Ah! It’s an IRAQI Rebellion! Ah!

I listened to President Bush’s speech at Annapolis.

The thing with the Midshipmen and the Academy Band and a predictably warm reception is amusing.  If he really wanted to hear them cheer, he should have given them "amnesty" for any disciplinary penalties they may be "enjoying."  There is nothing like a general release from confinement to barracks to "pump" cadets, midshipmen, or OCS candidates.

What was said that was of interest?

We "learned" today that Zarqawi is not the commander of the revolt in Iraq.  This is great since the administration and its "claque" has been insisting that the war is between foreign terrorists under Zarqawi and the forces of the coalition on the other side.  Everyone seriously involved in other than propaganda and manipulation of public opinion has long known that to be untrue, but the Bushies seem to have felt compelled to "stick" with that in order to maintain the fiction of the supposed Iraq-Jihadi alliance.

Now, someone has gotten the prez. to say that there are three, THREE, parts to the insurgents population:

1-The "Rejectionists."  Read "ordinary Iraqis" for that "Mostly Sunni Arabs," (his words)  He says that these are people who want to restore their previously dominant role in Iraqi society.  Absolutely.

2- Baathist hold-outs for a Restoration. (This would be nothing like Charles the 2nd’s return from France, trust me.)   Presumably, these guys have the money.

3-Jihadi religious fanatics, some local, some foreign.  Not more than 10% of total but responsible for most suicidal activity.  No problem there, either.

He did not mention the awkward implication of (1) above that there are a hell of a lot of supporters maintaining this force in existence, but based on the  speed with which the administration acknowledges the truth, we should see an admission of that in a year or so.

Is this important?  You bet it is!  Up until this morning, the "Zarqawi Madness" insisted on by the government was a straitjacket within which the intelligence people and the command in the field had to operate.

This changes a lot in both the operating environment and the political parameters within which a solution must be found.

Pat Lang

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25 Responses to Ah! It’s an IRAQI Rebellion! Ah!

  1. Geoff says:

    I missed it, and i’ll watch it as soon as I get a long break between classes, but did he fall back on Syria again?

  2. W. Patrick Lang says:

    In a small way. pl

  3. Curious says:

    Zarqawi has been demmoted? but but but…

  4. bygraves says:

    nice he can go before people he knows can’t disagree with him. Brave man. Lots of big talk. Pure chicken hawk.

  5. J says:

    both bush’s speech and waste of paper called a strategy report, are in short nothing but ‘glittering generalities’ as opposed to finite objectives regarding both strategy and mission.
    one cannot fight a war, nor conduct a mission based on glitter. it has never worked, it never will. one has to scratch their heads in wonder as to ‘if any’ war college background re those who were the authors of his purported unclassified strategy paper.
    if they were taking a college course, their profs would give them an ‘f’ for lack of definitiveness of both structure and substance.
    both bush and those who wrote and are trumpeting his ‘strategy’ paper get an ‘F’.

  6. Norbert Schulz says:

    Wasn’t it some months ago that the CS Monitor ran a piece that reported on a think-tank report that said the foregn fighter make up only 4-10% of the ‘insurgency’? Ah, got the link:
    Today I read in the Washington Times that the U.S. are succeeding to kill more Foreign Fighters. Yeah, nice, but that’s just the smallest part of the problem.
    Add that U.S. presence is fuelling the resistence in general, that doesn’t help all that much.
    Biggest problem for me is to make a difference between the moronic idea to go to war to begin with, and to try to see in a constructive way if the U.S. might have a chance to get out of the hassle they are in with dignity.
    Sadly, I doubt it.

  7. Norbert Schulz says:

    PS: I read the report too. It sounded splendid.
    May I propose my even more splendid strategy?
    1. Strengthen the Iraqi forces so they can take over fighting the insurgency.
    2. Win the fight against the Insurgency
    3. Iraq will become stable and peaceful.
    4. Everyone will be happy.
    5. Ain’t Powerpoint great?
    Hey, I’m a Klausewitz, well … almost.

