The Fatal Flaw…

Last night President Bush announced his adoption of a tri-partite plan for the pacification of Iraq in the context of his vision of the world as a Manichean array of the righteous opposed by the evil, a moiety reminiscent of the war in heaven described so ably by Milton, among others.

His plan represents the application of the counterinsurgency doctrine followed with mixed results by the United States in the 20th Century after its development by the French Army.  This doctrine has now been "discovered?" by General Petraeus and friends and described in prettier words and a more literary style than the nasty old "paras" of my experience could ever have managed. 

As Bernard Fall elucidated the doctrine: "Counterinsurgency = Counter-guerrilla operations + Political Action + Civic Action." 

In Bush’s plan:

1-The counter-guerrilla operations will be taken care of by Odierno’s Corps hopefully reinforced by Kurdish and Shia allies.  In "Bushworld," the Iraqi "people" yearn to be freed from the depredations of various kinds of "bandits" without regard to the ethnicity of the "bandits" or the Iraqi government forces and so will welcome an increase in the activities of US and government forces throughout Baghdad.  In "Realworld," the Shia population and militias are intent on driving the Sunni Arab population of the city out in order to make Baghdad a secure capital for the Shia "rump" state of Iraq.  To that end the Shia are seeking to drive a "cordon sanitaire" across north Baghdad to isolate the Sunni Arab population to the south and make their departure inevitable.  Since the "Bushworld" and "Realworld" conceptions of truth clash, it is inevitable that the forces engaged will also clash.  Outcome? Who knows.  The troops will fight well.

2- The Civic Action component of the plan will be provided in the form of a "lake" of money to be placed under the control of US field commanders for employment projects in support of the counterinsurgency.  Good idea.

3- The Political Action part of this plan is where the whole scheme is going to collapse.  In "Bushworld" the Maliki "government," sheltered behind American troops in the Green Zone is somehow the equivalent of George Washington’s "infant" first administration in that it is groping toward a consolidation of its power in the context of a true regard for the interests of the various peoples of Mesopotamia and Kurdistan.  In "Bushworld" all that is needed is to be sufficiently encouraging and mentoring with Maliki and his ministers to "jump start" the functions of a federal state endowed with a reasonably strong central government.  In "Realworld" Maliki is merely another Shia Arab activist seeking to consolidate Shia Arab control over as much of the old Iraq as can be managed.  In "Realworld" Maliki can not suppress the Shia militia leaders because he is their brother, embarked on the same quest for Shia power.  In "Bushworld" we have asked the Maliki government to participate with us in fighting, if necessary, (and it will be) the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr.  In "Realworld" Sadr is an ally from whom Maliki may not distance himself, because he and Sadr represent the same cause.  Think not?  Think about Saddam’s execution.  Think about it.  Who ran the execution?  Who set the terms and circumstances? Was it Maliki?   pl

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46 Responses to The Fatal Flaw…

  1. Michael says:

    Given the history between Shia and Sunnis (and Kurds) – I think its safe to say the Shia will work alongside the US troops – but only hard and long enough to convince the US to leave Iraq. Once that happens, the real bloodletting will begin.
    What a mess.. how could ‘we’ have let it go this far, and let it get this out of control?

  2. Hal Grossman says:

    Yes, Maliki is beholden to Moqtada el-Sadr. That’s been clear for a long time.
    So I am still confused about whether Bush intends to send troops into Sadr City or not. (Clearly Maliki is against.)
    The Kagan/AEI surge plan was about sending troops into Sunni and mixed neighborhoods, not into Sadr City. Sadr City has 2.8 million people, I’ve read. The recent Army counterinsurgency manual calls for 2 troops per 100 population — that would be 56,000.
    We’re way short.

  3. wnynot says:

    It still amazes me that after four years, nobody in the military is willing to stand up and shout down this continued insanity. Can’t we get anybody to show some backbone?
    We have no allies to work with in Iraq! Nobody is on our side!
    Not the Sunnis who want their power back. Not Maliki who owes his power to Sadr. Not Hakim who is backed by the Iranians. Not Sadr wo wants the power long sought by his family’s followers.
    What does it take for the obvious to become so. SCREEEEEEAMMMM!!!!!
    Pat, I’m sure you’ve mentioned it before, but why don’t the seemingly sensible military men we have step up to the plate. They promised after Vietnam it wouldn’t happen again. WHY?

