Evidence of Disintegration?

Yesterday, we posted the Ignatius column announcing an impending change of strategy in Iraq.  You can find it below under "Two interesting articles."

Today on the front page of the Post (same newspaper) we find this article by Tyson which lays out a process by which a new "campaign plan" is being written in Baghdad by a team made up of thinktankers (CFR, Chatham House, etc.), advisers to Petraeus, State Department types.

Problem:  In many ways the two "plans" described seem to me to be mutually exclusive.  I invite the reader to inspect the two and give an opinion as to points of similarity and conflict. 

The difference in what is described in these two documents leads me to ask if the two visions of possible futures for America in Iraq are the result of significant disagreements over policy within the executive branch.  If that is so, are the contending parties waging proxy-warfare in the press?

If it is not the case that these articles represent some kind of struggle, then the incoherence of substance and unreality of many of the arguments and positions in these papers may indicate a disintegration of thought that would be alarming.  pl


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34 Responses to Evidence of Disintegration?

  1. Got A Watch says:

    The plan was drawn up in the Dream Zone, of course:
    “The campaign plan upholds Bush’s long-term goal of creating a stable and unified Iraq that is a partner against terrorism.”
    Your opinion Col. demonstrates a much clearer grasp of the reality of the situation: “the incoherence of substance and unreality of many of the arguments and positions in these papers may indicate a disintegration of thought that would be alarming.”
    As was stated in previous comments, I hope those who dream up these things will personally apologise to the families and loved ones of the hundreds of US troops who will die during the duration of these ever-changing “Plans”.
    Any government built up by America now in Iraq is really built upon shifting sands, the factions are all lying low now and playing the waiting game, “giant sucking sound” indeed. All of these Plans just look like desperate attempts to position Mr. Bush’s war for domestic political consumption “in the time we have available because of the U.S. political cycle”.
    Imagine how many lives would not have been lost and time not wasted if Bush had totally supported the Baker-Hamilton Report in the first place. Instead, he hs come to pretty much the same place, a “B-H Lite” Plan, minus any co-operation with Iraq’s neighbors, or even acknowlegment they exist, through the back door and at least 6 months have been wasted on nothing.
    It’s as if (in the Bushian strategist’s mind) Iraq exists in a vacum without neighbors and external factors, much like the vacum insde the typical skull in Washington.

  2. stanley Henning says:

    It looks to me like the Ignatius article is a less informed initial alert, while the Tyson article helps flesh out details, but this is just my initial take. Certainly the details in the Tyson article seem to show an understanding of the problems we face but, all this also seems to be a day late and dollar short — a very desperate last ditch attempt to turn things around. I fear the obstacles are daunting. It is hard to take back what we have given away.
    One article says that “reconciliation” is impossible and the other says it will be necessary to remove “bad actors” in order to achieve it. pat

  3. swerv21 says:

    i found the ignatius article confusing.
    he tells us that the thinking is that “Sectarian violence is not a problem we can fix,”, but goes on to include this item in the list of objectives:
    “· Ensure the near-term continuation of democracy in Iraq. That means supporting top-down reconciliation through a new oil law, new rules to make it easier for former Baath Party members to play a role in the new Iraq, provincial elections and changes to the Iraqi constitution to meet Sunni demands. It also means support for bottom-up reconciliation, such as the recent push against al-Qaeda by Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province, and recent peace feelers from radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.”
    This seems to be a relic from the Kagan power points.
    My read is the bullet point represents an a-la-carte approach to the plan, a set of chips to be negotiated and is not necessarily indicative of a comprehensive strategy. Many of these items seem to have been included to demonstrate contunuity with the surge plan so that the administration can weasel out of the painful public admission that this strategy has failed or is failing.
    If we discard the bullet points and look at what Ignatius’ sources are saying, then it looks like the post surge strategy is emphasizing buying off whatever Sunni tribespeople that we can and then backing the goverment and, ultimately, giving them close to free reign.
    “Ensuring NEAR TERM continuation of democracy in Iraq.” Quite an interesting use of words there.
    I think the Petreaus plan is attempting to position itself as a more good faith, rigorous effort at creating the conditions necessary for a diminshment of violence.
    But I wonder if it isn’t too late. There was an excellent WAPO story a while back about one of the joint neighborhood patrols that involved American and Kurdish soldiers in a formerly mixed, now mostly Shiite neighborhood.
    A Sunni woman complained that Shiite sectarians had given her bogus eviction papers. The soldiers detained the men and the woman kept her house.
    The following day she was shot dead in the street. The family vacated the house that night.
    I don’t know how any plan could stop that kind of dynamic once it has been unleashed….