  8. searp says:

    Lots of straw men in that speech. Bush seems incapable of thinking analytically. His Manichaean view of Iraq simply does not accommodate shades of gray. We either “win” (rolling definition) or the whole world collapses.
    He is in a job that is way over his head; I don’t think he ever would have made O-5 in the military.

  9. Michael Murry says:

    Thanks to everyone for sitting through another “major address” by Deputy Dumbass Dubya — the mental and managerial equivalent of Douglas Feith and Michael Brown all rolled into something even less impressive.
    When I heard the latest spin that the “Strtegy Paper” in fact represented the “real plan” finally “unclassified” for public consumption, I thought: “Oh, shit. If they tell me their secret stuff, then they’ll have to kill me.” Then I thought, “Why listen and get killed for nothing? I just barely escaped that fate in Vietnam thirty-five years ago.”

  10. Michael Murry says:

    I just had to do a quick follow-up schadenfreude operation on Fred Kaplan of Slate.com’s “war stories” column:
    Mr. Kaplan,
    You might want to revisit your bombshell buying of yet another “major” Bush bait-and-switch operation:
    “Bush’s Can’t-Lose Reversal
    Wednesday’s speech will set the agenda for withdrawal from Iraq”
    By Fred Kaplan, Slate.com, war stories, Monday, Nov. 28, 2005
    In the future, before believing your “inside” sources, you might want to consider waiting to hear the switch before you haplessly swallow the bait:
    “Bush Again Rejects Calls for a Withdrawal Timetable in Iraq”
    By DAVID SANGER, New York Times, November 30, 2005
    Congratulations! You just went from “little” credibility, to “none.” Now you know how Colin Powell must feel:
    And Colin Powell went abroad to tell the world untruths
    In service to a man who oft betrays
    And now no thinking person who resides on Planet Earth
    Believes a single thing that this man says
    As Herman Melville wrote at the end of Moby Dick:
    “The drama’s done. Why then here does any one step forth? — Because one did survive the wreck.”
    Best regards,
    Mike Murry, Kaoshiung, Taiwan
    — one who survived the last wreck of the USS Lunatic Leviathan

  11. Curious says:

    Bush now set the ‘goal, aka. when we leave as ‘when we beat the terrorists’
    wait, he called just about anybody in Iraq terrorists, including insurgencies, islamist, arm gangs, unhappy Iraqi soldiers…
    what does it all mean?

  12. ikonoklast says:

    It’s a joke, right? Tell me it’s a joke.
    I watched Mr. Bush speak at the Naval Academy and heard:
    freedom victory plan mission freedom victory plan mission freedom victory plan mission freedom victory plan mission freedom victory plan mission freedom victory plan mission freedom victory plan mission
    I suppose that’s what they wanted me to notice and that’s why the words kept recurring. It also nicely complemented the patriotic “Plan for Victory” graphics pasted all over the place. Very subliminal stuff … errr … what’s the part of the hidden message that’s over the subliminal part? Whatever you call that part, that’s what it was.
    So that particular piece of strategy worked like a dream. Let me say it VERY CLEARLY, Messrs. Bush, Cheney, Rove et al. FREEDOM VICTORY PLAN MISSION! I get it!!
    Energized by the sight of the President leaning on one arm to thrust over the front of the podium and point a finger directly into the camera, right in my face – whatta tough guy! you can believe that he’d kill every terrorist on the planet, rip their livers out with his teeth and gobble them down raw and bloody if he wasn’t busy being the leader of the free world – I downloaded and read “The Plan.”
    I can see why this was classified information prior to its publication today. It’s way, way, way too complicated for the public. I’m sure that’s why they left out all those niggling details, the operating mechanisms and specific actions we’re going to take. They don’t want to distract us from the message (see above).
    I did like the part about how Saddam had let the infrastucture go and now we had to fix it. He neglected it so bad that after 2-1/2 years and billions of dollars of our tax money paid to the biggest construction companies in the world it still won’t work! Just a little bomb damage … boy, what a loser that Hussein was!! Oh yeah, it’s complicated by the increased demand for electricity due to the Iraqis buying new TV sets and stuff after we increased their prosperity. Don’t want to forget that. (It raises the question of what good an electrical appliance is if there’s no juice to run it, but I don’t write strategy pamphlets so I don’t have any idea.)
    But the best part of the whole thing was “The Eight Strategic Pillars.” I’m proud we can go T.E. Lawrence one better. The Old Testament, too. A real display of American can-do spirit. Shows those pointy-headed Arabists something, huh?
    Over all … I’m so tired of being cynical. It’s a joke, right? Tell me it’s a joke?

