Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 21, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

MYSTERIOUS QUOTE OF THE DAY....Spencer Ackerman asks Colonel Haider, the commander of Khadimiya Police Station in Baghad, about infiltration of the police force by men loyal to Shiite militias:

The MOI is the Ministry of Interior, arguably the most powerful department in the Iraqi bureaucracy. It has control of the police, and since 2005 it has been an instrument of Shiite political power....Haider gets nervous when I press him about MOI complicity with the militias. He picks up a can of Pepsi from his desk. "I can't say anything about the MOI, but here's an example. This is a soda. You know what it is, and what it consists of."

Say what?

As for the rest of the piece, it confirms that, yes, the police are heavily infiltrated; everyone accepts that there's not much we can do about this; but maybe things can be improved a little bit if we stick around for another year or two. Or three or four. Maybe.

Kevin Drum 8:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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Comments

The Iraqis police force may be infiltrated by all manner of folks who wish to prolong the perpetuawar.

But my own government, here in the US, is infiltrated by folks who seem to believe science is only what one believes!

Global warming? Not proven.

Evolution? Work of the devil.

Ethanol? Green energy.

The demise of intellectual discourse in D.C. hurts us all.

Yes, it's a tragedy that Iraq is a mess.

But it's the fools (many who claim to have been "born agin")that we have in power now that doom us all!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on May 21, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

It's self-explanatory. The police are completely made of Shia militia. And they are coked out!

Either that, or he's making an oblique reference to Clarence Thomas's personal habits.

Posted by: Kenji on May 21, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

We know it's full of nasty stuff, but we drink anyway because it's life-giving and oh so delicious.

Posted by: mattstan on May 21, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

So what is the MOI, and what does it consist of? Seems pretty clear to me.

Posted by: Charles Stewart on May 21, 2007 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

Those are some strange drugs these people are on. Makes the brown acid look tame I suspect.

...madness, madness, madness !

"Terrorists do not need pretexts for their barbarism." - Judge Alvin Hellerstein

Posted by: daCascadian on May 21, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my guess: even though Pepsi doesn't have a (full) list of ingredients, you can still tell pretty much what it is made from by tasting it. And even though the MOI has no publicly stated affiliation with the Shiite militias, you can still pretty much tell what it is by what it does.

Posted by: Mr. P on May 21, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

I think Colonel Haider just had a Rumsfeld Moment™.

Posted by: pbg on May 21, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

I think you know exactly what he means.

Think of what a can of Pepsi consists of. It's very easy, as the ingredients are printed on the side of the can. Ingredients like water, phosphoric acid, high fructose corn syrup and natural flavors.

Hes saying that the Iraqi military is exactly that - the iraqi military. Like a can of Pepsi. But liberals want to pretend its something else. Like a diet Tab, or maybe a Grape Fanta.

That dog won't hunt, Kevin. And you know it, and the Iraqi people know it.

Posted by: egbert on May 21, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

I think he's saying that he can't say that the MOI is shiite, but that if it contains shiites, and you know it does, then he agrees with you...

Cute way to say it, though. Very Arabic.

Posted by: Crissa on May 21, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

"I can't say anything about the MOI, but here's an example. This is a soda. You know what it is, and what it consists of." [emphasis mine]

I don't know what the F he is talking about. I'm just glad that he doesn't call it "pop".

Posted by: Disputo on May 21, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

He means you go out policing with the police you have, not the police you wish you have.

By which he really means we should just get the fuck out of town if we have to ask a question like that.

Posted by: cld on May 21, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Think of what a can of Pepsi consists of. It's very easy, as the ingredients are printed on the side of the can. Ingredients like water, phosphoric acid, high fructose corn syrup and natural flavors.

Hes saying that the Iraqi military is exactly that - the iraqi military. Like a can of Pepsi. But liberals want to pretend its something else. Like a diet Tab, or maybe a Grape Fanta.

That dog won't hunt, Kevin. And you know it, and the Iraqi people know it."

The force with which you conservatives drive your heads into the sand is...well, I wish we could harness that energy and replace ethanol with it.

Posted by: An Anonymous American Patriot on May 21, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

By which he really means we should just get the fuck out of town if we have to ask a question like that.

Exactly. I get the feeling that asking an Iraqi, "Hey, is your police dept infiltrated by the bad guys?" is roughly like asking, "Hey, did you just fart?"

Posted by: Disputo on May 21, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert, the MOI is not the military. Apparently, when there exists a pepsi can, you see 100% juice.

Posted by: Everblue Stater on May 21, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

The war was lost the day I watched, slack jawed, as everything (well, except the oil and internal security ministries) was ransacked and the US troops stood to one side.

Then it got worse: Bremer, army disbanded, Baathists banned, Chalabi junta.

Then we made a half-hearted attempt to rebuild some police and security forces but without a goal of making them either effective or non-sectarian. And half-hearted democracy.

That was all 4 and 3, then, soon, 2 years ago. What's changed since?

Nothing. Nothing. NOTHING!

If anybody has resigned over the administration standing in the way of effective policies nobody has said; not even Gen. C. Powell.

So it has been an alliance of the willing with the compliant.

Sounds like the new holocaust to me.

Which might be a-coming when we pull out unless we set some ground rules.

It is getting awfully late to crash some heads together. The Iraqis think they control their own country. The US administration thinks they can control events. Any disconnect here?

Where we should be is like Germany or Japan, May or August 1949.

Where are we?

Posted by: notthere on May 21, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Everblue: "Apparently, when there exists a pepsi can, you see 100% juice."

I think in this case, egbert, or parody egbert, if not the same, is taking the piss.

