Adventures in Shialand

Shia"There is, however, a problem with the celebration and with the U.S. troop withdrawals it may presage: The political process, though a success in its own terms, has manifestly failed to stabilize Iraq or even to produce any meaningful movement in that direction. The Sunni insurgency is as active and strong as it was two years ago; though U.S. casualties have dropped in the first five months of this year, compared with the same period last year, attacks have not. The overall level of killing is far higher today than it was in late 2003 because of the gathering momentum of sectarian bloodshed among Sunnis and Shiites. Reconstruction, too, has gone backward since sovereignty was handed to an interim government in June 2004: Oil production and electricity generation are down.

A similar analysis applies to the other main leg of Mr. Bush’s Iraq strategy, the training of the Iraqi army. Iraqi armed forces and police number 254,000 and are supposed to reach their target strength of 273,000 by the end of the year. Still, many Iraqis feel less secure than they did two years ago. If the ultimate measure of success is Iraq’s pacification, the U.S. mission is producing results but no visible progress."  Washpost Editorial Today


1- The Sunni insurgency is largely religious in its inspiration.  for the overwhelming majority of Muslims such issues as piety, nationalism, patriotism, etc. are inseparable.  The very thought of separating the various aspects of human existence into separate spheres isolated from religion is impious.  Only the truly marginalized and acculturated like the Baathi demons of our dreams do not think that way.

2- The contest between us and the Sunni insurgents and between the Sunni Arabs and the Shia Arabs is RELIGIOUS.  RELIGIOUS!  Do you hear me?  In this sense it is not religion as philosophy that we are talking about.  It is religion as sect. IDENTITY!!!

3- We went to a lot of trouble to inflict our political PROCESS on Iraq.  Now it is evident that that process does not produce a solution for the country and that the SUBSTANCE of the government that we midwifed is such that they align themselves with our Iranian opponents.  (They are laughing in Tehran).

OK.  I will say it.  (Sound of Trumpets) We need to start thinking of how we are going to stabilize a "Greater Middle East" after this is over.  We broke it but self interest will keep us from walking away from it altogether (like VN)

Congratulations to all the Shia cherishing naifs of the Utopian/Jacobin/neocon coven.  You got what you wanted.

Pat Lang

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44 Responses to Adventures in Shialand

  1. ikonoklast says:

    Thanks for coming out and saying it, whether with trumpet fanfare or with The Fat Lady ululating at full volume. Who would have ever imagined that the US would be the instrument to effect a rapprochement between Iraq and Iran? On these terms, at least. “Be careful what you pray for …”
    (Also, what’s with the journalistic fetish of citing casualty figures “compared with this period last year” as though it’s a corporation’s quarterly report? As a reliable measure of progress they might want to keep Enron in mind.)

  2. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I believe that the quantitative approach that you are alluding to started with McNamara who used to work for Ford Motor Company.

  3. ked says:

    actually, modern quantitative and statistical assessment of combat results dates to the Allied “Strategic Bombing Survey” in WWII – & McNamara was one of the team’s “whiz kids” – that’s how he got the Ford job.
    from what has passed for strategy ever since, I’m ready for qualitative approaches by wise, rational people.
    “…after this is over.”
    I’m not sure the “it’s over” siren will be as clear as the start date – or VN’s finale.

