Open Thread #3 (maybe)


This is an interesting article on sheikhly attitudes but I can’t think of anything I would want to say about it that I have not said already.

I have something else to do.

So, go ahead and ventilate over whatever you have been brooding on.  pl

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40 Responses to Open Thread #3 (maybe)

  1. jonst says:

    Ok, here goes. Yesterday I met up with someone who works (paid)for a candidate running for the House of Reps in the 1st District in Maine. This is the race to replace Tom Allen who running against Collins. You’ll have to trust me on this but this is a highly Blue, to coin the phrase of the day, District. And the Dem primary vote almost inevitably draws the bluest of the blue. To be sure, There are some French-Canadian (ethnic description) strongholds in this district. They could be called conservative Dems. But for the most part this is a very liberal district. And the candidate in question, is the most liberal, (I would argue)of the candidates running. Anyway…sorry for the long beginning but some context is necessary I believe. Anyway, this person told me that she had been to over a dozen fund raisers for Candidate X. These events are, typically, held in someone’s House. If the weather is nice…its spills over to the back yard. Maybe 50 people per event show up. Candidate gives a short speech. Takes questions. Well, this source told me that very, very, few people (in some cases, NONE) bring up the subject of Iraq. The issues are health care, general economic issues, gay marriage, climate change and abortion. But not Iraq. You could have knocked me over with a feather. You still could. I can’t get over this. I have a sinking feeling. Anyway, I respond , ‘does anyone talk about saving the Republic?’ She looks at me as if I suddenly started speaking Serbo-Croatian. I don’t know what larger lessons, if any, can be drawn here. But I would not have predicted it. And, as I noted, I am left with even more of a sinking feeling than I normally have. And, she told me, no mention of Iran whatsoever.

  2. Will says:

    As long as it’s an open thread
    Who is a Turk?
    Abdullah Gul? ARAB
    the prez
    “Early life
    President Gül was born in Kayseri. He was brought up in a conservative family environment by his father Ahmet Hamdi, a mechanic, and his mother Adviye. His family has lived in Güllük Camii in Kayseri for about one hundred years.[2]His great-grandfather was an Arab who immigrated from Siirt to Develi around 1915.[3]. Gül was also called with the name Cumhur by his family.[4]”
    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan GEORGIAN
    the prime minister
    Erdoğan was born in Kasımpaşa, Istanbul. His family was descended from Georgian immigrants who settled from Batum to Rize. (He announced his origins during his visit to Georgia in 2004.[1]) Erdoğan spent his early childhood in Rize before returning to Istanbul at the age of 13. He spent most of his childhood selling simit on the streets of Istanbul before he received some education at a religious İmam Hatip school and at Marmara University’s Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences (İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi). Erdoğan played semi-professional football in a local neighbourhood club for 16 years.
    And 35% of the population is mountain Turks or KURDS
    And the Turks around Alexenderata are Syrian Alawis
    I guess the Military and conscription is the glue that keeps the country together. A million man army. The draftees go off singing “every turk is born a soldier.”
    Never underestimate the national binding glue of an army. Are you listening Lewis Paul Bremer?
    May you rot somewhere not nice!

  3. Cold War Zoomie says:

    I hate yardwork.

  4. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The arrangement at my house is that I agree to live in a house with a yard/garden so long as I do not do agricultural work. pl

  5. frank durkee says:

    Jonst, Having lived through the McCarthy era, Watergate-the Plumbers, etc, I am not surprised by your friends reaction. so few really pay attention and so many are bascally unqware of what is at stake that her response becomes the norm.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Turkish Alawaites are of 2 minds – they want to be recognized/tolerated/accepted in the Turkish polity. At the same time, they are staunch seculrists since they do not like a Sunni-dminated religious polity which would be intolerant of their beliefs and practices.

