Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 29, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

TAL AFAR....Last year, it seemed as if half the reporters in Baghdad made a pilgrimage to Ninewah province and filed glowing reports about how the relative calm in the city of Tal Afar demonstrated that counterinsurgency could work in Iraq if only it were planned and executed competently. This was always something of a mirage, but even with that in mind yesterday's news about the resurgence of violence there left me too discouraged to write anything about it. However, others are made of sterner stuff. Joe Klein gets the gist here:

The violence in Tal Afar is all the more depressing because that city was the site of the most recent, pre-Baghdad experiment in counter-insurgency tactics. The estimable scholar-warrior Col H.R. McMaster led the effort, and Bush praised it at the time...and it fell apart as soon as the Americans left.

Spencer Ackerman, who spent last week in Mosul (about 40 miles east of Tal Afar), says that without exception, every officer he talked to credited the relative peace of Ninewah province to "the competence and strength of the 2nd and 3rd Iraqi Army Divisions operating in Ninewah, as well as the Iraqi police." But that was last week. So what happened?

The depth of sectarian division in Ninewah is impressive to behold, even for a cynic or a pessimist....Yet for the most part, the political process in the province has held.

....What the Tal Afar massacre shows is how thin a tissue the process is. By Baghdad standards, the twin suicide bombings weren't that much pressure for the jihadists to apply, and they managed to spur a bloodbath that sucked at least some members of the security forces in....Yet Petraeus, Wiercinski, Twitty, etc, have a point. Ninewah does evince more normalcy than most Iraqi provinces. The trouble is that things like the Tal Afar massacre are part of normalcy in the new Iraq.

It's simply not possible for a political process to take even minimal hold in the middle of a tinderbox -- and this week's violence strongly suggests that even after two years of successful (!) counterinsurgency Tal Afar remains a tinderbox. So ask yourself: If the Army's showpiece of counterinsurgency -- in a city of modest size far away from the fury of the Sunni triangle -- breaks down at the first hint of violence, what does that say about Baghdad? That we would need 200,000 troops there for ten years to have even a modest hope of success? Probably. But we don't have either 200,000 troops or ten years.

Every day that we stay in Iraq does further damage to our long-range best interests in the Middle East. At best, that would be worth it only if our continued presence there were likely to bring a measure of peace to Iraq itself. The failure of Tal Afar suggests that we don't have either the manpower or the ability to do that, and that in turn means we're literally accomplishing nothing in Iraq except making things worse along almost every dimension.

The sooner we get out of Iraq, the sooner we can rethink our recklessly militaristic approach to the war on terror and instead start applying some common sense to the problem. Unfortunately, it looks like we still have a couple more years of digging ourselves deeper into a hole before that will happen. 2009 can't come soon enough.

Kevin Drum 6:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

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Comments

I have a hard time taking seriously anything that Joe "Primary Colors by Anonymous" Klein says. I want to see a second, third and fourth verifying source if he's the lead.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 29, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

"That we would need 200,000 troops there for ten years to have even a modest hope of success? Probably."

600,000 would be closer to the mark.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on March 29, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

This discussion starts with the acknowledgement that it is a non-sequitur to speak of either "victory" or "surrender" in Iraq.

The invasion was a disaster when it was still on the drawing board, and the predictable results of the invasion are even worse.

We stop the hemorrage of US blood, resources and credibility by withdrawing, in as measured and responsible a way possible.

Posted by: obscure on March 29, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Whaddaya know? I was actually first. Are the rest of you commuting back home or something?

It's 12:24 p.m. here in Honolulu, the sun's out, I saw a pod of at least 6-8 humpback whales -- including at least two calves -- cavorting out in our bay this morning and then I saw Kyle Sampson have his ass handed to him by Sen. Dianne Feinstein on C-SPAN, so I'm in a really good mood and all revved up and ready to mercilessly kick a little neo-con crybaby ass.

So go ahead, Hawk -- make my day.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 29, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I find it hard to believe that our military will vanish any time soon from the desert land of Iraq.

We have spent a fortune getting a greedy presence there.

Why on earth would we leave?

So quit your wishful thinking and deal with the reality that has been created.

Let's get some hard core reporting on just WHAT we have built over there.. the bases, the greenzone, everything.