  4. Patrick Henry says:

    Col…Thank you for Indulging Me..
    you are making a GOOD Analysis of the Situation..
    This was the “Anticipated Outcome” by many Smart People who Knew it Before Hand…and Tryed to WARN.. these Neo-Cons Planners..
    For Unclear Reason..they chose to ignore The EXPERTS..and BAN Thier Input..
    Perhaps this Outcome was the Desired Result…End Game…for Many of them..
    Since it Prolonged the War..and Created someones desired CHAOS..
    I agree with all your evaluations Col. Lang..
    and Concerns…Because the Burden Now is to somehow Stabalize the situation..
    No Matter HOW it Developed..
    Thats for People Smarter and More Qualified than I..
    If not stabalized..through Good Strategy..
    It Will Indeed..Just become the “GREATER MIDDLE~ EAST..”..
    Which I feel..was the Great the First Place..
    Yes..It IS RELIGIOUS..
    and a CLASH of the Titans.. Once Again..
    The Classic Chess Game..and Opening Moves..The Persians Love the “Game” don’t they..
    I will try to limit my comments in the Future..
    Colonial Lang…
    I think I have said most of what I have to say by Now..
    And go to the cemetery..with my wife…and lay flowers and place a Flag at the grave of our Son in law..Rick..
    and remeber Him…and all others..reprensented by the hundreds of Waving flags ..across this cemetery…and Many others.Every where…For ALL Vets..For ALL Time..
    and I will be glad its a Cold..Cloudy Rainy Day here..Appropiate for the Event..
    This is NOT a Holiday..Commercial or otherwise..
    This is MEMORIAL DAY..
    And the weather is Telling Me..
    That GOD…Remembers..
    Thank You Who Have SERVED..
    Thank You GOD..

  5. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for setting the record straight.

  6. Eric says:

    Don’t know whether Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. might be Lord HawHaw in disguise.
    Have no idea.
    Watching Braveheart now.
    There was, at that time, very severe remedies for that sort of behavior.

  7. Patrick henry says:

    One More Indulgence..
    If I May..
    First…This historic Event will Lead to One of Two outcomes..
    Either evryone involved Continues Thier Strategic planning and Manipulations for MORE War and Death and Destruction..
    Because the Current ADVOCATES..and ANTAGONISTS..Want to Test GODS WILL..
    But Listen to the Rhetoric of MEN..for His Answers..
    And THAT Rhetoric WILL Lead to WAR..
    Or Reasonable minds Prevail..through Wise Council..Peacful solutions and Truces will be Made..
    The Influence of the RELIGIOUS SECTS will be subdued..Peacefully..But Moderate Leaders and Voices on ALL
    And we can ALL Live in Peace..
    Two Coarses..Two Well Marked Paths..
    Which will be Chosen..??
    By the Way..
    It will be Sunny and Warm here tomorrow when All traditional Organized Memorial Day Events take Place..
    Im sure there may even be Rainbows..Gods Sign to Mankind..
    Today…I heard God in the Wind..
    IT Rained..
    The Angels Cryed..for so much Wasted Human Life..
    The Skys were Dark and Stormy..A Reminder of WAR..
    Tomorrow..There will be Sunshine and rainbows…and God Will Speak to others in Different Ways..
    As We Take Pause to remember..The Price of War..HUMAN LIFE..
    Created from the Dust Of the Earth..
    Into much HUMAN BLOOD..has Soaked..
    Taking Another Life.. and Feeding DEATHs Desire..
    Who is the Only Victor..In WAR..
    Least We Forget..

  8. James Pratt says:

    Short of building a fortified border on Iraq’s frontage with Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as Syria and buying off every Iraqi Arab Sunni adult I don’t see
    how the US has a chance to degrade the insurgency. I hope the neocon cabal in power doesn’t hold to their self-delusion that the Arab majority resembles the select group in the Green Zone. Most of the people are not acting and speaking from scripts written in Tehran as the Green Zone SCIRI and al-Dawa types are. I wonder if the latter sometimes slip into Farsi while urging greater US efforts against the Sunni. It is ironic that the two most popular leaders of the Shi`a, Grand Ayatollah Sistani and Moqtada al-Sadr
    were so accessible to the visiting Iranian foreign minister. Weren’t the Shi`a supposed to be the bulwark of a pro-American government in Iraq?