  4. VietnamVet says:

    As usual you are right on top of the situation. The casualty toll is increasing.
    All of the action is political. The quandary is that the Bush Administration finds itself fighting a colonial war. The USA is the hated invader. But, the situation cannot be reversed militarily with the current force structure. The USA can overthrow the elected government and put in a CIA stooge but that will hardly calm the situation. There will never be enough boots on the ground until the draft is started and taxes raised to pay for the war.
    In the USA, the four month funding bill will pass over the objections of liberal democrats. The selection of the next President is just 9 months away. Due to the Iraq War, along with the bursting of the housing bubble, medical insurance crunch and gasoline price gouging, corporate media propaganda ceases to be effective. A never ending war to preserve a Middle East colony becomes less and less affordable. A Middle East peace settlement and energy independence become viable alternatives awaiting a charismatic proponent.

  5. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Compare with the triumphalist state of mind and “plans” of the foreign policy Establishment in the Council on Foreign Relation’s March 2003 Report entitled “Iraq: The Day After.”
    Those “experts” were listed as:
    or with the Pentagon’s masterful strategic “thinkers”/planners circa 2003:
    or with a raft of other plans and planners,
    Alice in Wonderland all….

  6. abiodun says:

    I just finished a book by Dr Ali Wardi, an Iraqi sociologist- Social Glimpses… These plans outlined in the WaPo do not seem to understand the essential basic nature of Iraqi society, hence they are doomed to fail.
    You seem to hit it right by suggesting that these two articles are trial balloons being floated by the “surge” planners.

  7. backsdrummer says:

    Colonel, as per your request, I read through the two articles by Ignatius and Tyson. Here’s what I came up with:
    The “Ignatius” Plan assumes Maliki’s government is hopeless; that “Sectarian violence is not a problem we can fix,” and also there is little time left for a solution.
    The “Tyson” Plan assumes steps can be taken to strengthen Maliki’s government, by eliminating “problem makers” and empowering “nationalists”. No mention was made of any time constraints.
    The “Ignatius” Plan calls for talks with Syria/Iran, and a regionally structured government. I take this to mean Maliki’s government will be ignored, and the regional governments will be empowered.
    The “Tyson” Plan has no mention of talks with Syria/Iran, and pushes a reformed national government, “purged” by Maliki, or if necessary, the US, of those the Bush administration deems too sectarian or criminal.
    Under the “Ignatius” Plan, the US troops focus on force protection. I take that to mean we reduce the force and withdraw to defensible bases. Limited attacks are made on “al-Qaeda” and “Iranian backed” militias. I believe they also intend to keep Turkish, Iranian, and other “foreign” troops out, after the switch to regional governments.
    Under the “Tyson” Plan, there is no talk of force protection, the US force is kept large, and there is talk of protecting Iraqi civil population in areas of sectarian conflict.
    Both plans try to get the Sunnis more involved. The “Ignatius” Plan calls for getting the Sunni’s a share of the oil revenue through a reformed oil law, and decriminalizing the Baath Party members. The “Tyson” Plan sounds similar, and adds Sunnis that killed Americans could be included.
    Both plans talk about strengthening the “Iraqi” Army. The Ignatius Plan focuses on training while the Tyson plan focuses on numbers. I presume under the Ignatius plan the “Iraqi” forces would actually report to the regional governments, while the Tyson plan would support a national army.
    The Tyson Plan for me is hard to accept as “reality based”. My questions:
    Where are they going to find competent “nationalists”? Isn’t anyone empowered by the US quickly discredited as a nationalist? Don’t they realize they will “martyr” the “problem makers” they intend to eliminate? Especially if the US goes after them directly?
    Also, the Tyson Plan requires long-term popular support from voting Americans, as the troops are ordered to referee in areas of sectarian conflict. I don’t see that happening.
    The Tyson Plan, if it could work, would give the US the ability to get the oil law and constitution reformed, and that would help with Sunni reconciliation. The Ignatius Plan, if they go with regional governments, does not appear to provide any leverage to get the oil law or constitution reformed. Thus the Sunni regional governments continue to lack oil funding and that could lead to long-term sectarian problems.

