Rumors on the Potomac

042606snowbush Guess what, folks, these stories are mutually exclusive if they are to be taken as indications of a likely change of course for the USA in Iraq.

There is a great deal of wishful thinking going on along the Potomac these days.  The Post article speaks of discontent and brooding among  members of Congress, "foreign policy experts" and the like over the goings on at the Baker/Hamilton run Iraq Study Group.  There is talk of a coming visit by a "senior" group of Republican law-makers to Bush (GStK) to tell him that he must "change course" in Iraq ("cut and run") or? (something).  There is also the rumor that the friends of "the father" (small "f") have marshaled their forces and "girded their loins" for a similar effort.

Unfortunately, all of this inspired rumor-mongering seems to be based on whispering occurring outside the hearing of the president (GStK).  Bush, himself, and his spokesman, Tony Snowjob, went out of their way yesterday to make it clear that this is all "hooey."  Read the WT article!!  It could not be more clear.  Do not mistake Bush (GStK) for a businessman who maintains a brave front until his latest venture reaches the stage of collapse.  He never was much of a businessman and lacks the instinct for "cutting and running" as he would think of it.  If he had been Henry Ford he would still be making "Model As."  To hell with the market!  He does not have a clue when it comes to such concepts as "sunk cost."

People are asking me uninformed and fantasy laden questions. 

1-  Will the military be willing to continue along the present path?  Hell yes, they will.  What do you think this is, Paraguay getting ready for a coup against "El Jefe?"  As long as they receive legal orders, the military will obey.  That is the essence of being a soldier and they all understand that.  In addition, they do not want to run this country and they know that ultimately this would be their fate if they stopped fulfilling their constitutional function.  General Caldwell’s unhappiness in Baghdad?  Understandable, but not something that will be tolerated for long.

2- Congress?  They authorized the war.  Will they vote to un-authorize it?  I think not.  Their only real lever against a really intransigent president in a war situation is to cut off the money.  Do you really think they are going to do that?  I think not.

3- The Bush 41 people?  What are they going to tell him, that he is naughty?  They should start thinking (with the Congress) of what kind of statement they are going to make to the press in the West Wing driveway after he shows them the door.

The president can not be re-elected.  Whatever is going to happen in the mid-term is going to happen.  It appears to me that they have precious little leverage to use against him. (GStK)

I will begin to take seriously the current rumors of great things a coming when Bush or Tony start to "crack" in public.  I have not seen it yet.

Pat Lang

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53 Responses to Rumors on the Potomac

  1. Frank Durkee says:

    Snow went out of his way to shoot down several of the Iraq alternatives being floated around at this point. I think the Col. is correct. A reason for all the action might simply be cover for the increasingly sombre assments comming out of the WH and pentagon.

  2. Abu Sinan says:

    “After-battle reports of Hezbollah commanders now confirm that IDF troops never fully secured the border area and Maroun al-Ras was never fully taken. Nor did Hezbollah ever feel the need to call up its reserves, as Israel had done. “The entire war was fought by one Hezbollah brigade of 3,000 troops, and no more,” one military expert in the region said. “The Nasr Brigade fought the entire war. Hezbollah never felt the need to reinforce it.”
    Reports from Lebanon underscore this point. Much to their surprise, Hezbollah commanders found that Israeli troops were poorly organized and disciplined. The only Israeli unit that performed up to standards was the Golani Brigade, according to Lebanese observers. The IDF was “a motley assortment”, one official with a deep knowledge of US slang reported. “But that’s what happens when you have spent four decades firing rubber bullets at women and children in the West Bank and Gaza.”

  3. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Abu Sinan
    This comment did not belong with this post. pl

  4. W. Patrick Lang says:

    However clever they may be, the friends of the adminisration are incapable of this wide a manipulation. pl

  5. kim says:

    cripe, you’re really depressing with this honest and accurate assessment thing.
    so here’s my uninformed and fantasy laden but totally sincere question.
    what’s the chances of a “draft pat lang for prez 2008” movement?