  9. john pfeifler says:

    The cited WaPo editorial perpetuates the Bush-Blair delusion of Iraqi democratic unity and concedes the difficult reality that prevents it. The editorial also suggests a choice between two bad outcomes: the Sunni extremists win, or the Shiis will plunge Iraq into a civil war. “As British Prime Minister Tony Blair argued during his White House visit Thursday, ‘now that there is a democratic government in Iraq elected by its people, and now they are confronted with those whose mission it is to destroy the hope of democracy, then our sense of mission should be equal to that'” (WaPo “Iraq’s Uncertain Progress” 28 May 2006). If only Arnold Wilson and Gertrude Bell were available to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Long live the Empire.

  10. Charlie Green says:

    Wow, Col.–
    If you keep being so blunt and contrarian, I might not see your name in USN&WR as often! Or maybe see them more often. Who knows?
    I find some quote or other from you nearly every issue anymore.

  11. W. Patrick Lang says:

    When was I different? pl

  12. londamium says:

    Well, at the risk of stating the bleedin’ obvious, if the Bush administration is in any way serious about stabilizing the region, then it is going to have to bow to reality and start mending fences with Iran.

  13. W. Patrick Lang says:

    londamium (?)
    I was not referring to the bush admiistration. I meant us Americans. pl

  14. john pfeifler says:

    What forms the basis for a “Greater Middle East” policy for the U.S.? How do we reconcile our support for Israel with the probable results of Arab democracy in general and Palestinian in particular? How do we reconcile our thirst for oil with autocratic Arab regimes? How do we reconcile our separation of church and state with Islam? And, how do we reconcile our gut reaction against Shi’a Islam with Iran?
    These appear, to me at least, rather intractable problems for U.S. foreign policy irrespective of this president or the past several presidents going back to the Carter Doctrine. What you suggest is a long-overdue assessment of our Middle East policy.

  15. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Does US have a Middle East policy? Is that even structurally possible? By that I mean is there a Middle East Desk somewhere in US Government that has the authority and duty to formulate US policy in the Middle East?
    I am not being rhetorical. My understanding has been that there is an Iran Desk, a Turkey Desk, an Egypt Desk etc. in the State Department. How can US government create a coherent policy that encompasses all these states without having some coordinating body?

  16. W. Patrick Lang says:

    It is quite possible for the US to have a Middle East policy. We had a unified policy against the Warsaw Pact countries for many years.
    We have not had a Middle East policy until this administration and their’s is built on dreams and delusions. pl

  17. john pfeifler says:

    The State Department has a Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs: “The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), headed by Assistant Secretary C. David Welch, deals with U.S. foreign policy and U.S. diplomatic relations with Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Regional policy issues that NEA handles include Iraq, Middle East peace, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and political and economic reform” ( Policy authority, however, belongs to the president.
    Policy coordination happens in the NSC: “The National Security Council is the President’s principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. Since its inception under President Truman, the function of the Council has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President’s principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies” ( Without the president the NSC becomes the Principals Committee; without the principals, the Deputies Committee; without the Deputies, Interagency Working Groups. Theoretically, a coherent, multi-agency foreign policy for the Middle East could wind its way through this system. The system put together more or less coherent policies during the Cold War years. But, as pl points out, such a coherent policy does not appear to exist for the Middle East. Perhaps that is a result of not having a monolithic threat in the Middle East. Of course, some would maintain Islamic fundamentalism poses just such a monolithic threat.
    We seem to have a hodge podge of policies. NATO shapes much policy with Turkey, oil shapes policy with the Gulf States and other potential suppliers, Iraq and Iran are threats, Israel shapes policy with Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. Morocco and Saudi Arabia are special friends, and the rest seem to be of marginal interest. Other than the Carter Doctrine’s assertion that the Persian Gulf is a vital interest to the U.S. nothing else seems to tie the region together.