  8. stanley Henning says:

    I realized I was perhaps about to put my foot in my mouth on this one. As I see it — reconciliation-impossible and elimination to reconcile-impossible. Bottom line – imposible! We just cannot escape the fact that we have really botched this one.

  9. anon says:

    thanks for recent post on Lebanon, and new developments in Iraq planning, and very informative comments.
    This entry below from a rather attitudinal and lefty blog argues that the Ignatius’ column was 100% incoherent. Seems like several commenters here are saying the same thing in much gentler and more polite ways.
    Four things bothering me:
    1. the frequency with which we are hearing that Iraq passing ‘the oil law’ will help something or other (reconciliation, stability, reconstruction). As another commenter said, this sounds far-fetched. In desparation, is the Cheney faction revealing one of their ulterior motives for the war? I cannot believe that anyone would be so stupid as to think invading Iraq the way the administration did could be a good way to approach the problem of ME oil security, but there it is!
    2. The recent reports of Pentagon planning for manning garrisons on those super huge airbases over the long term -regardless of what happens politically in Iraq. Are those plans from teh military or the civilians? Is that really a new idea, or another ‘tell’ of what the Cheney faction planned all along? Is it a sane plan?
    3. Signs appear that probability of Iran attack are increasing
    4. Bush’s convenient declassification of bin Laden orders for attack on US from Iraqi AQ. Is that believable? Could it be disinformation from Bush/Cheney, or disinformation from Al Qaeda? Seems to me that if bin Laden has to ask his fighter is Iraq to try a direct attack on the US, things must be pretty desparate for AQ. In any case, so what if it was genuine, what does it have to do with best policy in Iraq -I guess Bush wants us to believe that whatever he chooses to do in Iraq is best strategy for countering Al Qaeda forces there. It would be nice to have a straight up debate about that, rather than using it as a thoughtless talking point on whether current Bush Iraq policy should be continued without any check or meaningful debate.

  10. anon says:

    Several commenters above make good point that passing an oil law with provisions for revenue sharing with Sunni might improve stability (reduce Sunni insurgency).
    But this is the same oil law that also effectively denationalizes the oil inndustry and gives foreign (mostly US, I think) very favorable terms. Am I wrong there? There is *one* proposed oil law sponsored by the US, right? Some argue that favorable terms are needed given the mess in Iraq, but since same foreign interests MADE the mess in Iraq, that is not a convincing argument.
    Anyway, if the oil law does both, what would be the net effect on Sunni insrugency. It has effects that seem to cancel out, as far as effect Sunni insurgency goes.

  11. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Anyone else feel overwhelmed and clueless when trying to noodle through these articles?
    I’m lost.

  12. FB Ali says:

    Tyson concludes her piece on the Crocker-Petraeus plan thus : The plan is a thick tome with more than 20 annexes on topics such as policy on Iraqi security forces, detainees, the rule of law and regional diplomatic engagement, one participant said.
    Such “huge” plans are made at the start of a war or a battle, not in the middle of an operation that is not going too well. Especially when you are faced with an elusive, resourceful enemy whose plan is a one-liner : Create as much mayhem and chaos as possible.
    The solution to the US’s Iraq problem does not lie in-country; it requires a regional solution. You do not get regional cooperation by issuing a Presidential Finding to the CIA to destabilize a key regional govt.
    These plans, complementary or competing, are not going anywhere. For readers who want it laid out less starkly, read Juan Cole’s take on the Baghdad plan.