  6. Michael D. Adams says:

    My current time constraints prohibit proper defense of my following suppositions. Perhaps this weekend. That said:
    1) I do not think that on proper review there has been a legal order given in this whole damned criminal action against Iraq.
    2) Since all parties, civilian and military, have failed to honor their oaths to defend the Constitution from all enemies, (in this case domestic) what’s the problem with telling an obviously insane psychopath usurper (GStK) to shove it. Ay, Capn’ Queeg?
    3) Since the Constitution has been abrogated the the default founding document now in effect is the Declaration of Independence which leaves a lot of latitude for corrective action.
    See You in Gitmo,
    Ever So Sincerely,
    Michael D. Adams
    Proudly descended from a long line of American Terrorists starting with Francis Marion who was probably gay with an name like that;-)

  7. confusedponderer says:

    I read an interesting article titled ‘Empires in Decline’ by Michael T. Klare in the Asia Times. He also makes the point that however foolish it would be to attack Iran, the decider might be very much indifferent to the facts on the ground. Without really being a declinist myself, I think he makes a good point.
    Thinking the US almighty the Decider will probably feel the irresistible urge do what he feels he, that is the US military, gotta do, be it only to claim a place in the history Books – as a wanna-be reincarnation of Winston Churchill. Tools of choice would be Air Force and Navy.
    “I believe that the common wisdom in Washington regarding military action against Iran is wrong. Just because American forces are bogged down in Iraq, and Rice appears to enjoy a bit more authority these days, does not mean that “realism” will prevail at the White House. I suspect that the response of declining British and French imperial elites when faced with provocative acts by a former subject power in 1956 is a far more accurate gauge of what to expect from the Bush administration today.
    The impulse to strike back must be formidable. Soon, I fear, it will prove irresistible.”
    I really hope they will resist it.

  8. Will says:

    Seventeen or so shopping days left until Democrat Xmas- the first Tuesday in November. Hope Santa comes.
    Control of the Legislative branch and thus the whole country we may owe to one South Asian-American plucky college student who followed Senator Maccacca around with a TV camera until he cracked.
    Fitzie could have exercised some Prosecutorial discretion and taken out Bush’s best friend Rover but dealt Pumphead a devastating blow by “scooting” out his prime enabler who indubitably will be pardoned.
    It’ll all sort out in the next fortnight or so, everybody including Kim Jong Il is trying to cool it. There may not be a last minute October surprise. Of course I could be wrong, and often have been.
    Best Wishes.

  9. phantom says:

    What is GStK?

  10. zanzibar says:

    I’ll be very surprised if the Decider changes course. He’s got 2 more years and if the Democrats win a majority in the House, he will get them on the defensive pretty soon with his well honed propaganda operation. For the Decider to change course would be admitting to a mistake and defeat. He’s not going to do that. Better to tough it out and hammer his opponents for losing the war.
    Getting out of Iraq will be deemed a defeat – another Vietnam from a PR perspective. Whoever orders that will face that burden and we don’t have any politician with courage for that. The President that orders withdrawal will be pilloried by his opponents for losing the war. The Decider will be long gone by then. So it will be a muddle for sometime.

  11. D Joyner says:

    If we were to make the following assumptions: 1) robust number of trained and equipped US troops in the 300,000 range 2) Unlimited budget 3) Political will across the center of both parties — is it then even conceivable that a McCain style option (way more troops) would deliver a stable, unified, US-friendly Iraq? Is it even possible to pacify Iraq at this stage?
    I’ve not heard anyone with any expertise speak to this in detail, rather, the experts seem to be lining up on the opposite side of the argument.
    And, as you have pointed out, we are being prepared for some unpalatable solution (to my way of thinking) coming from the Iraq Study Group whether or not the President decides to knock it down.