  4. mlaw230 says:

    Col. : Please confrim that it is time to panic about the coming hostilities with Iran.
    We have not withdrawn apparent authority claimed by the President in the AUMF, the forces are moving into position, and th eDecider gives all appearances of being a River boat gambler down to his last hand.
    Am I over reacting, or is there every reason to believe that there are several hundred thousand people alive in Iran who are unlikely to be so in a year’s time, plus a heck of lot of Americans. Please tell me I am wrong.

  5. John in LA says:

    Read “Fiasco” over the weekend and thought it basically a clip job. He totally lets Israel off the hook – in my recollection he never mentions the name of the country. Interesting, given that all our sweep and torture tactics, and our use of kidnapping and hostage-taking (which he does describe in some depth) are lifted straight from the Israelis, that Israeli agents were in Iraq conducting advisory missions and supervising torture and that the authors of the plan were all Israeli lobbyists. He never mentions this document:
    ….despite the fact that it is the #1 source of our policy and that several of its authors were in the Defense Department running its disinformation campaign aimed at our Congress and at our people.
    He never mentions that Paul Bremer was President of Henry Kissinger Associates — for a decade. He never nails down the source of Bremer’s CPA order to disband the Iraqi military. The single greatest strategic disaster of the campaign. He mentions it, but never nails it down. Shocking lapse. Even more shocking that people are taking the book seriously
    While the book ably documents the military fiasco (again, it’s basically a clip job), his acrobatic avoidance of Israel and its role in driving the Iraq policy make it wholly worthless.
    What the book does make totally clear is that by invading the neighborhoods, kicking in doors and arresting thousands of Iraqis, we turned the quick victory into a classic, failed neocolonial insurgency war. And this is precisely what Bush proposed to do now – send 20k people into the neighborhoods for house-to-house fighting.
    This is 100% what the insurgents and the Israelis want — to lure hapless US soldiers into an urban kill box and slaughter them.

  6. walrus says:

    Once again Col. Lang, you have hit the nail on the head.
    I would also like to know your thoughts on Bush’s plans for Syria and Iran, for it appears that they are very much on Bush’s radar now.
    My limited understanding is that both Syria and Iran have been somewhat cooperative in securing their borders with Iraq and are not actively supplying weapons to insurgents.
    There would be a flow of people and weaponry because tribal boundaries cross the borders and hey, we can’t even secure the Mexican border!
    However the weapons that flow seem to me to be low level stuff. I would expect that if Iran and Syria really tried to help the insurgents at an “official” level, we would start to see more sophisticated stuff in the hands of the insurgents, in particular, Russian or Chinese MANPADS and anti tank fire and forget rounds.
    I still think we should be talking honeyed words to Iran and Syria because they can generate more trouble for us in the Middle East than we can for them. By antagonising them Bush is having another “bring it on” moment.
    What are your thoughts?

  7. zanzibar says:

    This is what I don’t get – the Decider and his “rasputin” are running the show completely. They seem very close to Bandar and the Saudi royal family on a personal and financial level. Yet they are working for the Shia and their Iranian allies by beating up the Iraqi Sunni who the Saudi’s ostensibly support. Anyone here understand what this is about?
    I also gather from reading various news reports that the US forces are primarily going to clear Sunni areas in Baghdad like the recent attack on Haifa St while Maliki’s “army” is supposed to clear Shia areas. So we know who is going to get their head banged!
    What is the real story here??

  8. meletius says:

    It doesn’t sound like WE’RE going into Sadr City–that’s the “Iraqi Army’s” job, a mission which will not actually be undertaken.
    So is Bush’s strategy that the shi’a will isolate the sunnis and we massacre them on the alter of the New Iraq?
    How’s that going to go over to the west of Iraq?