  13. john in the boro says:

    Von Clausewitz writes: “If policy is right, that is, if it succeeds in hitting the object, then it can only act with advantage on the War. If this influence of policy causes a divergence from the object, the cause is only to be looked for in a mistaken policy.” (“On War”)
    One of the “two plans” rises to the level of policy in the international sense; the other descends to the level of the politics in the domestic sense. One has the scope but not the authority; the other has the authority but not the scope. Thus, Pat notes the “divergence from the object.” The “Commander Guy’s” definition of the national interest is January 20, 2007. This is the vision that Ignatius promotes. The Baghdad team’s definition of the national interest looks a bit farther. This is the vision that Tyson reports. Washington and Baghdad are definitely in different reality zones.

  14. Charles says:

    Re: “disintegration of thought that would be alarming”
    Thought!!? What a novel idea.

  15. Charles says:

    Re: “disintegration of thought that would be alarming”
    Thought!!? What a novel idea.

  16. walrus says:

    There is only one group with a coherent, simple and workable plan for Iraq at the moment – the insurgency.
    Their plan is to get us out of Iraq.
    Kilcullens influence is too little, too late in my opinion, but he is heading people in the right direction, in that he is advising the same reasoned common sense approach, and making the same noises, as I was trained in many, many, years ago.
    ie: Create a security environment where Iraqis can give themselves permission to trust us and support us.
    I fear however that we are going to be overtaken by events if the obviously ‘planted” media reports demonizing Iran yet again are anything to go by.
    I fear for the entire force in Iraq. I have a recurring nightmare of yelling, smiling, AK47 carrying insurgents on the back of an Abrams tank, driving down a city street.

  17. JT Davis says:

    I wanted to find out about Kilcullen, Lt. Col in the Australian Army, Ph.D. in anthropology, Chief Strategist in the Office of the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism…
    His last presentation to USGCOIN:
    The 3 Pillars of Counterinsurgency
    This sounds like the basis of the plan… to me at least.

  18. PSD says:

    Cold War Zoomie–
    you’re in good company….I was already having problems yesterday when I read the WaPo article by Ignatius. The Tyson article just made things more complicated to me. I think my problem is I’m not clued into the intricacies of DC politics. I’m not giving up yet, tho’. I’m gonna read them once again!

  19. anon says:

    Juan Cole says that a constitutional ammendment is key to national revenue sharing in Iraq (and to get more money to Sunnis), not the oil law. Is that correct? If so, what is so important about the oil law? For anything in short- or medium-term regarding security or reconciliation or political stability? Since turning over oil to foreign investment and control will be controversial among many in Iraq, how will it help with insurgency? Makes no sense to me, unless Cole is wrong about its potential role in revenue sharing. Ane even then, it would be a very mixed bag.

  20. john in the boro says:

    Von Clausewitz writes: “If policy is right, that is, if it succeeds in hitting the object, then it can only act with advantage on the War. If this influence of policy causes a divergence from the object, the cause is only to be looked for in a mistaken policy.” (“On War”)
    One of the “two plans” rises to the level of policy in the international sense; the other descends to the level of the politics in the domestic sense. One has the scope but not the authority; the other has the authority but not the scope. Thus, Pat notes the “divergence from the object.” The “Commander Guy’s” definition of the national interest is January 20, 2009. This is the vision that Ignatius promotes. The Baghdad team’s definition of the national interest looks a bit farther. This is the vision that Tyson reports. Washington and Baghdad are definitely in different reality zones.
    (corrected 2007 in my earlier post–old age)

  21. MarcLord says:

    Cold War Zoomie:
    There was a plan similar to these tail-chasers (though Chatham House might’ve come dangerously close to making sense once), in the middle of WWI. Am still a little fuzzy on the name, so don’t quote me on this one, but I think it was called the Von Fucked Plan.