  12. arbogast says:

    If, as I maintain, the original plan was “On to Tehran” in a matter of weeks or months after the Iraq invasion, George has a particularly bitter pill to swallow, largely because he has been beaten by Iran. He hasn’t just not conquered Iran; they’ve beaten him. They will forevermore have an influence in Iraq that they could never have had under Saddam. And oil.
    So he has two problems. First, a potential political problem if those Diebold voting machines don’t do the trick on election day. Two, a crushing defeat in Iraq.
    Given the infantile state of his mind, I would say that there is at least a 50-50 chance that he will try a “Hail Mary” in the near future.
    What I don’t think he wants is ridicule. And he’s coming perilously close to a kind of universal ridicule that would really hurt.
    So, once again, a “Hail Mary”. That way he can be the “Hero of the Gulf” even if the entire effort goes up in flames.
    It’s interesting. Because he did so much harm, people don’t really ridicule Hitler even though he was patently ridiculous (exception: Charlie Chaplin). All Bush has to do is a lot more harm, and then people won’t ridicule him.

  13. clio says:

    I agree that this administration has no intention of changing course. Bush has already said that he would continue his present Iraq policy if his supporters were reduced to his wife and his dog.
    I previously thought that this war would just grind on at stalemate level. In the last few days I have begun to think that the guerrillas have become strong enough to force the pace.
    Is there more/any likelihood of policy change forced by events on the ground?

  14. GSD says:

    The Republican Party will resemble the Donner Party once this election is over…
    The fundagelicals want a divorce from the business folks who are barely talking to the libertarians….
    Bush will be a legendarily lame duck president and may well helicopter his family to Paraguay to avoid criminal prosecution.

  15. If the Baker group is unable to broker some kind of arrangement that POTUS sees as a “deal,” perhaps one that will also benefit his Saudi friends, then the situation will indeed be dire.
    In that case, the only leverage will be legal if the Dems take the house or senate. Impeachment, etc. POTUS has broken many laws in some folks perception. That is the nub of it in my opinion. And that is what makes the stakes so high as Mr. Bush has said. It is a very dangerous situation given the stubborn and ignorant persona of the president.

  16. Freeman says:

    A few minutes ago I heard President Bush say: “We will stay, we will fight, and we will win in Iraq.”
    Well, so be it. But I no longer have any idea what winning means in Iraq. As I write, British troops have been placed on standby to re-occupy areas of southern Iraq previously handed over to the Iraqi government.
    Meanwhile, there is a large naval build-up taking place in and around the Persian Gulf, and the opportunities for inadvertant miscalculation or deliberate mischief, by either the US or Iran, are too finely balanced for comfort.
    What happens next?

  17. lina says:

    Sometimes I wish it was Paraguay.
    Where’s Francis Marion when we need him?
    Col. Lang isn’t running in 2008, but will be offered a Cabinet position in the new administration (unless he gets “disappeared” between now and then for his subversive electronic speech).

  18. julie says:

    Faith based reality. Is iot such madness rather than objective circumstances that brings down great nations?
    Miami – The top US general on Thursday defended the leadership of defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God.
    “He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country,” said marine General Peter Pace, chair of the joint chiefs of staff.
    Rumsfeld is “a man whose patriotism focus, energy, drive, is exceeded by no one else I know … quite simply, he works harder than anybody else in our building”, Pace said at a ceremony in Miami.
    Rumsfeld has faced a storm of criticism and calls for his resignation, largely over his handling of the Iraq war.
    But he got a strong show of support from the military establishment at Thursday’s ceremony, where navy Admiral James Stavridis took over Southcom’s command from General Bantz Craddock.
    “He comes to work every day with a single-minded focus to make this country safe,” said Stavridis, who was a senior aide to Rumsfeld before taking on the Southcom job.
    “We’re lucky as a nation that he continues to serve with such passion and such integrity and such determination and such brilliance,” said Stavridis.