  18. ikonoklast says:

    When we inevitably deal with the the Greater Middle East – whether the current administration recognizes that there is one or not – we’ll find ourselves a few steps behind the Russians:
    — “This meeting (27 May) comes after Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov confirmed that Russia would fulfill its contract with Tehran for the delivery of Russian Top-M1 ballistic missile complexes in spite of U.S. objections. Moscow has thus made efforts again to confirm its “special relationship” with Iran and to take the initiative away from the more bellicose.”
    So with their usual blindness to cause and effect the Masters of the World on the Potomac are busily ensuring Putin won’t be inclined to help us out. A somewhat offbeat essay on the Russian viewpoint of our competing interests in the region:
    Then of course China has been making inroads with Iran, too … the US may be backed into a corner where a military option is the only one left open. God forbid. How are the Saudis and the other Sunni countries dealing with these developments?

  19. b says:

    Col. Lang says:
    “Congratulations to all the Shia cherishing naifs of the Utopian/Jacobin/neocon coven. You got what you wanted.”
    Yes, they did. They won:

    “One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today.”
    Michael Ledeen, National Review, Aug 2, 2002

  20. Barbara Morgan says:

    This administration has no policy about anything. Every action is political to keep the power, money, influence for the inner circle of family and friends who have benefitted from the quest for control of the world’s oil. See “American Dynasty” by Kevin Phillips.

  21. Curious says:

    Stabilizing greater middle east?
    ehrrr… we are already in regional conflict right now.
    1. Bushco has no problem racheting up the rethoric against anybody. The commie russian, the commie chinese, the old europe, The axis of evil, Syrians, Egyptians, ..(who else left?)
    2. Russians and the Chineses already decide to eff Bush and give the Iranian nuke, various air defense equipments. Push them some more, they will start feeding the Iranian with strategic information and high tech portable munitions.
    IT IS already a regional war.
    not an open conflict with front line and nightly TV yet, but it has moved beyond diplomatic bickering. It now has entered low level covert war. (strella, soon high tech mine and armor piercing)
    Syria certainly already won the entire western Iraq. (not in absolute control yet, but they control the pace.)
    After summer we will know what becomes of the eastern part.
    ON economic front, the entire region hates Bush so much, they have no problem bringing the oil price to $60-70+, if needed $100 within 5 days.
    Bush gonna pisses off the Japanese and the Chinese with his mad cow/exchange rate rethoric? THey control near $900 billion of our debt. Last time Chaves dumb his $30 Billion, the dollar sunk nearly 2%.
    Bushco and neocons are too stupid to see what’s going on. They think Foxnews will solve all problem.

  22. john pfeifler says:

    The Russians and Chinese are returning favors. When President Bush read Putin’s soul I wonder if he realized Russia might want to get even for Afghanistan if ever the opportunity presented itself? (think of our fascination with Iran since the hostage crisis) As for China, U.S.-Taiwan policy might have something to do with their actions. The U.S. has been playing in both Russia’s and China’s backyards for years. Iran is just too good to pass up for either of them. Nothing boosts the armaments business like some good old fashioned saber rattling and revenge. Every president has to consider the consequences of his predecessors’ policies on his policies. No clean slates for any of them to dirty up on their own.

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    john pfeifler:
    Thank you for your very thorough response. I learnt a lot from it.
    Much obliged.

  24. zanzibar says:

    “In the last six weeks, a resurgent Taliban has surprised the Americans with the ferocity of its annual spring offensive and set some officials here to worrying that the United States might become tied down in a prolonged battle as control slips away from the central government — in favor of the movement that harbored Al Qaeda before 2001. And the number of American troops has quietly risen, not fallen.
    “Afghanistan is the sleeper crisis of this summer,” says John J. Hamre, who was deputy defense secretary from 1997 to 1999.
    Not only have officials been surprised by the breadth of the militants’ presence and the brazenness of their suicide attacks, roadside bombings and assaults by large units.”
    Springtime for killing in Afghanistan
    With news of riots sparked by a traffic accident involving US troops today, what do the knowledgeable folks here think of the situation in Afghanistan? Curious what ought to be the wider Middle East policy – Israel,Palestine, Arabia, Persia, N. Africa, Central Asia, Pakistan? Are we in competition with Russia and China or can they be partners?