  9. MarcLord says:

    re: “I still think we should be talking honeyed words to Iran and Syria because they can generate more trouble for us in the Middle East than we can for them. By antagonising them Bush is having another “bring it on” moment.”
    The Bush Admin doesn’t exactly respond in moderation. Iran sending MANPADS into Iraq, Iran cutting the Straits of Hormuz oil express, Iran farting in church, it’s all nuclear casus belli to them. It’s about who’s in charge, about managing threat perceptions to maintain domestic momentum, and if they talk to Iran and Syria, it’s an admission of not being “in charge” as defined by BushCo and the Cheneyettes.
    In Bush World, nuclear war is a more realistic option than instituting the draft.

  10. Chris Marlowe says:

    Sidney Blumenthal has written an excellent article on Rice’s role in this whole mess and American “diplomacy” called Shuttle Without Diplomacy. (Under the Bush administration, American diplomacy is an oxymoron.)

  11. MarcLord says:

    Video at link below of what looks like Afghan insurgents (dressed in camo) downing an Apache with a shoulder-fired SAM. Clearest view of the SAM launcher is at 1:13-1:15 in the video. What is the most likely provenance of the weapon?

  12. webley webster says:

    This is your best work ever.
    What was Allawi doing in Turkey?

  13. VietnamVet says:

    Colonel you were involved with Civil Action Programs; does Bush’s plan have snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding?
    ABC News indicates that Baghdad will be split into 9 sections. Iraqi and US troops will be housed in “joint security stations” scattered throughout the neighborhoods. Once cleared, the sections will require biometric cards for entry or exit; Concentration Camps on the cheap. With Shiite aid, if Sunni sections are cleared, it is ethnic cleansing. If the Mahdi Militia is attacked, Shiite aid will evaporate and the USA will be fighting both branches of Islam.
    In short order, the zones around the security stations will become free fire zones. In Ramadi, the troopers can only get into forward operating bases at night. The day belongs to the Insurgents.
    Patrols into to the slums will be sniped. Counter fire strikes will be called in creating vast piles of rubble in front of Al Jazerra’s cameras. Sooner or later one of the “stations” will be overrun.
    The only logical purpose seems to be destroying Baghdad to provoke retaliation to get the draft and the green light to invade Syria and Iran.
    I’m way too old for all of this but nobody is young enough to face the hell that Baghdad will become.

  14. James Pratt says:

    Somewhere in Qom or Tehran,Iran
    the real allies of Maliki, Jaafari and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim are speaking enthusiastically of Fred Kagan and Bill Kristol.
    Sometime in the next decade they will agree that the Sunni Arab population in Iraq has been reduced to a manageable number and it will be time to pull the plug on Iraqi Shia support for the Americans. In the meantime,
    somewhere in Bhagdad and Boise, ar-Ramadi and Alabama others will be crying. Too many others crying.

  15. ali says:

    Artfully applied counterinsurgency doctrine hasn’t worked in Basra and the Brit’s are very good at it.
    The politics is absolutely fatal. Maliki is not going to survive any attempt to take out Al Sadr even if al-Hakim gives it his blessing. The confrontation at Najaf, when we “disarmed” the Mehdi army, destroyed what little popular support Allawi had and boosted Al Sadr to effective cabinet rank. They must know this. I wonder how long it will take before we see our first Iraqi Brigade mutiny.
    All that puff about Baker-Hamilton is looking so foolish now. The friends of Poppy can’t even apply the brakes let alone get George to swerve. He’s just given them the finger and put the pedal to the metal.
    I was listening to Bob Baer on the Ian Masters Podcast last night. Bob is not optimistic. Predicting that the Iraq war will escalate and expand to Iran. The Democrats are terrified that they’ll be cast as traitors if they use their feeble constitutional power to avert ever greater disaster so they will do little more than whine from their trap. Its all down to the military, unconstitutionally, to refuse to participate in further madness.
    We have yet to see one public resignation from a senior US officer; Bob is dreaming there but not entirely wrong. Bush has the timid Dems frozen in his headlights and will make electoral road kill out of them if they don’t get out of his unswerving way. They are liable to end up under his wheels in 08 anyway. By then nemesis will be upon us and a Vietnam like withdrawal from the widening carnage will have begun seeming like a happy pipe dream.
    It seems the Brits, having demolished the Police Station that housed the aptly named Serious Crimes Unit are intent on declaring victory in Basra and sneaking away from the whole mess.