  7. Jim Morgan says:

    Jonst (PL I understand if you don’t want to post this)
    I’m on the other coast in a red county in the upper part of blue California. I talk to several different groups of people who have been or are doing surveillance/elicitation on me, ( in the 100’s now). The average person has only limited Internet skills and can not carry on a conversation about our foreign policy involving Iraq or Iran. The mass media has been their only source of information. When I put it together that these people were doing surveillance on me I too was surprised. For reference, my conversations with these people have been down the center of Pat Lang’s site. How did I end up with so many people to talk to? In the spring of 2000 I saw the market topping and ready to roll over. With air travel going to decline I thought fewer planes would be sold so I bought $11,000 worth of October puts (bet the price would drop) against Boeing. Oh, that wasn’t bad enough, in 2003 I started teaching myself Arabic with a college first year book and audio CD’s, that with 20 channels of Arabic free TV, on all the time, and I thought I would be set for the last 10 years of work doing long haul communications work in the happy Middle East—Wrong. The good part is I’ve added some knowledge to a lot of good people— Maybe that’s how we keep the Republic upright, one person at a time. I’m one of the 99% of those who got shafted by Cheney’s “One Percent Doctrine”.

  8. VietnamVet says:

    Having just passed by my 38th anniversary in the US Federal Government, the only wisdom gained after decades in the civil service was that corporations rule but laws and regulations moderate their behavior. In the last decade this inheritance from the New Deal was broken. Also, torn asunder is the trust that Congress tells the truth and serves American citizens.
    Today’s Washington Post article, For a Democrat, Options in Iraq Could Be Few, ends stating “Ultimately, however, it appears now that no matter who inhabits the White House, the United States may be resolved — or resigned — to an enduring presence in Iraq. “America has taken a deep breath, looked into the abyss of pulling out, and decided, ‘Let’s not do it yet.’ ”
    The Israeli Lobby and Oil Companies are too powerful. The United States will fight a never ending colonial war until it no longer can afford the cost in men and treasure at some certain date in the decades ahead. In old age it keeps coming around again and again. Sy Hersh says it best:
    You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You’d think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can’t possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.

  9. DeLudendwarf says:

    Just watching Breaker Morant on TNC.
    Interesting Things Here.
    Doubt 20% of our population has got a clue.

  10. Buzz says:

    Well venting it is then.
    Here’s the cover story for the Oct 8 issue of The American Conservative
    This doesn’t suggest anything for “the way forward” except more of the same.
    Can anyone argue with the logic in this article?
    I can’t.

  11. Edward Merkle says:

    The Shia in Iraq will defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq with Iran’s help. Give the job to the people with the most motivation.
    When we get our constitution rights back I’d like to propose a new amendment, The US may not get involved in a foreign war again unless the entity threatens our extinction or for a length of more than 6 months.
    We don’t have the attention span to handle more than 6 months. The risk of fubar is too great.

  12. taters says:

    Dear Col.Lang,
    I have a new email addy it’s
    I hope and trust all is well.

  13. Two books by Malcom Gladwell worth reading-1. The Tipping Point and 2. Blink. Interesting to speculate on their analytic framework in international context. I would argue Tipping Point renews the urgency of cogent demographic analysis of various countries. And Blink indicates that the background noise of the blogs may in fact lead to better intuitive decisions and better overall decisions. As always stand to be corrected.

  14. Will says:

    Undercurrents of the news. Conflicts b/n No.1 & 2
    1. Petraeus vs. Fallon
    Petraeus is Dumbya’s boy. He’s carrying the water for war w/ Iran. Fallon is trying to tamp the fires down. Fallon is the superior, they are both 4-stars, but Petraeus knows he has Bush-Cheney’s ear. He is also the darling of the media and Congress.
    2. Al-Qa?da. al-Hakim Zahwiri al-Masri has prevailed over the tall one UBL. The emphasis has shifted to attacking the apostate Muslim regimes first. Target No. 1 is Musharraff and Pakstan. This is predicted and predictable b/c Dumbya took his eye off the ball and squandered our blood and treasure in Irak.
    Military brains plot Pakistan’s downfall
    By Syed Saleem Shahzad

  15. Different Clue says:

    I am surprised at the behavior of the educated, informed, and presumably modestly well-to-do Democrats described by jonst
    up above. I can only guess in the dark as to what it means.
    It reminded me of something I heard about way back in a college course about animal behavior..something called ‘displacement behavior’. When an animal or group of animals is under sudden extreme stress and it or they cannot or dare not straightforwardly address or attack the cause of that stress, it or they will do strangely inappropriate other things. Stomp on grass, kick clumps of moss around. The case was cited of laboratory mice which; when presented with a seemingly deadly threat approaching their cage and, having nowhere within the cage to take shelter; would retreat to the far corner and begin grooming themselves, eachother, etc. Displacement behavior. Perhaps the democrats described above are doing the same thing. They percieve the coming Pearl Harbor attack on Iran to be a deadly threat about which they can do nothing, so they
    retreat into the displacement behavior of discussing things which really won’t matter in a post Pearl Harbor II world.
    Or maybe they think that Maine is so far from the rest of America that the blowback won’t blow their way.