I want to see the wonderful embassy that my tax dollars are supporting.

I want to see the neat airfields we have made all over.

Our mission is to BE THERE. F*ck the Iraqis's needs.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 29, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Donald:Are the rest of you commuting back home or something?
That would imply that some of us are wasting precious worktime here, and that couldn't be true, could it?

Anyway the fact that you watch whales sort of demonstrates that you're an America-hating kook.

Let's see Hocker top that!

Posted by: thersites on March 29, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

One night about a weak ago, BBC World Service spent some time talking with a number of prominent Sunnis and Shias who at that time were cautiously optimistic about some of the political moves toward cooperation between the two groups being made at that time. If that hasn't evaporated then it's in intensive care.

Of course, that's what it takes. A political solution. As obscure says, there is no victory or surrender to be had here because there is no military solution. It is completely the wrong terms to look at this as anything like a possible military defeat.

The military won the war and that ended with "mission accomplished". Since then, the lack of planning for the political end of this business and its complete mismanagement has nothing to do with the military, only with the administration. Period.

They are the losers. And they are the ones with everyones blood on their hands but, regrettably it seems, not on their conscience.

Posted by: notthere on March 29, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

mark:If the budding American democracy and the French would have followed 'modern liberal' advice, George Washington would have surrendered to King George in 1778.

What the f*ck you smokin', boy? Is the word "budding" a clue? Can I have some? Explain to me how that analogy makes sense, unless you mean that the French and the budding American democracy came over here to liberate the Native Americans from the oppression of the Six Nations, because of what the Aztecs did to the Spanish. In other words, no sense at all!

Posted by: thersites on March 29, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

George Washington would have surrendered to King George in 1778.
Posted by: mark on March 29, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Naw.

Georgie would have taken some of the TDX he stole from an unsecured weapons depot, and suicide-bombed himself in a bid to assassinate the British Viceroy of the Colonies.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on March 29, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

2009 ? wait if Rudy wins the election, he will continue the same policy. Rudy spoke of doing excatly that in SF couple weeks ago.

Posted by: bob on March 29, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

We should just get out now and let them start getting down to the real ethnic cleansing, which is inevitable anyway. The Tigris and Euphates will flow red. Once one side has won and the other is dead or in death camps, we can talk to the winner.

Posted by: Ali BlabBlah on March 29, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

thersites: "Anyway the fact that you watch whales sort of demonstrates that you're an America-hating kook."

Exactly.

Why do you think Hawaii Pacifc University's Oceanic Institute is currently engaged in all that research on the feasibility of using dolphins to plant weapons on enemy ships at sea? Did you really think that they only existed to run Sea Life Park and other island tourist traps?

Posted by: Comrade Donald from the People's Republic of Hawaii on March 29, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

The horror of Tal Afar began in March 2003.

Allah, forgive America.

Posted by: Brojo on March 29, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

we're stuck in the middle of a civil war...how exactly do you "win" in that situation, without picking a side?

Posted by: haha on March 29, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

we're stuck in the middle of a civil war...how exactly do you "win" in that situation, without picking a side?
Posted by: haha
You don't. You get out of the way and let them kill each other. Two sects enter...one sect leaves. Thunderdome. Think of Baghdad as Bartertown.

Posted by: Ali BlabBlah on March 29, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Yesterday Iraqi Ambassador to the US Sumaida’ie and today KRG Representative to the US Qubad Talabani spoke at a DOD conference on Cultural Awareness at Fort Huachuca. Both harped on the fact that we are an occupying force and that that is one of the prime causes of any negative attitudes towards the US there. It was interesting that both cited that as the starting point and cause for violence against US forces.

Now, to synthesize that point. Taken with the fact that the only way we can control the level of violence is to act as an all-pervading occupation force; and given that that is a main cause for the violence as cited by the country's two ambassadors, what does that leave for success?

They both pushed for more small to mid scale development projects in the villages. And emphasized that any projects should not be imposed on locals but rather requested by them.

Even with whatever incremental improvements we make in the villages, though, Tal Afar and many other cases show that they will be short lived.

Posted by: bubba on March 29, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Can't seem to find the link on that conference...

Posted by: bubba on March 29, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

If the budding American democracy and the French would have followed 'modern liberal' advice, George Washington would have surrendered to King George in 1778.