  16. Barry says:

    Posted by: wnynot
    : “Pat, I’m sure you’ve mentioned it before, but why don’t the seemingly sensible military men we have step up to the plate. They promised after Vietnam it wouldn’t happen again. WHY?”
    A) Because of a long tradition of taking orders.
    B) Because those who do so, even if they did it properly by first retiring, would trash their post-retirement careers in the military-industrial complex.
    C) Because anybody who makes general ain’t gonna flinch from a hard job, and has the ego to think that they can do it.
    D) Because most who make general are ambitious first, last and always, and will screw the troops and the country if need be.
    E) Because most of those who made those statements after Vietnam were retired, and all were talking about what others should have done, which is easy. It’s not surprising that they didn’t do it themselves.

  17. Leigh says:

    If Saddam was tried, convicted and hanged for killing less than 200 Iraqis because of a failed attempted assassination on his life, then what should the punishment be for Bush/Cheney/Rove/Rice et al for killing several hundred thousand Iraqis because of a failed attempt on his father’s life?
    BTW, yours is the only site that I know of that combines policy, strategy, intelligence with…poetry! Congratulations, I wouldn’t miss a day of it.

  18. jonst says:

    I’ll give you 20-1 odds that not a single dollar, not one of the Civil Action money, not gets to the people who need it…
    Our most fundamental problems are not in Iraq or the ME anymore. They are in America. How did the nation get to this point? How do we get out of it?

  19. Michael Singer says:

    Dear Pat,
    I was a bit suprised that you didn’t mention King George’s threat to Iran. As you have pointed out to us, he has put an admiral in charge of all combat operations in the region. Last night he ordered a second naval carrier task force into the neighborhood allegedly to show our allies in the region that we are serious about protecting them when or if all hell brakes loose. John Kerry today said on CNN there is nothing wrong with “hot pursuit” of Iranians if they are caught in Iraq. According to the London Sunday Times, the Israeli AF is now conducting exercises to prepare for a strike at Iranian nuclear facilities with nuclear tipped bunker buster bombs. Questions arise: Is Bush trying to distract Americans from one war by threatening to start another or just confuse or overwhelm them with ever more violence? If the Iranians really feel threatened, could they facilitate another ‘terrorist’ attack against the US? Would such an attack help the Republicans win in ’08? Would it be the only way they could win in ’08? Would the Israelis strike without our permission? They do believe a nuclear Iran is an existential threat.
    I hope Jim Webb doesn’t pair up with Hillary.Hillay has shown us her profoundly calculating method: she waits till after the speech and after she hears the negative Democrat reaction and that of more Republican senators who are jumping ship before she makes any statement and then all she says is she can’t back Bush on the war! Is that all there is to say? Where was she last night? Did anyone see or hear her? Did she talk to the media? She had her office release a statement. Is this leadership? She is the leading contender for the Democrat nomination and she was nowhere to be found.Too little and too late. Pathetic.
    Finally, to “John in LA”: Please tell me if you can, why would the Israelis want American soldiers dead in Iraq? What logic gets you to that place? I really would like to know. Is everything Bush has done really the fault of the Israelis?
    Michael Singer

  20. Chris Marlowe says:

    BBC has an article about what the Iraqis think of the surge; the Shias, including Maliki, don’t want it and think it will be a disaster, but some Sunnis are for it, thinking that it will bring protection from ethnic cleansing.