  22. MarcLord says:

    In research, when faced with ignorant, generally disinterested, or hostile bosses whose funding you depend upon, you would think that it is crucial to make them understand what you’re proposing. When often the opposite is the case.
    It is helpful to make a long, technical name for your invention, particularly when you haven’t got it working quite right yet and aren’t really sure if you can ever get it to. When in such a situation, think up an acronym, preferably one which rolls nicely off the tongue and is easily remembered. Management is just as likely to say, “That’s brilliant!,” and pretend to understand as they are to cut your project. Above all, they often do not wish to appear dumber than you.
    That seems to be somewhat akin to what the writers of these reports did.

  23. pbrownlee says:

    Since the leader of the free world appears to have said that resolution of the Iraq adventure will not be left to the next administration, I assume that that is Plan Z exactly.
    Wasn’t it Bismarck who said you should not believe anything until it’s been officially denied?
    Until then we will have the stale fruit salad versions ISG-Lite.

  24. pbrownlee says:

    “In many ways the U.S. is following contradictory objectives: Its security strategy will inevitably strengthen the hand of the alliance in charge of the government, while its political strategy claims that it is seeking to build a nonsectarian political order. The U.S. is trying to finesse this by setting political markers for the [Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki government as a condition of further support, but it will tie itself up in more knots, I believe.
    “Iraqis are thoroughly fed up with the presence of foreign troops that have done nothing to stem the violence and mayhem in the country. All the recent polls confirm this. But the foreign military presence acts as an uncomfortable security blanket in the absence of a definitive political settlement. Should the U.S. pull out its troops? On balance I would say yes, within a 12-to-18-month framework. The U.S. should be explicit about the Iraq that it wants and is prepared to support. If the Iraqi political class is not willing to make the necessary adjustments and learn to forget each community’s grievances in the drawing up of a new national compact — and if the regional powers are not prepared to make their own compromises on Iraq in pursuit of their own interests — I can’t see how and why the Americans should be expected to keep the house from falling.”
    What’s Next in Iraq? Juan Cole Interviews Ali A. Allawi
    (time-limited for non-subscribers)

  25. anna missed says:

    What walrus said:
    “There is only one group with a coherent, simple and workable plan for Iraq at the moment – the insurgency.
    Their plan is to get us out of Iraq.”
    As perhaps evidenced in the simultaneous reformulation of both the Sadr trend and the newly formed (R)eform and (J)ihad (F)ront into a potentially new nationalist movement.

  26. jonst says:

    In either event, more flawed, Colonial/Imperial plans in a post Colonial/Imperial world. End result of either plan? ‘second verse, same as the first’

  27. If it is not the case that these articles represent some kind of struggle, then the incoherence of substance and unreality of many of the arguments and positions in these papers may indicate a disintegration of thought that would be alarming. pl

    Thomas Khun’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions seems applicable here.
    We have an entire leadership that has been based on the fundamental assumption that Iraq should have been workable – but it is not. I do not mean just the Republicans or the Bush administration. I mean the Democrats, the press, industry, and much of academe.
    It is no coincidence that proponents of the Iraq War have prospered – and this includes Hillary, Tom Friedman, and the like. It is no coincidence that Democrats have backed down under threats that they may be held responsible for the effects of a pullout while nobody ( Judy Millar and perhaps Wolfowittz aside ) has been held responsible for starting the war in the fist place.
    Critics of the Iraq War say it is about oil. This is incorrect. It is about SUVs. It is no coincidence that yellow ribbons on SUVs have been so important. The ability to strut about in SUVs is what we are fighting for. It is no coincidence that supposedly “liberal” Soccor Moms revealed themselves as “Security Moms” once their suburban lifestyle was threatened.
    “What is good for General Motors is good for the United States.” That is what we are fighting for. The Alfred P. Sloan, start out with a Chevy and work your way up ’til, finally, “Top Floor: Cadillac” ideal.
    And while our attention has been focused on Iraq, while no one was looking Toyota has usurped General Motors position.
    This is the real defeat.