I like how wingnuts are incapable of distinguishing between occupiers and occupied.

Posted by: Disputo on March 29, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii >"...I saw a pod of at least 6-8 humpback whales -- including at least two calves -- cavorting out in our bay this morning..."

Aloha brah, where on the island are you located (if ya don`t mind me askin...) ?

"The first lesson of democracy is not to hold the public in contempt." - Ronnie Earl

Posted by: daCascadian on March 29, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

to amplify notthere's point:
I think every discussion of Iraq, such as this post, should contain a clause that would go something as follows:

Even given that the invasion was a mistake in the first place, and even given all the Bush administration blunders during the occupation, things will turn out much worse than they need to simply because Bush will not begin comprehensive negotiations with all parties with an stake in a peaceful Iraq, both inside and outside the country. So, because Bush will not do that, we are stuck with making choices that will lead to something between a disaster and a catastrophe, as opposed to perhaps merely a big ugly mess. Bush could change that at any momment should he choose to, but so far he won't, and either cannot or will not explain why.

Iraq is unique in the Bush administration in that both the very fact, and the magnitude of, the catastrophe is due to Bush administration decisions. The Bush administration is merely responsible for the magnitude of the other disasters. Even at this late date, Bush can take action to attempt to control the magnitude of the Iraq disaster, but he will not, for apparently no reason at all.

Posted by: anon on March 29, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

George Bush in March 2006:

See, if you're a resident of Tal Afar today, this is what you're going to see: You see that the terrorist who once exercised brutal control over every aspect of your city has been killed or captured, or driven out, or put on the run. You see your children going to school and playing safely in the streets. You see the electricity and water service restored throughout the city. You see a police force that better reflects the ethnic and religious diversity of the communities they patrol. You see markets opening, and you hear the sound of construction equipment as buildings go up and homes are remade. In short, you see a city that is coming back to life...The example of Tal Afar gives me confidence in our strategy, because in this city we see the outlines of the Iraq that we and the Iraqi people have been fighting for: a free and secure people who are getting back on their feet, who are participating in government and civic life, and who have become allies in the fight against the terrorists.

Posted by: Surge on March 29, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

What part of FUBAR quagmire civil war do they fail to understand?

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on March 29, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

What part of FUBAR quagmire civil war do they fail to understand?
Posted by: Hedley Lamarr

Amen. We need to get out now and let them get to their full-blown sectarian killing. We owe them nothing. The sooner it starts, the sooner it ends.

Posted by: Ali BlabBlah on March 29, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Amen, Kevin. Since every last penny, every stinking nickle of the $122 billion that Bush is asking for to fund this disaster in Iraq is borrowed money, I suggest the Democrats require that Bush raise taxes to support it's continuation.

They should also require that Bush go on prime-time American TV and explain the differences between the Shiite and Sunni sects of Islam and how the U.S. military's presence in Iraq will magically heal this 1000 yr. old schism.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on March 29, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

They should also require that Bush go on prime-time American TV and explain the differences between the Shiite and Sunni sects of Islam and how the U.S. military's presence in Iraq will magically heal this 1000 yr. old schism.
Posted by: The Conservative Deflator

I think he should go on TV and explain how we can expect "Rwanda in the Desert" over the next 2-3 years,and it is all his fault.

Posted by: Ali BlabBlah on March 29, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

As experts on the history of the area have noted, there have been times in the 19th and 20th century when Shia and Sunni have coexisted without engaging in deadly civil strife, and without a totalitarian dicatatorship. You can start your research with Juan Cole's blog. However, several decades of savage sectarian based oppression by Saddam turned the country into a tinderbox.
Bush/Cheney want to blame it all on Saddam, But these very serious and responsible US leaders should have known what they were letting loose. Many experts, military and civilian, domestic and foreign, academic, government, and otherwise, told them so. But instead BushCo chose to act as if there were nothing to be concerned about, and did not one dman thing to plan or prepare whatever to avoid civil strif following the invasion. Instead they took actions that almost seemed designed to fan civil strife. So, the 1,000 years of strife excuse does not cut it. It is either ignorant, or is designed to dishonestly play on other's ignorance.