  13. Patrick Henry says:

    Pat..I too am Tired of the Karl Rove Staged Speechs in Fronts of the Troops..Who have no choice but to be there when ordered to do so..and cheer on Q..
    Our Troops are Patriots and always Ready to do thier Jobs..Thats doesn,t mean they aren’t entitled to opinions and feelings as CITIZENS..and they should NOT be exploited for political reasons..
    They will cheer` at any Patriotic thing the President says..Rove knows that..Thats why Bush gives the same Speechs..TO GET THE same effect..resultS..
    The cheers pump Bush up..and it always looks like He has the Troops and Military support..behind him..(How Much..Really.??)
    I dont like and Haven’t liked this apparent continued xploitation of the Troops and Military for POLITICAL REASONS..Mostly to Hype the War..
    On the Zarqawi Issue you Raised..The Brutal Actions of that group of Terrorists..helped this Administrqation continue to hype/Promote this War as Legitimate..
    Proof we are Fighting Real terrorist..Proof they are still around .. Just as Ruthless and as Determined as the 9/11 Players..so they can tell Us.. Its Better fighting them over there than over here..
    Of Course..London..Spain..Egypt..Jordon all happened after those speechs..
    Experts say another event here is just a matter of time..How BIG and how Bad is the Question..
    Jordan..Spain..London etc all showed that Organized JiHad Covert Military Operations are On Going..
    Any Day can now be 9/11..
    If President Bush wants to give speechs he should do it from the Oval Office like former presidents did..
    I think the Jihadists can keep that stuff up for a long time..there appears to be no end to those who are willing to Martyr /Kill themselfs for thier “Holy War'”..
    I have strong suspicion there is indeed State Support for those activitys..
    I agree with those of you who say Iraq really has become a Training Ground..Aided Recruitment and Created even more resentment and Hatred for the United States..by those Religious Zelots..
    Thats an Arab World Problem and they ought to FIX it..(More Politics.. Wink wink nod nod Stuff)
    Love those SECRET AGREEMENTS..!!!
    I think Bushs sppech today is a New Shift in Strategy and Policy..because of the New elections..
    Now they have to creat some kind of Unificaation if thier plan is going to Work..
    The Problem the American people have is we dont know what all the SECRET PLANS and AGREEMENTS are between the Organizers in this Administration and the Regime they are trying to Creat in Iraq..
    In the Meantime…Rumsfeld should be Replaced..He’s a Man Obsessed and Posessed..
    Just watch him on TV..
    We need a Pro military..Do IT the RIGHT WAY..Troops First..EXPERIENCED..SEC/DEF..
    I dont feel confident with Rumsfeld or his Attitude or Behaviour..
    This is Beyond POLITICS..
    WE are in a War..or Potential WARS on many Fronts..
    Our Security go’s beyond IRAQ..and the Politics and Obsessions of this Administration..
    Maybe the NEOCONS started this Mess..but that doesn’t mean that we have to LET IT RIDE..for three more years..
    With all the Potential Abuses of power..I want assurance there are Checks and Balances and Accountability..
    Or OUR Government and Our Founding Fathers have Failed…and alot of Good men and Women have Died for Nothing..
    So..Give our troops what they need..Stop all the IED HumVee Troop killings..acounting for 2/3 rds of our Troop deaths..
    Cannon Fodder methods killed alot of Good Men in Nam..for no good Reason at ALL..
    So..The Exploitation of the American People, The Military..The Political Process /Government and the Waste of the Nations Assets/Capitol has to End..
    As an 8th Generation American I am Ashamed of the kind Of politics..Exploitation and Mis -Representation I see coming out of Washington D>C>
    Especially when we have just had Several Disasters here at Home that MUST be Dealt with..
    WHAT is the PRIORITY anyhow..??
    Its so Hypocritical..