  19. Michael D. Adams says:

    As it turns out, Peter Pace along with King George, is now also considered a comedic genius in certain parts of China as indicated by recent reports that Sun Tzu has laughed all the dirt off his grave.
    Top US general says Rumsfeld is inspired by God
    Agence France-Presse | October 19, 2006 11:05 PM
    Money Graphs….
    The top US general defended the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God.
    “He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country,” said Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
    Rumsfeld is “a man whose patriotism focus, energy, drive, is exceeded by no one else I know … quite simply, he works harder than anybody else in our building,” Pace said at a ceremony at the Southern Command (Southcom) in Miami.

  20. Will says:

    Google wasn’t much help but delivered
    ” God Save the King | Main … GStK! Pat Lang. ”
    Best Wishes

  21. DSP says:

    What is the difference between Iraq and Vietnam? Jay Leno answered that last night: Poppy could get “W” out of Vietnam, but he can’t get him out of Iraq.

  22. Cloned Poster says:

    I think PL should have said……… PS: see my post below for reality check.

  23. JM says:

    We have to consider that sectarian strife and chaos in Iraq is precisely what some courtiers in the Bush admin are aiming for, along the lines of the “analyses” written by Wurmser, Perle, Feith, et al. well before the war.
    If the destruction of Iraq is part of the program, why bother leaving. Hole up in the biggest embassy in the world and wait until the smoke clears. I’ll bet that’s what the majors (e.g., ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP) are suggesting.

  24. Walrus says:

    Let me be the first to state the bleedin’ obvious about General Pace’s comments.
    I don’t care if Rumsfeld spends his days in drunken carousing in a homosexual bordello provided he gets results. His work habits are totally and completely irrelevent.
    As for Paces comment about Rumsfeld being “inspired by God”, I find it extremely alarming that any General would say such a thing. It is even more alarming when one thinks of anyone inspired by faith being allowed near nuclear weapons.
    On a rational level, it calls into question both his own and his commanders decision making processes, and if Pace’s comment is accurate, and he really believes in Faith based decision making, then he should be immediately removed.
    Most of the worlds miseries in the last 500 years have been inflicted by leaders who believed they were informed by a higher ideal, often god given, that led them to engage in suicidal statecraft.
    I would strongly prefer to be governed by the meanest, devilish SOB, provided they based their decision making on rational analysis of reality instead of living in this Neocon fantasy world sold to them by the PNAC.
    I believe Bakunins quote will provide the final epitaph for this administration:
    “Religion allows people to inflict unspeakable cruelty and misery on other people and still sleep well at night, safe in the knowledge they are doing the Lord’s work.”
    I really believe America is in deep trouble and I fail to see any light at the end of the tunnel.

  25. confusedponderer says:

    I think you’re mistaken. It’s about clean-breaking. The original battle plan was to stop in Baghdad on the way to Damaskus, depriving Hezbollah support, waiting out Israel crushing them while blocking the Lebanese-Syrian border, and then to attack Iran, and then deal with Saudi Arabia.
    In its way that approach is quite logical and consequent. The only problem lies in it’s utter impossibility. Had it been possible, and succeeded, it had unmistakenly underlined America’s dominance (not to mention neo-con genius), and set a precedent. That’s what the neo-cons wet dreams were and probably are about.
    Reality interfered. Getting bogged down in Mesopotamia prevented the original plan. So, in and neo-con-world, the recent glorious victory by Israel’s invincible forces, was only slightly imcomplete because the Syria (and Iran) had not (yet) been regime-changed, so that Hezbollah had safe-haven and support. It’s all Syria’s, and Iran’s fault. That view also explains Israel’s current sabrerattering.
    It’s all about silver bulleteers seeking hardware fixes for political problems.
    It underlines for me that in the age of Al Quaeda the neo-cons still view problems through the cold-war-prism, when guerrilla wars were almost always proxy wars, and when guerrillas had client states. It’s beyond their grasp that an entity like Hezbollah, despite state support, can exist on its own.

  26. North Bay says:

    My take on these mixed signals has them as mere campaign subterfuge- a grudging acknowledgment that popular disenchantment with this great tragedy has reached a point where some type of hope must be dangled before voters, however forlorn that hope in fact is.