If one were cynical, one might be lead to believe that they intended Iraq to blow up, in order to have an excuse to stay and play their stupid geopolitical oil and force projection games, which are now also blowing up their faces (see Saudis and Jordanians, not coming to dinner; Jordan, refugee problems destabilizing; Turkey, freaking out over Kurds; and Iran, taking aim its new opportunities as fast as it can).

Posted by: anon on March 29, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

In order to stop charges that Democrats and relatively sane GOPers like Hagel have "lost Iraq" I think it is very important to point out at every opportunity that one of biggest reasons we have such crummy choices of likely outcomes is Bush's bizarre stubbornness. Bush refuses to take the diplomatic and political steps to improve our chances there that have been suggested by many sources, including but not limited to, those of the Iraq Study Group.

This absolutely obvious and plain fact has to be repeated and explained over and over again, in order to pre-empt the coming lie that Bush foes "lost Iraq." Among other reasons, pre-emptive action against this surely coming lie, smear and libel, will make it more difficult to initiate any further military disasters, such as military strikes against Iran.

Posted by: anon on March 29, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB207/index.htm
Try this on for size. Rumsfeld 'hid the blueprint' until it didn't matter.

Posted by: opit on March 29, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

This exactly shows the bankrupt nature of the bush administration plans. Even if you quell violence with this surge, how are you going to put Iraq back together again. From one murderous state into three.

Posted by: Neal on March 29, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

"If the budding American democracy and the French would have followed 'modern liberal' advice, George Washington would have surrendered to King George in 1778."

LOL... Don't you just love people who get analogies ass-backward? Had King George listened to "modern liberal" advice, he would have gotten out of the U.S. much sooner and with much less loss of life and money.

Posted by: PaulB on March 29, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

yeah, but it is refreshing to see a wingnut refer to the French without sneering.

Posted by: Disputo on March 29, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

"...followed 'modern liberal' advice, George Washington would have surrendered to King George in 1778."

Garbled going in, garbage coming out.

Hey, obit. Nice link. Thanks. Haven't been to nsarchiv in a while.

Posted by: notthere on March 29, 2007 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

The horror of Tal Afar began in March 2003.

Allah, forgive America.


Posted by: Brojo on March 29, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

And Allah, please forgive my dad for having all those affairs, and forgive me for my irritating hypocracy. Amen.

Posted by: Steve on March 29, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

How the Arab world sees the American occupation of Iraq.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on March 29, 2007 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Tal Afar was BS from the start -->

http://radamisto.blogspot.com/2006/03/tale-of-two-cities.html

Posted by: Steve J. on March 29, 2007 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

After 2009 comes 2010 when the jihadis follow us home and begin to show why we were there in the first place.

General Pelosi has all the answers !

If you doubt that, you might read this.

I actually like the French and I think they have figured things out. No matter what they say, they take care of number one. That's why 85% of French electricity is generated in nuclear power plants. I've also noticed that almost all, even in Paris, now speak English. Maybe they know something you don't.

Posted by: Mike K on March 29, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

My father's sexuality irritates you Steve. Allah forgives. I had a cat. She forgave. Mammals forgive. Do reptiles?

My hipocracy irritates you Steve. Black is white and white is black or something like that or can decide, I don't remember that far back. You can. It was good, and can be again. Look for it.

It will take a very long time before forgiveness is felt in Tal Afar.

Posted by: Brojo on March 29, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Where you see only pessimissm in your cloud of liberal crankiness, I see positive developments. If Petraus had this success in a small town, success in Bagdad, which is a huge portion of the country, could wildly change the dynamic of the entire insturgency.

Unfortunately we'll never know if the defeatist Demonrats have there way.

Posted by: egbert on March 29, 2007 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

egbert, you sorry soul.

The success did not last. You understand? And Baghdad is a massive beast to tame. The proportionate number of troops needed is factors larger than what they have available. And what Tal Afar taught us is that the police and security forces can still not be trusted to do their work in a non-sectarian fashion which negates trust and, therefore, their effectiveness without the US to zero.

You should talk to Mike K, above, who seems to have all the answers.

I thought the article expressed how slow the US forces have been to apply lessons demonstrated by others many times before, and to be learnt from Vietnam ourselves. In that sense the US have missed the boat completely 4 whole years into this mess.

Overwhelming force has never been the answer since the military victory was gained in April '03, but that didn't stop the US preceeding their entry into a town the other morning with an artillery barrage!