Posted by: Kenji on May 21, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

"The Iraqis think they control their own country. The US administration thinks they can control events".

The Pepsi container is red, white, and blue", any connect here?

Posted by: JEDDI on May 21, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

was it diet pepsi or regular? that makes all the difference.

Posted by: gregor on May 21, 2007 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

OT:

Hey, Mods, tell the IT folks that there has been a bevy of double-posts lately.

Posted by: Disputo on May 21, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin...I think

Yet you prove on a daily basis that you do not indeed think, nor even possess the capacity to do so.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 21, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK


It's a Zen thing.

The Master Haider held up the example of the police force. "If you say it does not consist of Shiite militia, you have your head in the clouds. But if you say it does consist of Shiite militia, then you are putting my job in peril. Now what is it? Speak quickly!"

Posted by: TheWesson on May 21, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo: I'm just glad that he doesn't call it "pop".

Fake Illinoisan! Upper Midwestern impostor!

Posted by: shortstop on May 21, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq is like a carbonated, pressurized liquid that, if you shake it, will explode?

(and by "explode" I mean in a metaphorical explosion of flowers, liberation, and caffeinated syrup...)

Posted by: moderleft on May 21, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

This story is obviously BS and entirely made up. Because everyone knows that devout muslims cannot have caffeine.

Posted by: bungholio on May 21, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Simple really. Pepsi is not Coke, not the majority drink. Coke so obviously represents the Shiite majority and Pepsi the Sunni minority. Haider is saying Ackerman has his drinks wrong.

Posted by: RC Kurd on May 21, 2007 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but I'm sticking with the pubic-hair angle.

Posted by: Kenji on May 21, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

If there is no movement on the oil revenue sharing law or rehabilitating ex-Baathists, I believe Petreaus will report that we should throw in the towel. A critical mass of us right wingers aren't asking for a blank check, we're asking you guys to give Petreaus [confirmed unanamously] until September to show a palpable change in the status quo.

Posted by: minion on May 21, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

A lighthearted thread for a change.

What kills me is the idea that conservatives accuse anyone who advocates withdrawl and proposing a 'surrender date' or a 'defeat date'. However, the conservatives always neglect to mention 2 things:

1. WHO are we being 'defeated' by?

2. My main point: The fact that the minute we leave everyone expects the Iraqi government to instantly collapse demonstrates that our 4 years of 'training Iraqi forces' has been completely useless. Remember those veritable legions that Rumsfeld and Cheney used to cite?

I would like to hear the response of the war supporters on the thread to this question.

Posted by: James M on May 21, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

"...as proposing..."

Posted by: James M on May 21, 2007 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think I've figured it out: alcoholics have been known to disguise their addiction by pouring hard liquor into soft drink cans or bottles. What he's saying, then, is that the Shi'ia are drunk on power.

Posted by: Martin Gale on May 21, 2007 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Fake Illinoisan! Upper Midwestern impostor!

LOL!

FYI, I'm originally from what you Chicagoland natives blithely refer to as "downstate".

More bad news: I'm also a fifth generation Cards fan.

Posted by: Disputo on May 22, 2007 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Where we should be is like Germany or Japan, May or August 1949.

Where are we?

Carthage, 144 B.C.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on May 22, 2007 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

The best part about the quote is that he used Pepsi (or Bebsi to Iraqis) in the example.

Iraq is all about the Pepsi.

Posted by: guachi on May 22, 2007 at 6:19 AM | PERMALINK

An ethiopian(sp) taxi driver used the coke analogy
just last week, refering to the arabs, saying outside and inside they are all the same. He mentioned inbreeding for the cause of the crazed mindset. His name was Tewodrous told me to call him Ted. They like their Soda.

Posted by: apeman on May 22, 2007 at 7:46 AM | PERMALINK

More bad news: I'm also a fifth generation Cards fan.

That's all right, sugar. We have a Cards branch of the family. It's like having 10 crazy relatives, whom nobody talks about in public, stowed away in the attic. ;)

Anyway, like Cubs fans are in a position to talk about mental health...

Posted by: shortstop on May 22, 2007 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

It is clear that if we just give in to the terrorists and leave, that Iraq will descend into Cola wars.

Posted by: asdfg on May 22, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

It's an anti-surge observation. Coca-Cola's caffeinated citrus soda Surge - introduced to compete with Pepsi's Mountain Dew - was discontinued in 2002, while Mountain Dew is still going strong.

Coke introduced a lookalike product (Vault) in 2006, and an update (Vault Red Blitz) in 2007. There is ALWAYS a Plan B, and it's usually more of Plan A, only with more caffeine.

Posted by: RonK, Seattle on May 22, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

In the mid-west of my youth, all of the older folks called it "sodie water".

And, to Kenji - Did not know that watching "Long Dong Silver" was that popular with the police of Baghdad.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on May 22, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK
…… I believe Petreaus will report that we should throw in the towel….grunion at 11:26 PM
Shut your eyes, spin around three times and believe really really hard. In the meantime, has Bush ever said anything to that effect or has he said that he will only settle for victory?
Iraq is all about the Pepsi. guachi at 6:19 AM
Naw man, it's about the increased electronic sales, DVD's and tourism in Kurdimaginstan. Well, according to some true believers. Posted by: Mike on May 22, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Greenhouse gas (CO2) goes into soda pop, which can be either bad or good?
In any case: What ever happened to the controversy over "The Office of the Commander in Chief" (in Iraq, not the USA!) Remember? Shadowy Iraq office accused of sectarian agenda,
out May 1, 2007:
No time for html code, but here:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/05/01/iraq.office/index.html

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