  21. Mike G says:

    All the while that the President has been planning and has finally announced his new surge aka escalation policy over there in the USA, here in the UK there has been a policy of steadily reducing the number of troops committed to the military control of Basra and the South of Iraq. There is talk that by the middle of summer the Brits will hand over full control of Basra to the Iraqi authorities and that our total number of troops will amount to no more than 3000, while correspondingly more will be sent to Afghanistan. But I should have thought that there is a risk that, if the Americans send in their 20000 trops and attack the Mahdi army and Sadr City, the Shia in the south will escalate their own levels of anti-coalition activities, in which case 3000, or even the 7000 British troops currently there would be woefully inadequate to control the situation, in which case the Americans would find that they have another three or four provinces to put under military control. The south after all is the route along which so many military supplies for Baghdad and the north follow. Have the Americans considered whether they have sufficient reserve ground forces to cope with that possible scenario?
    Tony Blair has done his usual roll-over-and-tickle-my-tummy-I’m-your-faithful-poodle-Uncle-George act by expressing his full support for Mr Bush’s new policy. Paradoxically, he has the rather grudging support of his own left wing and supposedly socialist Labour Party – roughly the equivalent of America’s Democrats, while the Conservatives (=Republicans) – traditionally steadfast in their support of any policy decision coming from Washington – the Conservatives have indicated their belief that the surge is unwise and highly likely to end in failure. Theoretically, it is far easier for a British Prime Minister to be removed from Downing Street than for a President to be got out of the White House. But Blair still manages to continue in office and dominates the political scene over here, even though he is about the least popular PM this country has had since probably before the Second War. I suspect he is hoping – indeed assuming – that the surge policy will be blessed with success so that he will be able to step down leaving a glorious legacy of victory and democracy in Iraq. If the policy fails – maybe – and hopefully – he will still step down; then Bush will be entirely alone on the world stage (other than Olmert I suppose).

  22. Ian Whitchurch says:

    I agree that the Civic Action compnent is a good idea. But it doesnt mix with troop rotation.
    Let me give you an example – Frank Gaffney’s 2003 article here
    It’s dated and wrong and of the ‘but we’re really winning’ school, but concentrate on the prescient para
    “It likely will prove calamitous if new projects like the Mosul cement factory are not nurtured in the future and grounds thus denied for hope of further progress – particularly with respect to the employment of more and more Iraqis and the improvement of their quality of life. Even worse would be for projects already launched to lose their funding, thereby underminingthe trust in America being so painstakingly restored after our failure to eliminate Saddam twelve years before.”
    Well, yeah, they did lose their funding, because (a) if you rotate troops when the COmmander leaves, so does the supporter of the pet projects, and (b) as the GWB administration is inept, it forgot to set up a working structure that could implement policy across time (we call these structures ‘bureacracies’ and a bloke called Max Weber wrote about them).
    What steps is the Bush Administration taking to ensure the same thing wont happen again ?

  23. Cloned Poster says:

    Regarding the link of a SAM downing a heli posted by Marclord above.
    Why has Putin such a hard-on with gas supplies to Europe at the moment?
    The Cold War is swinging big time in Russia’s favour.
    Payback is a bitch.

  24. W. Patrick Lang says:

    One of the nicer things said. I will put up something poetic. pl

  25. ali says:

    Last year the serving commander of the British Army told the press No 10 is losing the war in Afghanistan by staying the course in Iraq.
    There followed some brief huffing and puffing in parliament. Serving soldiers are not meant to do this in the British system, it is bad form. In practice senior officers like senior civil servants do it all the time.
    Sir Richard Dannatt is still in his job and thought to be a fine chap for his well calculated outburst. It helped that he has the entire officer corps behind him and was very obviously right.
    The head of CENTCOM is not at liberty to do the same thing. The US military is by tradition and over respected law the absolute servant of the elected government. As I understand it a US service man has the right to complain to his congressman and that is about it, if you ignore international law which we can take as read these days. The reticence of even retired officers is notable. They are slaves to a distinctly secondary virtue.
    Let us talk of honor, patriotism and dereliction of duty confident that it won’t lead us to storm the Fox News studio or misuse a football stadium.

  26. dasher says:

    Regarding the “raid” of the Iranian consulate in Kurdistan last night, the first thing that came to my mind was “Polish uniforms”.
    God help us.