  27. billmon says:

    As always, thanks for telling it like it is, Colonel. I don’t know why so many people have such a hard time understanding that the administration is set in concrete on this. Part of me thinks it’s just the need of beltway journalists and think tankers alike to have something new to write about from time to time. If they don’t get it, they’ll make it up.
    I’m being only partially facetious here. I realize there’s a hard edge of real desperation — if not despair — to the current babbling about “policy changes” and “new strategies,” but over the past few weeks the media chatter has drifted right across the line into outright fantasy. The realists have turned into surrealists. Baker now sounds as deluded as Bush.
    I suppose it’s because of the election. Afterwards, maybe we can get a more plausible debate going — like, how many more Iraqis and Americans will die over the next two years of staying the course?

  28. blowback says:

    Pat – were you aware that Bush has bought a 100,000 acre ranch in Paraguay when you wrote this post?
    Given all the talk about Hezbollah terrorist operations in the so-called tri-border area, I have to guess that it is not a spider hole for him, although there are probably none of Prescott Bush’s Nazi drinking buddies still alive down there.

  29. ikonoklast says:

    The anticipated ISG report takes me back to October of 1972 and Kissinger’s pre-election surprise “Secret Plan” for victory in Vietnam. Or was that for “peace with honor” … a concept that the current regime in DC seems to have abandoned, assuming they could understand honor at all.
    In any event, reports of the ISG offering an impending solution to the Iraq issue this close to an election is probably more domestic political crap. That the rumors are conflicting and self-contradictory only plays into the strategy. You can’t fault any plan that isn’t adopted, and there are plenty of excuses available for not doing so, i.e. the Democrats only understand cut and run. (As HRH GW Rex stated yesterday, the only thing Dems have in common is they don’t want victory.) Conversely, staying the course can be presented as preferable to some half-baked plan hatched by a bunch of fossilized diplomats.
    Court Prevaricator Tony Snow can dictate the latest spin to the kingdom’s stenographers on a day-to-day basis depending on polling data, playing either side for best advantage.
    When is a plan not a plan? When it’s an affront to your intelligence.

  30. Frank durkee says:

    Col. Harlan Ullman is being quoted in the Australian media as saying that the situation in Iraq is out of our control. Is that a reality statement, an exageration, or ‘off the wall’? If it has even minimal truthfulness what does that point to for our troops and their efforts in Iraq?
    Frank Durkee

  31. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Harlan is a retired Navy Commander who wrote an interesting book that was creatively misunderstood in rumsfeld pentagon.
    I would agree that Iraq is going to go “all the way down” in dissolution and there is precious little that we can do at this point to affect the outcome.
    We should be thinking about how we are going to deal with the aftermath. pl

  32. oreo10 says:

    To “Phantom” above;
    I think “GStK” is an abbreviation for “God Save the King.” You might look downthread for the source.

  33. arbogast says:

    There’s only one reason to buy a 100,000 acre ranch in Paraguay that is next to an American military base.
    Any guesses?
    The envelope please. Answer: nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere.
    In general, the winds travel from West to East. The radiation from a nuclear war in the Middle East will probably stay in the Northern Hemisphere to a very great extent. Or at least that’s what the Bush’s hope.
    Nice people.

  34. arbogast says:

    I now find it hard to believe that the “Rapturists” have not won.
    Rumsfeld inspired by God. That’s Rapture-Ready if ever I’ve heard it.
    And now I think this will go down between the election and when the new Congress is sworn in.
    They’re going nuclear. And then they’re going to Paraguay.
    Nice people.