  16. Yohan says:

    Abu Risha was no great man, he was just another in a long line of conman opportunists who, through empty flourish, are able to milk gullible Americans for millions in cash and prizes.
    Bribe a tribe is all well and good…until the cash runs out.
    The author is correct that picking the strongest strongmen in Iraq and letting them take over would cause more stability than the status quo, but he’s being unbelievably naive to think that this is in any way virtuous or democratic or that this is being engaged in by great men. This also requires the US to have the ability to pick winners instead of our usual caravan of clowns(Chalabi, Allawi, Maliki, Abbas, etc.).

  17. Will says:

    Col., Do you know this lady- Frances M. Fragos Townsend?
    Arnaud de Borchgrave skewers her in his latest column.
    Beware of Greek-Americans in Intelligence.

  18. jonst says:

    Last comment from me on this issue. Hopefully, anyway. Let me clarify…the kind of people going to the gathering I spoke of highly skilled, high earning people. That is why they are invited in the first place. They are, usually, among the most technologically sophisticated. They KNOW a lot about Iraq. That’s my point. They KNOW about it but did not care to discuss it. It did not rate a high profile on the screens. Nor did the other little diddies Bush has brought us. Gitmo, unconstitutional surveillance, overseas detention, Blackwater, none of it rated very high for them. And they know.

  19. Homer says:

    pl: So, go ahead and ventilate over whatever you have been brooding on.
    I have been brooding on the fact that what we see in Iraq is President Bush’s direct BUT inadvertent response to the horrific attacks of 9/11.
    On 9/11, nearly three thousand people died ghastly deaths (e.g., throats slit, vaporization, smoke inhalation, etc) and tens of billions of dollars in damage were in occured.
    Bush then exploited 9/11 and deceived Americans, expanded his own power, invaded Iraq, deposed SH, and then caused the forcing of the reins of power into the bloody hands of men who have sought to transform a secular Iraq into a fundamentalist (Shi’a) Islamic republic for well over twenty years while exiled in and funded by Iran and Syria.
    (Rem: Al-Dawa, PM Maliki’s party, was founded in Iran a few decades ago. al-Hakim’s party, SCIRI (SIIC) was also founded in Iran. Both were allies of Iran in the Iraq-Iran War)
    In short: 9/11 + Deposition of SH = Bush’s Islamic Fundamentalist Republic in Iraq
    And now Bush is proposing to have a `fanstastic freedom institute’ which will use the Islamic fundamentalist republic of Iraq as its shining example of democracy??
    That’s what I have been brooding on.
    Thanks for carving out the channel.

  20. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I do not know her, and am unlikely to know her. pl

  21. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Frances Townsend first made her way into public consciousness with the PBS Frontline episode re: John O’Neill “The Man who Knew”. I recall watching her interview and concluded that she was most definitely in a CYA mode. Who knows…but the Frontline episode aired when everyone was trying to jump on the O’Neill bandwagon because he was ahead of the institutional curve. Regardless of her mo, when watching the interview, I sure was left with the impression she and O’Neill had been close. But each must decide for himself or herself
    WaPo published an article about her 05, in which Stephen Hadley described Townsend as an “honest broker” in internal policy debates. Translation: she is on Hadley’s side and therefore part of the AEI weltanschauung. So odds are extremely high she was an “honest broker” most recently when Hadley refused to share with the US intel community information he had received from the Israelis.
    Ah yes, Stephen Hadley — our National Security Advisor. What I am getting ready to write may appear as an anachronism — a very gauche statement that if uttered on the Georgetown martini circuit would cause people to roll their eyes, turn and walk way. The women certainly would distance themselves because the statement would indicate that one is not on the a-list. But you’d think that a National Security Advisor’s first obligation would be to the US people. And more than that, he immediately would have handed over the information with the request, “Does this information in any way, shape, or form affect US national security interests? Does it indicate any increased risks to US military operations in the Middle East or around the world? Does it indicate any increased risks to our troops in Iraq?”
    Townsend comes from the world of federal prosecution. Was Hadley’s concealment of information- and while we are at it, the Wurmser option endorsed by Cheney — indicative of treason, either de facto or de jure? I don’t know but I am sure Townsend would conduct herself as an “honest broker” when determining the facts and applying the law.