  14. parvati_roma says:

    I read the “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq” document ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/30/AR2005113000376.html) and commented on it on another forum. To
    my absolute amazement – as I’m a total amateur – when I checked in here to read the blog I found my reaction had been almost identical to Patrick Lang’s!! i.e. I too actually saw some potential “virtue” in it, for more or less the same reasons: official recognition at long long last of THREE categories in the insurgency etc. etc.
    Here’s what I said
    (link is http://www.strategytalk.org/phpBB2/posting.php?mode=editpost&p=42377 but it’s a very long thread and my post is way down the page so I’ll quote for convenience):
    “cheryl” said: Maybe there’s a pony in there somewhere?
    “parvati_roma” [that’s me] said:
    Re the official strategy-doc you linked to, Cheryl -think the “pony-count” hinges largely on … what the definition of “is” is?
    For instance “as long as necessary”… is a somewhat flexible concept… so is the term “victory” when you actually start reading the fine print:
    “Unlike past wars, however, victory in Iraq will not come in the form of an enemy’s surrender, or be signaled by a single particular event — there will be no Battleship Missouri, no Appomattox. The ultimate victory will be achieved in stages…”
    [My comment] The definition of the “enemy” and how to deal with it/them is non-monolithic – we now have THREE categories and a flexible, political-style approach to the first and largest, with a partially ditto approach to the second as well, instead of at worst one at best two “totally unassimilable” insurgents=terrorists categories to be dealt with by a rigidly military+policing “WOT” approach :
    [quote]”The enemy in Iraq is a combination of rejectionists, Saddamists, and terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida. These three groups share a common opposition to the elected Iraqi government and to the presence of Coalition forces, but otherwise have separate and to some extent incompatible goals.
    * Rejectionists are the largest group. They are largely Sunni Arabs who have not embraced the shift from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to a democratically governed state. Not all Sunni Arabs fall into this category. But those that do are against a new Iraq in which they are no longer the privileged elite. Most of these rejectionists opposed the new constitution, but many in their ranks are recognizing that opting out of the democratic process has hurt their interests. We judge that over time many in this group will increasingly support a democratic Iraq provided that the federal government protects minority rights and the legitimate interests of all communities.”
    [My comment:] WOW! Big change here.. this is political-solution language and thinking.. glory be!
    [quote] “* Saddamists and former regime loyalists harbor dreams of reestablishing a Ba’athist dictatorship and have played a lead role in fomenting wider sentiment against the Iraqi government and the Coalition. We judge that few from this group can be won over to support a democratic Iraq, but that this group can be marginalized to the point where it can and will be defeated by Iraqi forces.”
    [My comment:] More “political” thinking…. which does NOT close the door on “de-extremizing” the de-Ba’athification process nor justify slaughter, points to “marginalisation” followed (if necessary) by defeat by Iraqi forces
    [quote]”* Terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida make up the smallest enemy group but are the most lethal and pose the most immediate threat because (1) they are responsible for the most dramatic atrocities, which kill the most people and function as a recruiting tool for further terrorism and (2) they espouse the extreme goals of Osama Bin Laden — chaos in Iraq which will allow them to establish a base for toppling Iraq’s neighbors and launching attacks outside the region and against the U.S. homeland. The terrorists have identified Iraq as central to their global aspirations. For that reason, terrorists and extremists from all parts of the Middle East and North Africa have found their way to Iraq and made common cause with indigenous religious extremists and former members of Saddam’s regime. This group cannot be won over and must be defeated — killed or captured — through sustained counterterrorism operations.”
    [My comment:] No real quarrel with that… (apart from the “unrealistic” non-mention of the 3rd possibility/probability of simply slinking away to somewhere else – such as ME neighbours and/or Europe )… and elsewhere the doc states it expects the Iraqis themselves to – gradually – do most of the “defeating”.. so again it’s slightly more “open-ended” than it might appear at first glance.
    “* There are other elements that threaten the democratic process in Iraq, including criminals and Shi’a religious extremists, but we judge that such elements can be handled by Iraqi forces alone and/or assimilated into the political process in the short term
    [My comment:] You gotta love it! – short-term “assimilation into the political process” door wide open not only to sadrists and other Shi’a extremists and relative militias (with which I “realistically” have to agree 100% – provided the Sunnis are allowed the same privilege in their own areas) but also to CRIMINALS… !! How very convenient. 😆 …cut-throats, kidnappers and – of course – corrupt embezzling politicos with hands already repeatedly caught in the till will ALL be welcomed with open arms!!! Ah well… could call it the price of realism?