  35. Shr Fang Tian says:

    The aftermath is going to involve a bitch-panged economic recession that will exacerbate the already precariously and laboriously hidden American economic woes.
    The military will withdraw and remain at a high level of preparedness in anticipation of the civil-war’s wind-down; it will furthermore carefully “monitor” the Iraqi situation for any sign of foreign “interference” and may well use “reports” (regardless of whether or not they are real) of such incursions to intercede with air-power in favor of one side or another, or even to push further for an Irani-American conflict.
    Eventually, the civil strife will start to level out; my money says that it will resolve into a regime that’s quite hostile towards the U.S. or instead mimics the worst of the 1980’s dictatorships in El Salvador or Honduras, except with worse atrocities and a greater overall population decrase.
    I am sure that whatever regime emerges, it will experience tremendous interference and will find it very difficult to coalesce because of covert U.S. operations that our intelligence services will use in an attempt to shape the political outcome of the conflict.
    Such covert ops will be used to “gather intelligence” to demonstrate “unacceptable” Irani interference in the post-occupation environment. The operations will be modeled on the Honduras and Salvadoran models developed in the 1980’s (Negroponte has, after all, already had carte blanche to do as he wishes for some two years, now).
    Eventually, however, a regime will take form, and then the question will be simple: if that regime has protection from some other group — like, say, the Iranis, the Chinese (via Iran), or (more distant possibility) the Russians — then a new version of the Cold War may very well erupt as these nations compete with American for control of the Iraqi oil resources. We may see Iran openly arm itself through an alliance with China (what i suspect will be the case, although truthfully that’s just intuition speaking there), or we may see something completely different.
    OTOH, if the new Iraqi government doesn’t yet have protection — which is possible, i suppose — then by the time the new Iraqi playing field starts to take shape the U.S. will orchestrate some sort of “rescue mission” along the lines of the Kosovo campaign and occupation. This will happen regardless of which party — Democrat or Republican — dominates the government.
    They’ll do it because the U.S. needs the oil to keep it’s habituated lifestyle afloat, and needs it equally as much to guarantee that Chinese labor remains available at third-world prices.
    Regardless of what happens, the idea that the U.S. is just going to get up and go home and leave the Iraqis to fight it out among themselves is pure fantasy. U.S. involvement in this war is far from over; i doubt it it will be ended even ten years from now.
    FWIW: the Chinese have, up until now, maintained an unaggressive stance towards the U.S.-dominated energy market. It’s obvious to the rest of the world that it is primarily from its dominance of the oil markets and the U.S. dollars used to trade oil that the U.S. gleans most of its economic influence. The current conflict in the Gulf may very well be a prize that is valuable enough for the Chinese to risk an open face-off against current U.S. geo-political strategy, and it is likewise possible that their conventional military forces may, by that time, already be powerful enough to stand in open defiance against U.S. military authority.
    Even if the Chinese forces aren’t able to improve that dramatically and quickly, their missile and nuclear capabilities already make it possible for them to offer an “aggression defense shield” to nations in the region.
    In our post-colonial world it is easy for Americans and (to a slightly lesser extent) Europeans to forget that the Persia-North India-China trading corridor was, for millenia, the most cozy and fertile technological, intellectual and economic region on the planet. While admitting that India and China currently suffer from horrific population pressures, i can’t see any justification for not presuming that geographic and economic forces will naturally re-align Asian, African and European commerce along those latitudes.
    Moreover, the more ire the U.S. garners from the world, the more likely it will be that this future comes to pass sooner, rather than later.

  36. Will says:
    Reconciling ego and reality
    By Harlan Ullman
    October 18, 2006
    “The world indeed has changed. But not as we think. American power and perceived omnipotence have been greatly neutralized or displaced.” ….
    “This means aligning our ego with reality. Mr. Bush once called for a more humble foreign policy. The times never demanded one more.”
    Best Wishes

  37. ali says:

    All this talk of course changes and resolve is just beltway puff; in reality the dithering Deciders decisions will have little impact on the dark future that awaits Iraq. We are now just spectators in Iraq. I think we are seeing the likely pattern of our retreat; it will make clinging to the helicopter skids look oddly dignified.
    It’s already happening in the South. As the British hand over their bases to the Iraqis they fall to militia lead looters while outnumbered unmotivated Iraqi troops look on. Now we have Amarah itself seized by the Mahdi army from the Badr controlled police we handed it over too. Large sectarian militia units now stage reprisal raids against rival cities. More and more the British resort to mobile remote camps, staying in one place just makes them a mortar target.
    As the militias, bandits and death squads stand up we stand down. In reality we continuously “cut and run” from a fight that was lost two years ago.
    We will leave eventually when the next POTUS concludes Iraq is a Vietnam like quagmire. But we are mired in a far bigger problem here and it will bring us all back to the region again as the chaos spreads beyond Iraq’s borders.