  27. Mo says:

    It maybe a mistake to simply assume that the Shia leaders are all brothers and allies. This is the Arab world; a leader who cares about a cause or his people more than his own self-interests in our world is a rarity indeed.
    I certainly don’t believe Maliki is anything but another self-serving politician seeking to consolidate his own control over as much of the old Iraq as can be managed. He can not suppress the Shia militia leaders, not because he is their brother, but because he has no influence or power to do so.
    Therefore any attack on the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr will be shouted down from the rafters by Maliki; But I believe he will privately be very happy about it. Remove the people more powerful than you and you are beholden to and you are left as the last man standing. Sadr is far greater a threat than an ally. They may both wish for a Shia dominated Iraq, that is true. But I doubt either man sees the other as the leader of that Iraq once the Americans have left.
    The current similarities between Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon – The US attacking groups deemed hostile to US hegemony even though they have popular support and supporting their less popular pro-US allies- are becoming so laughably obvious that even that most un-investigative, un-curious animal, the US media may start to see it.

  28. Eaken says:

    Things seem to be happening quickly in Iraq. Oil companies are going to be going into Iraq under profit sharing agreements. I’ve seen this coming for a while and anybody who thought this war wasn’t about controlling Iraqi oil should rethink the situation. PSA agreements are usually reserved for places where the exploration firm or driller runs a higher than normal risk of not finding oil or the estimated amount.
    In Iraq, we know there is oil there; there is no doubt about that. Therefore the PSA aspect is really plunderous.
    Second, the United States’s plan for the past 20 years for Iran has been that of containment. They know that Iran has a fairly exhausted natural resource infrastructure. They figured that around this time, Iran would slowly run out of oil available for export and the country would “turn”. Well, Iran is working with the Russians and Chinese to foil that plot. The Russians are providing the technology for Nuclear Power, and the Chinese are signing up to explore the oil fiels. These Chinese deals are worth, on paper, $100B plus.
    So now the US has a problem – the plan which they have been patiently waiting on for 20 years to come to fruition is about to get torpedoed by the Chinese and Russians.
    The US is attempting to use financial sanctions, but without the Chinese and Russians on board, it simply won’t work. Iran knows this.
    China gets 40-60% of it’s oil from the middle east – it can’t grow, let alone live without it.
    What to do? You can’t attack Russia, and you certainly can’t attack China or even try to take economic measures or get into a tarriff or trade war with them given our dependence on chinese goods. Nope you can’t do that.
    I’d be interested in hearing any other options the US has short of “trading Israel for Iran” – which we all know is not going to happen – aside from going to war with Iran.

  29. Kevin says:

    “This doctrine has now been “discovered?” by General Petraeus and friends and described in prettier words and a more literary style than the nasty old “paras” of my experience could ever have managed.”
    Keep in mind, three years ago we could not spell cointerinsurgency.

  30. J says:

    a propaganda campaign using israeli agents and their neocon auxiliaries and sympathizers who stampeded us into a war in iraq is being preped to stampede us into a war on iran. says former pm bibi netanyahu quote ‘israel’s war must be sold as amercia’s war’ end quote. netanyahu has said quote ‘that israel must immediately launch an intense international pr front frist and foremost on the u.s.. the goal being to encourage bush to live to to specific pledges he wouldn’t allow iran to arm itself with nukes. we must make clear to the (u.s.) govt, the congress, and the american public that a nuclear iran is a threat to the u.s. and the entire world, not only israel’ end quote.
    now how can iran with no air force or navy to speak of, an economy that isn’t even 2% of ours, a country that has not started a single war since their revolution 27 years ago, is about to give terror type to use on us a n-toy it may be 10 yrs away from even being able to build. snarf.
    will congress be duped again into giving bush a blank check for war?
    the israeli-neocons are knocking on our nation’s congressional doors trying to ‘force’ their iran war propaganda down our congress’s throats.