  28. Sid3 says:

    Comment from the back row.
    If I were an insurgent in Iraq and read these two articles, I’d say to my Muslim brothers in the neighborhood that the US is like a polar bear in the desert. It is disoriented and soon it will die. And then, of course, “God is Great”.
    Here’s why.
    1. The two articles constitute an admission — if not a confession — that the Petraeus’ surge — despite all the media hype — is already a failure. It strongly suggests that Petraeus’ COIN manual was simply an upgrade of the Galula-Trinquier “software” program and did not represent any creative breakthrough or, if you prefer, a new school of art. One would have hoped that Petraeus (whom I believe is a good and intelligent man) would have taken some of the principles given us by the British – French – American tradition and then applied these principles in such a radically new way that fighting counterinsurgency would have taken on different proportions and symmetry.
    2. Both of the new plans are touted as “new” but that don’t seem to represent any great breakthrough. If anything they represent a regression back to the debate of the Petraeus led approach vs. the Baker-Hamilton approach. Regression typically infers fear.
    3. I don’t see how such “fragmentation” at the top of the chain of command could help US military leaders generate what Sun Tzu called the “animating spirit” among the troops on the ground. If true, then the troops on the ground are the ones who will suffer the most because of this lack of a defined objective, which, arguably, could be called criminal.
    4. If these two articles indeed represent some type of disintegration, then is it time to plug the condition into a “psychological” model? Both Jung and Freud wrote that a collective body could suffer from the same psychological ailments as an individual. They of course focused on Nazi German to make the point.
    To push the edge of the envelope and simply to provoke conversation I suppose, the question arises what kind of ailment? Psychological disintegration taken to an extreme begins to show symptoms of schizophrenia. By schizophrenia, I mean the unconscious floods the conscious state with contents that it cannot process. The “irruptions” into the conscious mind lead to regression, disintegration, and paralysis.
    As an analogy, I am reminded of the Stransky character in the film Cross of Iron, as he begin to disintegrate and bark out different, conflicting orders while under the stress of combat.
    But, on a different level, a disintegrating personality often strikes out as it regresses and loses touch with reality. It wouldn’t surprise me if civilian and US military deaths spike. Hope not.
    And finally what is the unconscious content that is causing the disintegration of the USG into disconnected voices? I suggest an image of an Iraqi insurgent leader who realizes that he has slayed what he sees as a dragon — what he sees as the demonic US in a sacred land called Iraq. Like any good Muslim, he venerates the BVM in thanks, and then he says “God is Great”.
    What is a schizophrenic experience for one may be a divine experience for another, especially if they are in conflict.

  29. anon says:

    I think big source of problem is that Wolfowitz was very honest when he said the only rationale before the invasion that everyone could agree on was that Saddam had WMDs.
    Bush depends on his advisors, and VP, but they could not really agree on rationale or goal, and what is sign that they have agreed on anything since? Cheney cannot even give up notion that Al Qaeda and Saddam had significant operational cooperation. Has Bush been able to provide clarity and focus to overall goals and priorities since the invasion? I don’t think so.
    Adding to problem is that administration has probably been very dishonest in its publicly stated goals and motivations. We on outside cannot see through those. And if even the administration advisors cannot agree on basics, then even they are not clear themselves regarding what are true goals and priorites and dishonest propaganda, since they need to ‘put one over’ on the competing factions within the administration. So some dishonesty probably aimed at competing factions within administration as well as public.
    So my conclusion is that we have both bads: incoherent and progressively disintigrating thought at the top, and competing factions presenting competing plans below, with no clear guidance as to goals or priorities. As for the former, we heard Bush today at the press conference descirbe Al Qaeda as pure evil that is a threat to reporters’ children, and then a few moments later described the 9/11 highjackers as poor misguided youth driven to heinous crime by previous administrations’ bad Mid East policies. What were those bad policies? Hard to say what President meant: ‘false stability’ (whatever that means), lack of democracy, poverty… lack of democratic and economic freedom to decide to do on their own what would be best for the US, or what?
    Hard not be depressed and gloomy about things improving soon.