  38. ikonoklast says:

    As Bush teleconferences with his generals today:
    ‘Religious leaders of both Shia and Sunni communities signed “Mecca Covenant” Friday forbidding further bloodshed and sectarian violence in Iraq.
    Participants included senior Shia and Sunni clerics, and the top clerics in the holy city of Najaf, the former leader of Iraq’s largest Sunni party and a senior official from the largest Shia, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).
    The fatwas were vetted and approved by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country’s top Shia leader, and radical figure Muqtada al-Sadr, who is not a high ranking cleric but runs the Mahdi Army.
    At the end of the signing ceremony, a presenter read a message from al-Sistani and other top Shia clerics supporting the final communique. He also read a letter of support from Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, the grand sheik of al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt, Sunni Islam’s top seat of learning. ‘
    Interesting to see if either conference will have any real effect.

  39. Tom Griffin says:

    Maybe General Dannatt’s comments indicate Britain is a little bit closer to Paraguay?
    The British military does have form for undermining policies and even governments it does not like. Check out some of the goings on in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s that went under the label Clockwork Orange.

  40. Got A Watch says:

    Since reality is a country most Americans have never entered, this debate amounts to pure speculation. Just today Shrub said he will “stay the course no matter what” or words to that effect. Isn’t that the classic definition of stupididty: continually repeating an action while hoping for a different result (to paraphrase)?
    It is amazing how far America has fallen, in less than 10 years from widely respected to feared and contemptible. Somewhere in his cave Osama is smiling, as all appears to be going according to his plan. Two more years of Shrub and his ilk and you won’t recognise the place.

  41. Matthew says:

    Col: What is your opinion about the reports that Iran has informed Bahrain and Qatar that they will consider an American attack on Iran as an attack by the Gulf States on Iran? Iran would then target oil and gas facilities throughout the Persian Gulf. Is this true? And is this the Iranian version of a Samson defense?

  42. Alex says:

    Arbogast, “On the Beach” is not meteorology.

  43. julie says:

    I have a question about the future state of the military. It is said younger officers are reading “Dereliction Of Duty” while senior officers who get promoted seem to be replaying the docility that so weakened the army. Will this lead to stress in the future? Was there similar stress after Vietnam? If there is tension between levels does it encourage reform?

  44. arbogast says:

    One thing appears to be clear: Bush et al would love to get out of Iraq, but they believe quite seriously that they can’t.
    And the reason they can’t is that their puppet regime that lives in the Green Zone is an imaginary government that, if it leaves the Green Zone will get its head blown off.
    The Wonderful World of Disney…costing 50 to 100 American lives a month.

  45. 4 billion says:

    A question for history buff’s that may seem a little off topic, but, on closer inspection maybe not. When Hitler hit the election trails, was part of his platform “disband the democratic system and install a dictator/decider”? I’ll hazard a guess and say no.
    As an Australian I must say the level of reverance Americans have for pres. and flag is something quite foreign to us. The acceptance of 2700+ dead in a dubious war is perplexing, in Oz we have had one soldier die (in dubious circumstance) in Iraq, and we had a government inquiry into that one death.
    It seems that 9/11 has triggered off a subconcious reaction that unfettered, could lead to armagheddon, which will not be a disappointment to some. One of the few things I am certain about in life is ‘be careful what you wish for, it may come true’