  25. Charlie Green says:

    This AM pl posted:
    >When was I different? pl
    Well, previously you were more, uh, nuanced in your statements. At least that was my perception.

  26. W. Patrick Lang says:

    You may be right, but, I have been frustrated by the slow pace of freedom’s march and it is making me indiscreet.
    I will watch that. pl

  27. wtofd says:

    “I was not referring to the bush admiistration. I meant us Americans. pl”
    Does this imply Americans need to change Congress in November and start extending an olive branch? Or do we need to prepare for a longer, cold war? From your earlier posts I suspect initiating war is out of the question.

  28. Mr.Murder says:

    “It is quite possible for the US to have a Middle East policy. We had a unified policy against the Warsaw Pact countries for many years.”
    Well anyone can be agin’ somethin’…
    see also George Bush.
    A coalition built of constructive means is entirely different.
    There’s a big group of people to triagulate…
    Sauds with pan-arab Sunni, Iranians and Persian Shi’ia, Kurds along Iran, Turkey, Syria.
    The Shi’ia Arabs may well be the key, ethnic ties to one border with a religious tradition adhering more to the other border.
    Wouldn’t happen to have been Chalabi’s original sect?

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    john pfeifler:
    Based on what you wrote about the org. chart:
    1- Is there any one human being in a high-enough pay grade who can tell the so-called principals that their policy objectives are either contradictory or un-achievable at any reasonable cost?
    2- Is there any one over-arching policy objective that can be agreed upon by all factions (inside and outside of the government) when it comes to the Middle East? (Similar to the Soviet Containment policy)

  30. Curious says:

    2- Is there any one over-arching policy objective that can be agreed upon by all factions (inside and outside of the government) when it comes to the Middle East? (Similar to the Soviet Containment policy)
    Posted by: Babak Makkinejad | 30 May 2006 at 10:23 AM
    unlikely. This I think is the realistic priority list.
    1. each regimes survival.
    2. Israel/Palestinian
    3. Oil supply.
    4. What becomes of Iraq occupation.
    5. Al qaeda.
    as you can see. Bush has created a situation so inversely proportional to what’s everybody’s interest in the area. (ie. he losts trust he can protect individual regimes survival.) Everybody there is ready to eff us and couldn’t care less. All at the same time if need be.
    (egypt, Turkey, Syria, Saudi, Iran, Uzbek, Russia, China)
    Everybody rather thinks Bush is going to eff em hard. As far as everybody’s concern in the area Bush is more dangerous than al qaeda. (ask Mubarak or the Syrian for eg.)

  31. confusedponderer says:

    I think, considering how devastating the destruction of the Baghdad regime has proved to be, that the Bushies are well advised to stay out of the regime change business for the future.
    I’d rather have a stable regime more or less unfriendly to the US, instead of no regime at all. It’s all about islands of order in the chaos. Iraq only underlines how difficult it is to restore order once it is lost.
    Not that the Bushies seem much deterred. They have set up the Iran desk, among others featuring veterans of the OSP, namely Abram N. Shulsky, John Trigilio and Ladan Archin.,0,3463436.story?coll=la-home-world
    That doesn’t mean they are determined to attack. I personally think they merely ran out of ideas and thus stick to their plan rather than to have to think up something new, as that would imply admitting egregious strategic mistakes. Horrors!

  32. James Pratt says:

    Someday I hope someone writes a good account how Iranian Supreme Jurisprudent Khamenei and his generals played the American neocons and their Big Oil and Israel Lobby sponsors for fools. Blinded by greed and willful ignorance they never expected Anti-American Iran to dispatch Iraqi exiles and the Kurdish warlord Talabani to deceive them on the political attitudes of Iraqis. Now America is too bogged down fighting Iran’s Baathist and Taliban enemies to be a credible military threat. As a consequence of American corporate eagerness to export manufacturing jobs to China and information processing jobs to India has created
    millions of new car drivers and driven the price of oil to $70 a barrel
    who besides the loony right would seriously contemplate
    disrupting Iran’s oil exports? (but most Americans overestimated the wisdom of the Cheney/Rumsfeld neocon axis before).