And so many examples before. It's mindless.

Posted by: notthere on March 30, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Had King George listened to "modern liberal" advice, he would have gotten out of the U.S. much sooner and with much less loss of life and money

Hell, all he had to do was listen to Edmund Burke, fer chrissake, a man only rarely confused with Henry Wallace, or George McGovern, or Dennis Kucinich

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 30, 2007 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

"Had King George listened to "modern liberal" advice, he would have gotten out of the U.S. much sooner and with much less loss of life and money."

There seems to be a Canadian Fifth Column in the USA which would fold up their tents and creep off into the night if confronted by a real enemy.

That Fifth Column is the Democrat Party.

Posted by: daveinboca on March 30, 2007 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

The lack of comments about what happened at Tal Afar means something. I was shocked when I saw the video on the news. I deleted several comments before settling on my Allah forgive America exprssion. I meant it. I felt everything else I wanted to say was inappropriate. I am so sorry.

Posted by: Brojo on March 30, 2007 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii: I have a hard time taking seriously anything that Joe "Primary Colors by Anonymous" Klein says.

Yeah, me too.

BGRS has been tracking the Tal Afar story since, well, military is one of her areas of expertise.

Her latest post for this Friday accentuates the grim reality:

In Tal Afar, after three days of particularly vicious sectarian fighting, the city remained under curfew, patrolled by American forces to keep the sides separated long enough for the currently enflamed passions to cool.
The initial success of the troop build-up was short lived, and we are right back where we started, but now more heavily invested. It is time to accept reality. All the wishful thinking in the world is not going to salvage a hash-mark in the “Win” column for the United States in Iraq’s civil war, and to even pretend its possible is folly pure and simple.
And that "folly" is Bush's folly and the delusional folks who were foolish enough to believe the CinC ever had a plan. Please, people quit falling for the same old story. You're being conned. What Bush-Cheney care about is the oil.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 30, 2007 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

The moron from Penn Ave doesn't have a wit of conscience to ask forgiveness. Remember god guided him to this abomination. There weren't enough strong people of conscience to stop him and I count myself among those who failed the test.

It's time the MSM started showing the citizenry what this all has brought so many people -- and I don't mean just our troops.

Posted by: notthere on March 30, 2007 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

We have a sectarian policy, and have chosen one side in the civil war. We haven't stood aside, we have aided and continue to aid a Shia takeover of all levers of power. The government and its security forces are owned, lock, stock and barrel, by the Shia. These folks have no intention of ceding any power to the Sunni, they want a fight that will lead them to total victory, and we will end up supporting that.

Imagine explaining that to our Sunni "friends" in the region. No wonder the Jordanians and Saudis are so upset - we are helping to implement their strategic nightmare.

Recognize the strategy for what it is, not what is said about it.

Posted by: SLE on March 30, 2007 at 5:27 AM | PERMALINK

daCascadian: "Aloha brah, where on the island are you located (if ya don`t mind me askin...) ?"

Sorry for the late reply.

I live in East Honolulu, in Kuliouou Valley -- on a map of Oahu, Kuliouou (pronounced Koo-lee-oh-oh) is on the south shore toward the far eastern tip of the island, about six miles due east of Waikiki, and fronting Maunalua Bay.

Kuliouou Valley is one of several on the south shore that cut deep into the Koolau mountain range. I look outside my back door straight up a 1,200 foot cliff.

The back of the valley and its slopes are part of a State Forest Preserve, and it receives five times the amount of rainfall we get toward the front of the valley, where I live. There are some great trails that wind upward from the valley floor through the forest and up to the 2,200-foot summit, where you're rewarded on clear days with some spectacular views.

We usually get a lot of humpback whales in Maunalua Bay or just outside -- especially mothers with newborn calves, because the bay and southeast coastline is sheltered from the the fierce North Pacific swells that occur this time of year, and therefore it's a prime spot for them to nurse.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 30, 2007 at 6:49 AM | PERMALINK

"Every day that we stay in Iraq does further damage to our long-range best interests in the Middle East. At best, that would be worth it only if our continued presence there were likely to bring a measure of peace to Iraq itself. The failure of Tal Afar suggests that we don't have either the manpower or the ability to do that, and that in turn means we're literally accomplishing nothing in Iraq except making things worse along almost every dimension."