  22. Yohan says:

    jonst, maybe it’s just a Mainer thing? The deep blue city I live in(inside an increasingly blue swing state) seems to care about Iraq quite a bit. My neighborhood has dozens of “End the War” and “Support our Troops: Bring them Home” yard signs and bumper stickers. During the Democratic Primary in my district for 06, the most anti-war candidate came out of nowhere to convincingly win the nomination over establishment candidates with solid records on other issues. He went on to win the general election by over 25%.

  23. Bobo says:

    My Rant
    I cringe whenever a military person is in front of congress as our represenatives continue placating the officer with the phrase “I thank you for your service”.
    What they need to start saying is ” I thank you for doing something I never did”.
    That is Honorable.

  24. rjj says:

    Yohan and jonst, I think it is just Mainers being sensible as they are wont to be.

  25. jang says:

    That is stunning Jonst…the monied Dems are not discussing Iraq? Iran? nukes? What plane of existence do they inhabit? At the very least, where is their anger? Soldiers being recycled into war zones, wearied, traumatized, and still fighting.
    Why aren’t these Dems questioning the danger of a media fog which perpetuates with Luntzspeak targeting, a skewed vision of reality and salivates at the prospect of attack, attack, attack?

  26. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Stephen Hadley refuses to share supposed intelligence from Israeli sources with our own intelligence agencies, eh? Gee, I seem to recall that Jonathan Pollard, fondly-remembered darling of the AIPAC fifth columnists, was not nearly so reticent about “sharing” our intelligence with the Israelis. Huh. Imagine that… But then, the traitor, Pollard, was passing along real intelligence. Perhaps the difference here is that the “intelligence” from the Israelis isn’t so real; perhaps it might even be accurately assessed as highly spun, if not downright fabricated? Somewhat like the crap that was stovepiped through the Office of Special Plans to the Presidunce by Douglas Feith in the run-up to the Iraq war? I just can’t conceive of why Hadley wouldn’t want this valuable
    “intelligence” to go through a thorough vetting by our own intelligence professionals. Huh, go figure.

  27. My strong belief that Frances Fragos Townshend will be frequently mentioned in the history books about the second and third Bush administrations. Reason is simple. For once the absence of mistakes caused by giving of advice based on truth for power may be represented most ably in this administration by Ms. Townshend. Don’t know her personally but by watching her operate from a distance she is a very very astute player and may even survive into the next administration. Never overlook brains and hardwork in an administration that from my standpoint appears neither brainy or hardworking. It is interesting that the conservative thinktanks have virtually shut down on Homeland Security policy now that a mini-DOD military-industrial-academic complex has included HS in its umbrella of large ineffectual contracts with lots of spare change for waste, fraud, and abuse. Bottom line is that FFT should be closely analyzed for her performance and what has and what has not been accomplished. At least that fool Ridge needed money and left the government after firmly demonstrating no instinct for policy, management, administration, or solid core beliefs in the US Constitution. Just because you were elected a governor does not mean success in Washington. FFT could earn a fortune now but hangs on for the most Patriotic of reasons, to make a difference over what could be a crucial last 15 months of the administration which given the total incapacity of the DEMS is not yet a lame duck.

  28. dasher says:

    “FFT could earn a fortune now but hangs on for the most Patriotic of reasons”
    FFT’s husband is earning a fortune (arbitrage lawyer) so she doesn’t have to . . . . Wonder who’s raising those kids?
    I dunno. I smell a “true believer”, post 9/11 and that makes me VERY nervous.

  29. Will says:

    the hard-on against the Persicos goes all the way back to the Hellenes and Romans
    “Here is the Latin original of Horace’s ode, with a closer English translation:
    Persicos odi, puer, apparatus;
    displicent nexae philyra coronae;
    mitte sectari rosa quo locorum
    sera moretur.
    Simplici myrto nihil adlabores
    sedulus curo; neque te ministrum
    dedecet myrtus neque me sub arta
    vite bibentem.
    Boy, I dislike Persian finery; garlands sewn with bast displease me; don’t try to find out in what spot the late-blooming rose lingers.
    I don’t want you busily embellishing plain myrtle; myrtle isn’t unsuitable, either for you as you serve or for me as I drink beneath the trellised vine. ”