  33. john pfeifler says:

    The short answer to your question is yes, the president can tell the principals that their policy recommendations are contradictory, incoherent, or untenable for political reasons. How much or little a president uses the NSC system is up to him. Further, congressmen have input into foreign policy formulation through the confirmation process and the treaty ratification process. Of course, the public can actively support policy decisions, war for instance, or actively reject policy decisions, CAFTA for instance. The president also has to consider external factors. Other states and non-state actors have some input into foreign policy decisions. The Iraq War highlights the role, or lack of a role, for the international community and multilateral organizations. This brings us to your second question.
    From my perspective I see only two overarching themes for the Middle East, Israel and oil. These two factors appear to commingle in a way that leaves the local population convinced that the U.S. will go to any length to protect Israel and to exploit the region’s oil resources. Thus, the U.S. has difficulty in fostering widespread popular support in the region. Still, the U.S. is very difficult to ignore. When George Kennan composed his “Long Telegram” and his famous Mr. X letter, he proposed a policy for dealing with an imminent real-world threat. His recommendation grew as the federal bureaucracies, congressmen, and industries realized material gain from the containment policy. I believe the Cold War had a very strong economic component–the iron triangle of industry, Congress, and the DoD. The U.S. applied containment to Iran after the hostage crisis and dual containment to Iran and Iraq after Desert Storm. Like the Cold War, I think the dual containment policy also had a strong economic component designed to allow the Gulf States to recoup their expenditures after Desert Storm in addition to controlling the perceived Iranian and Iraqi threats. The increased U.S. arms sales in the region figure in as well.
    The neoconservatives offered their version of an overarching objective for the region–the democracy domino theory (DDT). Only, as pl and others observe, democracy does not mean the U.S. will be pleased with the outcomes. So, as I asked earlier in this thread, “What forms the basis for a “Greater Middle East” policy for the U.S.? How do we reconcile our support for Israel with the probable results of Arab democracy in general and Palestinian in particular? How do we reconcile our thirst for oil with autocratic Arab regimes? How do we reconcile our separation of church and state with Islam? And, how do we reconcile our gut reaction against Shi’a Islam with Iran?”
    If we are serious about the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, we must explain Israel? If we are serious about due process, transparent government, and human rights, we must explain Abu Gurayb, Gitmo, rendition, internment, and torture? If we espouse state sovereignty, especially our own, we must explain pre-emptive war as a national policy. It seems to me the U.S. ought to assess where it is and where it wants to go in the Middle East. And then honestly decide if it can get there. Your questions are good ones and form the substance of this thread. As Mr. Murder indicates, “There’s a big group of people to triangulate.” And, there is a big group of smart people working in the federal government capable of coming up with coherent policy recommendations. Leadership is the key, and not just in the White House.

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    john pfeifler:
    Thank you for your reply.
    One phrase puzzled me: “our gut reaction against Shi’a Islam with Iran?” Did you mean rather: “our gut reaction against Shi’a Iran”?
    Using myself as an example, I do not have any gut reaction to any Buddhist sect; I am not much aware of them either.

  35. john pfeifler says:

    The 1979 hostage crisis in Iran left its imprint on the American political psyche. One reflection is the periodic resurfacing of the allegations that current Iranian President Ahmadinejad was a student participant in the crisis. My comment was meant to highlight the conspiracy theorists who believe Shi’a Islam threatens the Middle East. Or to put it another way, will the U.S. deal with Iran as a state or as a religious sect?
    Your comment makes me wonder how much resentment there is in Iran over Mosaddeg and the Shah.

  36. Babak Makkinejad says:

    john pfeifler:
    Thank you for your reply.
    I suspect there is more resentment due to the US-French support for Saddam Hussein; Mossadegh was 50 years ago.