"The sooner we get out of Iraq, the sooner we can rethink our recklessly militaristic approach to the war on terror and instead start applying some common sense to the problem. "

Those are very bold assumptions. Please clarify and provide support.

Posted by: aaron on March 30, 2007 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK

All nonsense - Why, I just took my ego out for a stroll down their lovely, peaceful streets. Gen Crook has cleaned them up as he did back in Bisbee.

Posted by: Straight Talk Guy on March 30, 2007 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

In order to stop charges that Democrats and relatively sane GOPers like Hagel have "lost Iraq" I think it is very important to point out at every opportunity that one of biggest reasons we have such crummy choices of likely outcomes is Bush's bizarre stubbornness.

It's been beyond obvious that the Bush Cultists have been dusting off the Dolschtosslegende -- hell, even ol' tbrosz was trotting it out a couple of years ago. (Of course, in doing so, they tip their hand that they know the US defeat is inevitable.)

But that dog won't hunt. I agree the Dolschtosslegende needs to be countered by pointing out that the whole mess is the fault of Bush and his Republican minions in order to keep this myth from taking root among anyone except the wingnuts, where it already flourishes, but the American people have it figured out already. That's why they won't trust the Republicans with national security for a generation, and rightly so.

Posted by: Gregory on March 30, 2007 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

We just need to get out now and let "Rwanda Between the Two Rivers" run its course. Nothing to be done otherwise. If we're lucky, Iran will get sucked into their own morass.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

http://hightowerdownload.com/node/36

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 30, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

We usually get a lot of humpback whales in Maunalua Bay or just outside -- especially mothers with newborn calves, because the bay and southeast coastline is sheltered from the the fierce North Pacific swells that occur this time of year, and therefore it's a prime spot for them to nurse.
Posted by: Donald from Hawaii

At least until the Navy launches yet another deep sonar 'training mission'.

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 30, 2007 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

You got a cat, huh? Probably the only pussy your dad wasn't tapping -- except your, mom, of course. C'mon Bojo. Tell us about the purity of your vote for Nader and then scold us in your comically strained prose about the "war machine" in Iraq and how Democrats are part of it all.

Posted by: Steve on March 30, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

If the budding American democracy and the French would have followed 'modern liberal' advice, George Washington would have surrendered to King George in 1778

If Churchill would have followed the 'neocon' advice, the British army would have been slaughtered at Dunkirk.

Posted by: Stephen on March 30, 2007 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

A raven is tapping on your chamber door Steve.

Children like to play with pussy cats. Sometimes parents have to scold children if they are not exactly pure. If it is done comically, not strained, it strikes a better pose. I notice many children playing war now. They have lots of machines to play with also. It may seem funny to you to think about children playing, they are innocent and like to have fun, but they want to learn something, too. Looking back probably helps to find a way to deal with a part that causes so much pain, of course, putting it all together can be fun and exciting. Try it. You'll like it.

Posted by: Brojo on March 30, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK
…The Tigris and Euphates will flow red…Ali BlabBlah at 6:59 PM
Thanks to Bush, they are now. Of course, this was predicted prior to the war and occupation, but Neo-cons knew better, only they didn't know anything.
…We owe them nothing…Ali BlabBlah at 8:14
There is a moral obligation to all the refugees and dead we created. However, Bush never errs.
General Pelosi has all the answers !…Mike K at 10:59 PM
It should be obvious to you by now that neither you nor Bush nor his generals have 'the answers' Posted by: Mike on March 30, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

More evidence of effect of Bush's escalation.
More Than 100 Are Killed in Iraq as a Wave of Sectarian Attacks Shows No Sign of Letting Up
By KIRK SEMPLE
Published: March 30, 2007
BAGHDAD, March 29 — More than 100 people were killed Thursday in a series of attacks around Iraq that included two suicide bombings that struck crowded markets during the week’s busiest shopping hours, the authorities said. …

Any answers, Mike K?

Posted by: Mike on March 30, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Who's Ali BlabBlah - obviously one of our regular semi-literate pests in fancy dress.

These guys do love to play dress up, don't they? Bet its got that aWol Top Gun photo, enlarged to poster-size and suitably framed, hanging over its desk.