    And here’s my pet “pony” so far:
    “Earlier efforts to correct past wrongs have sometimes alienated Sunnis who were not complicit with Saddam’s crimes. Iraq’s leaders need to find a middle ground — between pursuing justice for every past wrong and leaving the past unexamined.”
    [My comment:]Guess those “earlier efforts to correct past wrongs” include everything from gleefully rubber-stamping the US’s collective-punishment razing etc. etc. of Fallujah to militia murder-squads, sectarian torture with drills etc etc?… how exquisitely euphemistic! “ah well” etc as per previous comment…
    But in general, the best thing about this strategy-doc is that the further down you read into the fine print – i.e. once you get past the rahrah introduction – the less rigid/fanatical and more flexible/political it actually sounds.
    Also suspect the use of the word “pillars” to describe the various categories of action-lines foreseen is designed to facilitate dialogue with Iraqis – echoes of the “five pillars of Islam”… and/or T.E. Lawrence’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”? Hope the more rigid mullahs the US has taken “on board” won’t find it blasphemous though – but I guess that aspect must have been already checked out… Khalilzad not being exactly a fool etc??
    Overall impression is that this is a document that tries to have something for everyone, take everyone’s concerns and perspectives into account… the fruit of a lot of “thesis/antithesis=synthesis” discussions and thought – consequently also allowing ample room for such partisan sports as competitive/partisan “who gets the most ponies” nit-counts. Could be fun? …no doubt the specialist blogosphere will find plenty to chew on.
    Anyway, wishing ’em all (US and Iraqis) the best of luck with it… as for now it’s clearly the “best” they’re going to get.

  15. Norbert Schulz says:

    When I read and hear speeches like that I always think of the line ‘we’ll … err … you’ll fight to the last cartridge’ in Stalingrad, and wait for them to talk about ‘Wunderwaffen’.
    I’m rarely disappointed.
    For G.W. Bush that is a pro-US Iraqi gvt and a pro-US Iraqi army – probably sent right from heaven, because I can’t see anything like that in Iraq.
    For Cheney torture is that ‘Wunderwaffe’ that miraculously will make the Middle East people and terrorists wet their pants in fear, and no more commit cat acts of terror because they are afraid, knowing ‘America means business’.
    So the real Wunderwaffe is to make the enemy really afraid. Shock and awe them. Because when one believes the neocons and their claqeurs, like that pompous moron Goldberg, 911 only happened, and the Iraqis only dared to resist, because America looked so weak and people around the globe were insufficiently afraid of her. For those folks genocide would a show of force that makes America safer. Yay!
    Sez Goldberg:
    Well, I’ve long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to, what I call the “Ledeen Doctrine.” I’m not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me for ascribing authorship to him and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it, but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”
    What a BS.