  30. Will says:

    on Operation Orchard
    “The big mystery of the strike is how did the non-stealthy F-15s and F-16s get through the Syrian air defense radars without being detected? Some U.S. officials say they have the answer.
    U.S. aerospace industry and retired military officials indicated today that a technology like the U.S.-developed “Suter” airborne network attack system developed by BAE Systems and integrated into U.S. unmanned aircraft by L-3 Communications was used by the Israelis. The system has been used or at least tested operationally in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last year.
    The technology allows users to invade communications networks, see what enemy sensors see and even take over as systems administrator so sensors can be manipulated into positions so that approaching aircraft can’t be seen, they say. The process involves locating enemy emitters with great precision and then directing data streams into them that can include false targets and misleading messages algorithms that allow a number of activities including control. ”

  31. Will says:

    the NeoKons frittering away our national assets so countermeasures can be designed
    Suter is a military computer program developed by BAE Systems that attacks computer networks and communications systems belonging to an enemy. Development of the program has been managed by Big Safari, a secret unit of the United States Air Force. It is specialised to interfere with the computers of integrated air defence systems.[1]
    Three generations of Suter have been developed. Suter 1 allows its operators to monitor what enemy radar operators can see. Suter 2 lets them take control of the enemy’s networks and direct their sensors. Suter 3, tested in summer 2006, enables the invasion of links to time-critical targets such as battlefield ballistic missile launchers or mobile surface-to-air missile launchers.
    The program has been tested with aircraft such as the EC-130, RC-135, and F-16CJ.[1] It has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006.[2][3]
    U.S. Air Force officials have speculated that a technology similar to Suter was used by the Israeli Air Force to thwart Syrian radars and sneak into their airspace undetected in Operation Orchard on September 6, 2007. The evasion of air defence radar was otherwise unlikely because the F-15s and F-16s used by the IAF were not equipped with stealth technology

  32. W. Patrick Lang says:

    How about the possibility that the Syrians were just “asleep at the switch.” That would correspond to my experience of them. pl

  33. Will says:

    How about the possibility that the Syrians were just “asleep at the switch.” That would correspond to my experience of them. pl
    b/c that would be inconsistent with
    1) the Russky radar simultaneously been asleep at Latakia
    2)the reported simulatenous widespread computer and cell telephone disruptions & outages in Lebanon and Syria
    see worldheraldtribune story

  34. Will says:

    Operation Orchard revisited.
    In the 80’s Bekaa Valley debacle, the Syrians got their SAM’s wiped out. An Israeli scout airplane showed up. The Syrians switched on their radars and the scout dutifuly recorded their locations and frequencies. Only two truck mounted units (who had advisors) subsequently MOVED.
    Then the main Israeli Air force showed up knowing the SAM location and radar frequencies and wiped them out.
    Maybe now they have learned something. Alistair Crooke at and the friday lunch club says the syrians didn’t take the bait.
    “Ticking Clocks and ‘Accidental’ War,” BY Alastair Crooke Monday, October 8th, 2007”The Syrians saw on their radars the four fighters that penetrated into Northern Syria from the Mediterranean; but they also saw the much larger numbers of Israeli aircraft that were flying in a holding position close to Cyprus.
    The Syrians were not about to disclose their anti-aircraft missile capacities to Israel; and the intruders dropped the munitions and their long-range fuel tanks without pressing any attack, but returned to join the larger group still flying a holding pattern off Cyprus before all returned to Israel as a single formation.
    The Israeli objective remains a matter of speculation, but the general conclusion is that Israel was only ready to run such a risk against unknown air defenses either as a proving run or, given the size of the numbers of aircraft off Cyprus, to destroy some target that for whatever reason they were unable to engage. Either way, the mission seems related to future conflict……”
    You have to remember the Russians have a Naval base at Latakia. It would just be hard to swallow that nobody saw the airplanes coming.

  35. roybaronoo says:

    Roy here and just saying hi (new).

  36. ChrisJSIQuit says:

    hiya every body I’m new and have a brief quest. about your community.
    how could I add my skype messenger contact to a profile?
    thank you ahead of time

  37. DeLudendwarf says:

    There is a Very interesting show on the Weather Channel this week on the failed Iranian hostage rescue attempt in 1980.
    Worth watching, 8 or 9 pm.

  38. Ekrem says:

    Abdullah Gül has done a great job so far as President.

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