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 30, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

…The Tigris and Euphates will flow red…Ali BlabBlah at 6:59 PM

Thanks to Bush, they are now. Of course, this was predicted prior to the war and occupation, but Neo-cons knew better, only they didn't know anything.

Oh, they are barely colored. Once the real killing gets to going, it should be of Rwanda-sized proportions. Think if the Hutus and Tutsis had RPGs, IEDs, all manners of small arms, and Chlorine trucks to use. Should go much faster than Rwanda's machete-fest. It will be a dark mark on humanity, but I really don't see a way out of it now. The power of pure, unadulterated hate.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

If only Jack Bauer would come to our rescue!

Posted by: Mooser on March 30, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

The Algerian experience shows that when the occupier leaves, the sectarian violence dissipates.

A way out of increased sectarian violence in Iraq, once the US leaves, may be to swap Iraqis radios for televisions. Radio is a medium able to inspire people to mass murder. Talk radio certainly inspires much hate in the US. From what I have read, Rwandan Hutus used the radio to exhort their people to kill Tutsis. Television was not used to do that. I am a parrot of Marshal McLuhan's, but I think history shows that the medium is the message. Since my idea has never been tried, it might be worth taking a chance on. Take down the radio towers and replace them with TV antennas. Of course, supplying electricity and programming will be necessary. I suggest broadcasting W. Bush's trial.

Posted by: Brojo on March 30, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Right. Either that, or you could shut the fuck up.

Posted by: Steve on March 30, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Someone bought me a thesaurus. And told me I was clever.

Posted by: Brojo on March 30, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Algerian experience shows that when the occupier leaves, the sectarian violence dissipates.

Posted by: Brojo on March 30, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

I guess that little fact would be news to the 150,000 or so people who were slaughtered by Islamic radicals in Algeria during the decade of the 1990's. Lookit. Steve is right. I don't know if you have read yourself, but you have an extremely affected, non-sensical, and irritating writing style. Hey, no big deal, But when you come here and post nonsense like this, which you clearly know nothing about, and which is not only mistaken, but 100 percent the opposite of fact, don't be surpised when people point it out.

Posted by: Pat on March 30, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

My writing style irritates you Pat. It is a big deal. You are one of my groupies. You may be the president of my fan club. I would prefer the club be ruled by a parlimentary system, though.

I come here and post none nonsense because of your clear hate about mistakes. I am surprised people have not pointed out your hate to your hate, but I assume you are a typical American who hates the other. You must listen to the radio a lot. Try watching TV. I like the Powerpuff Girls.

An insurgency and civil war are different than a war against a military dictatorship that overthrew a democratic election's outcome.

You haven't written anything of substance, so I cannot critique it, because you are a coward. A typical DLC coward. Were you the one who smeared Dean? Did you help form the anonymous Americans for Jobs & Healthcare so you could screw Dean in 2004?

Posted by: Brojo on March 30, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

"There seems to be a Canadian Fifth Column in the USA which would fold up their tents and creep off into the night if confronted by a real enemy.
That Fifth Column is the Democrat Party."

daveinboca: Just because we Democrats oppose a war that was entered under false pretenses, has been botched by a Republican administration, and has done nothing to make us safer from terrorists does not mean we won't defend our nation from a real enemy.
Just the opposite, in fact.

Posted by: Xboy on March 30, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, is Ninewah province the Biblical Nineveh?

Posted by: Xboy on March 30, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

The post attribted to me at 3:46 PM is a spoof. I wonder which member of my posse wrote it?

I think my vocabulary is limited, but someone seems to think it is too clever. I must have some thoughts that are dangerous or threatening to them. I have been accused of being contrarian. I dislike that label, because whatever I say or feel or think is not done on purpose to polarize others, it just is. At home, we have a joke: I am me. I am. The amusing thing is the way some react to me, as if I were dangerous. I must threaten their existence in some way I cannot understand and they use vicious ad hominem attacks to hurt me.

OUCH! Does that make you all feel better?

I regret this was played out on the Tal Afar thread. It should have been a somber and respectful place for the dead to be remembered and mourned. I really liked Mr. Drum's post for its tone and conclusion.

Posted by: Brojo on March 30, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, my favorite thesaurus is Crabb's Synonyms.

Posted by: Brojo on March 30, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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