pries them from our cold dead hands as a tacit admission on your part that Iraq's alleged possession of said weapons was an unlawful casus belli in addition to being patently false.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 18, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

The fact of the matter, Maliki's plan has just as much possibility of succeeding as Bush's surge. It's also possible that violence will go down if American soldiers leave. I don't see why that's not considered a reasonable plan - if we leave, it's entirely possible that the Iraqis will step up and and start controlling the violence.

Posted by: Andy on January 19, 2007 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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