  16. Curious says:

    The NYTimes doesn’t like Bush speech.
    The address was accompanied by a voluminous handout entitled “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq,” which the White House grandly calls the newly declassified version of the plan that has been driving the war. If there was something secret about that plan, we can’t figure out what it was. The document, and Mr. Bush’s speech, were almost entirely a rehash of the same tired argument that everything’s going just fine. Mr. Bush also offered the usual false choice between sticking to his policy and beating a hasty and cowardly retreat.
    On the critical question of the progress of the Iraqi military, the president was particularly optimistic, and misleading. He said, for instance, that Iraqi security forces control major areas, including the northern and southern provinces and cities like Najaf. That’s true if you believe a nation can be built out of a change of clothing: these forces are based on party and sectarian militias that have controlled many of these same areas since the fall of Saddam Hussein but now wear Iraqi Army uniforms. In other regions, the most powerful Iraqi security forces are rogue militias that refuse to disarm and have on occasion turned their guns against American troops, like Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

  17. Curious says:

    The NYTimes doesn’t like Bush speech.
    The address was accompanied by a voluminous handout entitled “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq,” which the White House grandly calls the newly declassified version of the plan that has been driving the war. If there was something secret about that plan, we can’t figure out what it was. The document, and Mr. Bush’s speech, were almost entirely a rehash of the same tired argument that everything’s going just fine. Mr. Bush also offered the usual false choice between sticking to his policy and beating a hasty and cowardly retreat.
    On the critical question of the progress of the Iraqi military, the president was particularly optimistic, and misleading. He said, for instance, that Iraqi security forces control major areas, including the northern and southern provinces and cities like Najaf. That’s true if you believe a nation can be built out of a change of clothing: these forces are based on party and sectarian militias that have controlled many of these same areas since the fall of Saddam Hussein but now wear Iraqi Army uniforms. In other regions, the most powerful Iraqi security forces are rogue militias that refuse to disarm and have on occasion turned their guns against American troops, like Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

  18. John Howley says:

    Holy SpyMasters, Batman! Another INTELLIGENCE FAILURE. President Bush announced in Annapolis yesterday that it has been discovered that the enemy we are fighting consists of three elements, the largest of whom are indigenous Iraqis, not foreign terrorists as was previously thought. Once again, the White House given lousy data by the analysts down in the bureacracy. (I thought we had cleaned all those guys out?) How can the American people expect the Commander-in-Chief to win the war with such bad intelligence? Now that he knows who the enemy is, I’m sure his PLAN FOR VICTORY will be a success (that’s PLAN FOR VICTORY in case you missed it). The senior journalists and commentators mostly commended Bush for “acknowledging” the reality of the opposing forces. Our expectations of our leaders are so low that when Bush takes a baby step towards reality, he is saluted for being a statesman! The other view, of course, is that he has been LYING THROUGH HIS TEETH (that’s LYING THROUGH HIS TEETH) for 2.5 years about who the enemy is but President for Vice Cheney wouldn’t like it if I suggested that. So I’ll go along with the fiction that he only figured it out yesterday. Makes me feel better. Now, troops and citizens, rally ’round this great leader!

  19. W. Patrick Lang says:

    It makes me uneasy that CJCS was over at the National Defense University today telling the audience that we couldn’r possibly withdraw from Iraq without total victory because the enemy threatens our very existence and wishes to do away withour way of life. Sound like we are back to a monolithic enemy in Iraq.
    One day? pl

  20. Michael Murry says:

    After every intelligence failure our Lunatic Leviathan bureaucracy purges the few who know anything while retaining and promoting those who don’t. For example: when Mao and the communists won the Chinese Civil War and unified China after centuries of colonization and exploitation, America considered this a “loss” and blamed all the knowledgable foreign service officers — like John Service — who had predicted the outcome. The China Desk at the State Department became radioactive for a generation. Also: when the Vietnamese won their second war of independence (against America), America considered this a “loss” and anyone — especially military veterans — who had anything like knowledge and experience of Vietnam found themselves part of an alleged “syndrome” (see neoconservative nutcase Max Boot recently in the LA Times) and virtual pariahs. In the Lunatic Leviathan, expertise and integrity equate to disloyalty.
    Again, the Joint Chefs don’t know how to cook omelets; they just know how to break eggs. The “enemy” in Iraq threatens the way of life and very existence of our exposed troops in Iraq because our President, his Vice President, his Secretary of War, and his Joint Chefs of Staff have sent our troops to Iraq where anyone who wants to kill Americans can do so. Apparently, American troops lose their American citizenship when they become “troops,” so their government doesn’t care who wishes to destroy them and their way of life in Iraq.
    And for those who think that George W. Bush now recognizes (after two-and-a-half years) the existence and nature of three Iraqi factions violently opposing America’s military occupation of that “sovereign” (for over a year now) nation, I say: “Nothing of the kind. He has merely demonstrated that even a dyslexic dwarf chimpanzee can learn to repeat the number “three” if given enough practice reading it off a teleprompter.”