  37. Babak Makkinejad says:

    john pfeifler:
    I forgot to add:
    In my opinion and in response to your question “with Iran as a state or as a religious sect”, the answer is that Iran is both- a State of the Shia, for the Shia, By the Shia. (I have reasons for my opinion-it is not rhetorical.)

  38. john pfeifler says:

    Good point. The 1979 Iranian Revolution had a little payback for the Mosaddeg-Shah affair, U.S.-French support for Saddam had a little payback for 1979. When does it end? How much does it affect current foreign policy for both nations?

  39. john pfeifler says:

    Your “In my opinion and in response to your question “with Iran as a state or as a religious sect”, the answer is that Iran is both- a State of the Shia, for the Shia, By the Shia” accurately captures the dilemma for U.S. policy makers and hence my question. This returns us to pl’s first and second points in this thread. Somehow, the U.S. policy makers have to accomodate a different state-religion dynamic than Western secularism.

  40. Babak Makkinejad says:

    john pfeifler:
    Yes! US & EU are in their post-Christian phase and can no longer grasp the significance of religion.

  41. Eric says:

    A little OT, but:
    An interesting news article on General Batiste and the number of troops we would have needed to prevail there:

  42. ked says:

    I am of the opinion that much of the Islamic world resides in a reactionary, pre-Enlightenment phase. While some thoughtful Westerners do indeed grasp the full significance of religion in world affairs, they have little impact upon US policy these days. Bush seems all-too-close to ideological symmetry with Islamic theocracy (with some corporatism & jingoism thrown in). Worse, he has no appreciation for intellect & its value in statecraft. He is an easy mark.
    We have abandoned sophisticated reasoning to operate above and beyond our adversaries. Anybody can be petulant & go to war – it takes wisdom to finesse outcomes to one’s advantage with minimum force.
    No wonder we are now so challenged, we have lowered our standards.

  43. Publius says:

    The policy most likely to materialize in the coming months is the “bugout” policy, the one employed in Vietnam after all military avenues had been explored and the American people had finally had enough.
    The truly ironic thing about this whole adventure is that the Neocons were always concerned first and foremost with Israel—one in fact wonders about divided loyalties on the part of government officials—and their actions have done nothing but place Israel in even graver danger.
    Pity there is no one with any sense of history running the show.

  44. Patrick Henry says:

    One question i have is where are all of the Dozens and Dozens of Suicide Car Bombers Coming from..??
    If the Sunnis are the Ones now killing the Shia…are they Iraqi Sunnis..??
    Saddams Old Bathist Loyalists..??
    Did they turn into suicide bombers..??
    Which groups are doing all the Violence..??
    How much has Iran become a Factor in Iraq now..How much Infiltration and Southern Iraq..?? or All of Iraq..
    Since Iran it doing so much to Get itself into an Offensive position…Why would they just act like a Madman who wants the “Cops” to kill him..??
    I think this is more like an American Indian getting “Coup”..on his enemys..
    Taunting..the “Enemy..”
    Since there is now so much aggression going on and Resultant growing Anti American sentiment..
    Can anyone see the United States being “Forced” from the Region..through Various Means and Methods..Behind the scenes Manipulations that would even get the Saudis and other Middle east Countys to agree to that “Resolution..’?..”
    IRAN has to have to Have a Long Range Plan…with Strategic Objectives..besides just Appearing to want to Commit Suicide to bring about the “End of the Age.’
    I Think they want to do that…Thier Way..
    On Thier Terms..
    And Forcing the United States into a Comp[lete Withdrawl from the Region would seem like an Ideal Situation for IRAN..Right Now..and they have most of thier Ducks in a Row..for any event..
    To them it will still be..
    “Big Medicine..”
    Really gonna be Interesting how this Event plays Out..
    What Indeed has Been “Set in Motion..?” because Our War Chief Rode off into Battle..
    Without “Council”

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