  30. anon says:

    another example of incoherence at the top at president’s press conference today (from blogger Atrios):
    Narrative Inconsistency
    So, we’re fighting “them” over there so we don’t fight them here, if we leave they’ll follow us home, we’re fighting al Qaeda terrorists who want to kill us all, etc… etc… Except if the Iraqi government asks us to leave we’ll go home and wait for destruction.

  31. john in the boro says:

    Not so long ago when I was active Army, we enlisted knew one thing with certainty. As a collective, we were there when the “new” commander took over, and we were there after he left. The question was how many spokes the incoming commander added or subtracted while he remade the wheel. This is in the larger view what the military is facing under the Bush administration. Quite simply, the Bush regime has remade the policy process (it subtracted a large number of spokes, perhaps too many to save the wheel). Bush has a shelf life—January 20, 2009, the military will be there after he leaves office. So, Bush is procrastinating; the Baghdad team is hanging on, waiting for the next “commander guy.” I sure hope the next one has his act together. As for the “two plans”, both are playing for time but for different reasons.

  32. GSD says:

    Me, I still fear that the grand game’s center will not hold until the purported transfer in 1/09.
    It seems to me that the entire region is getting on war footing now.
    Afghanistan and Pakistan have begun with cross border spats.
    Turkey is setting their sites on Iraqi Kurds after a new series of attacks against the Turks.
    Israel and Hezbollah are gearing up for a go around this summer and Syria may not sit this one out.
    Then we have the growing noises about the US and Iran. This potential flashpoint is being cheerled by the Cheney/AEI wing of mismanagment.
    These clowns, Bush/Cheney/Neo-conartists have clusterucked two wars against two poorly equipped weak nations.
    Now there are about 30% of the US that want to give these losers the opportunity for a failed war hattrick against Iran.
    If the US chooses to pick a fight with Iran, there will be many shocked Americans at the results.
    The center won’t hold.

  33. ikonoklast says:

    You build a partner in the war on terror with the democracy you have, not the … no, wait.
    “… the ultimate success in a war against ideologues is to offer a different ideology, one based upon liberty — by the way, embraced by 12 million people when given the chance.” – GW Bush, 5/24/07
    “Finally, the campaign plan aims to purge Iraq’s leadership of a small but influential number of officials and commanders whose sectarian and criminal agendas are thwarting U.S. efforts.” – Ignatius
    You purple-fingered dummies! Not democracy – DEMOCRACY!
    But other than spouting the usual political window-dressing and fearspeech, Commander Guy did mention the ISG report several times, claiming that The Splurge was necessary as a prologue to implementing the Baker-Hamilton recommendations. Whatever. Whether this is simply the next political shill or an actual tilt towards a Plan B …
    THE PRESIDENT: Actually I would call that a plan recommended by Baker-Hamilton, so that would be a plan BH. I stated — you didn’t like it? (Laughter.)

  34. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Anent oil law, an item:
    “Kate Dourian, a Dubai-based analyst for the oil industry publication Platt’s, said the draft law appears to be deliberately vague about the terms that will be offered to foreign companies.
    “At the end of the day, unless you have security and stability, it really doesn’t matter — people are not going to come in,” she said in a telephone interview from Dubai, United Arab Emirates….
    Greater regional control over reserves and revenues could provide the basis for a de-facto partitioning of the country, said one former official in the Iraqi Oil Ministry.
    “The ones who will benefit are the local mafiosi and the separatist political leaders, whether they are the leaders of the Shi’ite religious parties or the Kurdistan separatist parties,” said Falleh al-Hayat, director general of planning at the Ministry of Oil in 2004.
    Even if the oil issue is settled, warned one Iraqi engineer who advises international companies looking to invest in Iraq, squabbles over the supply of electricity and water to the oil industry are inevitable.
    For context see,
    William Engdahl, A Century of War (London:Pluto Press, 2004 rev.)
    Johm M. Blair, The Control of Oil (New York:Pantheon, 1976). Dated but the best technical analysis.

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