  21. Curious says:

    About Bush goals. (hah, so somebody already said the sam thing. How we really are not building an army, just body guards for puppet government. Hence Bushes goal won’t be achievable without legitimate govenrment in the eyes of Iraqis.)
    an interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski where he provides a blunt critique of the Bush Administration . .
    Q: Do you think the Iraqi army is going to be ready soon?
    I think our course with the Iraqi forces verges on the absurd: It is all about us training them. The question arises: Training them to do what? If it is a matter of knowing how to use a Kalishnikov in order to kill other people, I think most military-aged Iraqis don’t need our training. If it is a question of training Iraqis so they behave and act like American soldiers, that’s well and good. Except that is not what is needed in the circumstances we will be bequeathing them. What is needed is motivation based on loyalty to the powers that be. That will mean loyalty to various Shiite militias with a clerical connotation and loyalty to the two major Kurdish formations. Plus, perhaps eventually, loyalty to some Sunni militias based on a tribal allegiance. The motivation is not going to be created by American sergeants who are — quote, unquote — “training” them how to behave like American soldiers.

  22. Curious says:

    11 Marines die near Fallujah. Developing.
    Bush should rot in hell.
    A roadside bomb Thursday killed 10 Marines while they were on “foot patrol near Falluja,” the Marine Corps said Friday.
    The Marines were from Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).
    Eleven Marines were also wounded in the incident, and four of them have not yet returned to duty.
    update II Marine is out of Camp Lejeune. They have a tank batallion assigned to their unit, which begs the question, were the tanks there? Why were these guys on foot? More below the fold.

  23. Patrick Henry says:

    Another Sad Day for the Marines and thier Familys back home…
    Sounds like the REBELS knew when and where the Marine Patrols would be..
    I wonder how many of Rumsfelds “Highly Trained” Iraqi Troops were standing around watching while Our Troops got killed..
    Why aren’t the Iraqis conducting these Operations by Now..??
    This is Disgusting..
    I call for ALL American Flags on All Government and Public buildings to be Conwtantly Flown at Half Mast as long as American Troops are Dying Because of these Terrorists Act..
    They are there dying under orders from the President..
    Thier familys are living in Fear
    every single day..(a Form of Terrorism.).Because thier President has sent those troops into harms way deliberately..
    Our Troops are no less important than the 9/11 Victims..
    Or the President or any other Politician for whom we would fly the Flag at Half Mast..
    SO..Lets make it a National Policy to Keep our
    Flags at half Mast to Honor and Remember Our Troops and Thier Familys..
    A Daily reminder that Troops are Dying and Familys are suffering..and kids are Crying..
    Because the Politicians Sent them to Die…and Put them in Harms Way..
    Tell Us George..Tell Us again..
    How much you Feel thier Pain…

  24. John Howley says:

    Fly all flags at half mast — I like it. Can someone get this concept to Murtha? He might go for it.
    As for enemies and objectives, King George can only create more confusion. If the enemy is indigenous Iraqis then we defeat them or cut a deal, either way we’re DONE in six months or two year or whatever. Troops come home with honor, etc. BUT if the enemy is Al Qaida, then we’re in a Global War on Terror requiring a Generational Committment (Condi’s phrase) in which case it won’t be over for four or five decades, right? So, King George, which is it? Over soon or over never? Or both? It’s a bitch being a War President (though not quite as bad as being on the tip of the spear.) Saw a nice bumbersticker today: “Quagmire Accomplished!”

  25. Eric says:

    William Arkin weighs in on the New, New Thing, here:
    And, Here:
    Verwey, verwey interesting reads, both.

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