  46. VietnamVet says:

    It is a shame that the right wing took the exactly wrong lesson to heart from the loss of the Vietnam War. It wasn’t the press that turned Americans against the War. It was Americans realizing that their government lied to them. There was no light at the end of the tunnel.
    In Iraq the Big Lie metastasized into Agit-prop with corporate media enabling. If there was reporting in the USA as clear and informative as the Asia Times articles cited above by Abu Sinan, an actual intelligent debate could be held about the future of the Middle East and America’s need for secure energy sources and safe borders.
    The true believers and the neo-conservatives ignored all the lessons of the 20th century and embarked on two occupations on the cheap. History is clear that the only two ways an Empire can secure an occupation is to uplift the inhabitants by bringing the benefits of civilization or by pacification with overwhelming force and population pressure. Since America can no longer do either in Iraq and Afghanistan, the USA is fated to pull its troops out of both countries sooner or later.
    The worry in this discussion is how can leaders who so totally and completely ignore reality suddenly start acting rationally in their last two years of power? It can’t happen.

  47. zanzibar says:

    The chaos in Iraq has its own momentum. The question is what are the possibilities in terms of the aftermath? Curious to get others opinions on the range of scenarios?
    Does this lead to a wider ME conflagration? Does the anarchy provide a safe harbor for jihadists? Would Russia and China get more aggressive noting US weakness? Will the US military become the scapegoat?

  48. jang says:

    “Agit-prop”, Vietnam Vet, many thanks for the term which defines much of the US MSM as I see it from the north shore of the St. Lawrence river. Recently Frank Luntz has arrived here. Big difference though: it’s too early for his persuasive language package, on behalf of our Conservative PM, to be amplified and resonated through our MSM thus sparing us reflections of Alice and her looking glass, so far, in Canadian MSM.

  49. ali says:

    “When Hitler hit the election trails, was part of his platform “disband the democratic system and install a dictator/decider”?
    Hitler was an opportunist, like most able politicians, he crafted his words and actions for his current audience. He toned down the NSDAPs strident anti-Catholicism for instance.
    But Hitler was always had a frank revolutionary purpose: “destroy democracy with the weapons of democracy” as he believed: “democracy is the foul and filthy avenue to communism”. His goal: “We want to liberate Germany from the fetters of an impossible parliamentary democracy — not because we are terrorists, not because we intend to gag the free spirit. On the contrary, the spirit has never made themselves its master”
    Hitler in 1925: “If out-voting them takes longer than out-shooting them, at least the result would be guaranteed by their own constitution…Any lawful process is slow…Sooner or later we shall have a majority — and after that, Germany”
    From Mein Kampf: “The NSDAP [Nazi] Party must not serve the masses, but rather dominate them”
    This will resonate with those that value a independent judiciary: “The Furher is the supreme judge of the nation; there is no position in the area of constitutional law in the Third Reich independent of this elemental will of the Furher”
    And one for the preening unilaterlists: “One works best when alone.”
    And no; Bush is not like Hitler. Bush may have played fast and lose with The Constitution, as many Presidents have, but he believes American democracy is God’s instrument in the world. That messianic tendency combined with a startling lack of competence I’m afraid has been a large part of the problem.

  50. Matthew says:

    Vietnam Vet is on to something. If it were just the Bush Administration spinning Iraq, then the loss of faith would be manageable. Instead, the governing class–Democrat and Republican–enabled the war. And the corporate media went completely AWOL. The disillusionment will be universal.

  51. billmon says:

    In general, the winds travel from West to East. Arbogast: “The radiation from a nuclear war in the Middle East will probably stay in the Northern Hemisphere to a very great extent. Or at least that’s what the Bush’s hope.”
    It didn’t help them much in “On the Beach”

  52. Marty says:

    I followed the Great Billmon over here from his blog. I was already aware of Pat Lang (from The News Hour), but if this site is good enough for Billmon to post comments, I’m reading this site every day from now on!

  53. Byron Raum says:

    Unfortunately, there’s a problem with the “winds blow West to East” theory, on account of the rather simple fact that the earth is round. Nuclear fallout will not respect the international date line and stop moving when encountering it. Here’s a fairly easily understood discussion about global wind patterns: ; essentially, it’d appear that any poison will end up at the equator and carried to the other hemisphere?

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