  31. Welcome to The Roach Motel Iraq
    I must admit that Pres. Bush’s performance last night was one of the few times I could actually listen to him and not find myself in wonderland. He connected sentences in a way that I think his college rhetoric professor would have found laudable.
    Unfortunately, the disconnect between the old Bush whose almost aphasic news conferences and this new Bush caused my brain to overheat in paranoiac visions.
    As I heard Bush unfold his “strategery” I almost (seriously) said out loud “Roach Motel.” I swear the man was describing a vision so absurd and so bizarre that I saw US troops being lured into this large trap and dying slow deaths like roaches stuck in glue.
    Why isn’t anyone discussing the dangers of this strategy? Are people seriously unconcerned about buddying up US troops with Iraqis whose loyalties appear to be less than certain–and probably more anti-Us than pro-US?
    What are the chances that insurgent strategists are rubbing their hands together with glee at the thought of having US soldiers concentrated in one area, open to encirclement and a war of attrition by booby trap and bushwacking?
    On top of this, there’s that old nagging feeling that you’ll have heavily armed potential traitors behind you as you barge in on their neighbors and relatives to find and kill the guy who was a friend last week.
    Welcome to the Roach Motel Iraq–where many a soldier in the next few months will feel like they’re going nowhere but into the bogs of hell.

  32. I’ve been trying to highlight the threat to Iran ever since I first wrote at Helena Cobban’s blog last year about this time that the US was considering an attack. Then I was told that this threat was nonsensical. Then came Lebanon and the attempt by Israel to do away with those ketyusha rockets and neutralize Hizbullah. …
    I got tired of sounding like Cassandra. Then Bush assigned an admiral to head up Centcom. While dealing with other issues, I haven’t had time to document the signs that Bush-Cheney indeed have their sights set on Iran.
    Glenn Greenwald has done an excellent job of binding together the tell-tale signs of an impending escalation of threats towards Iran. What Greenwald leaves out is the strategy. These actions that he documents–I believe–are meant to create conditions in which Iran is meant to do something that will “justify” a US attack.
    You should also read Steve Clemons’ insider report and coverage of what went on in Congress between Sec. of State Rice and Sens. Biden and Hagel.

    [Sen. Hagel:]When you were engaging Chairman Biden on this issue, on the specific question — will our troops go into Iran or Syria in pursuit, based on what the president said last night — you cannot sit here today — not because you’re dishonest or you don’t understand, but no one in our government can sit here today and tell Americans that we won’t engage the Iranians and the Syrians cross-border.
    Some of us remember 1970, Madame Secretary, and that was Cambodia, and when our government lied to the American people and said we didn’t cross the border going into Cambodia. In fact we did. I happen to know something about that, as do some on this committee.
    So, Madame Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it’s very, very dangerous. Matter of fact, I have to say, Madame Secretary, that I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it’s carried out. I will resist it …

    Bet you heard that on your nightly newscast, huh?

  33. Eaken says:

    What war did Iran start 27 years ago?
    Last time I checked, Iran has not attacked another country in the past 150 years or so.

  34. Got A Watch says:

    The tragedy is evolving exactly as we all suspected it would:
    “The Shia-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was warned by Ms Rice yesterday that his days were numbered unless he was able to take on Shia militias who are his allies in government.
    Ms Rice followed up President Bush’s tough words on Iran by saying: “The President made very clear last night that we know Iran is engaged in activities endangering our troops… and that we’re going to pursue those who may be involved in those activities.””
    The arrogance of Mdme. SuperTanker’s statement is laughable, “his days are numbered”, – what sovereign (supposedly) nation should have to put up with this, especially an alleged ally? And what loyal friend wouldn’t want to attack his own allies in government?
    That’s how you get allies to co-operate – threaten them! But wait, we threaten our enemies too….hmmm, lets apply pretzel logic.
    Just when you thought the neo-morocons had reached a pinnacle of idiocy – they manage to scale new heights of incompetence (again). And don’t give me that argument that they are realy brainy in their own special way – I’ve seen smarter cans of soup.
    I would say it is the Bushies who are “engaged in activities endangering our troops”. If GWB/Cheney/Rice et al want to see “those who are endangering America”, all they have to do is look in the mirror.
    There is no doubt that the Iraq debacle has recruited millions to the anti-American cause world-wide, and many more will join before this year is out. Way to go George.

  35. brenda says:

    Here is an excerpt from Ynet News, a premier online news source for Israelis. Published 12/30/06 Title: “What To Do With Iran” Written by a high-ranking Israeli reserve officer.
    “President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran. As an American strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and US newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure.
    “We must turn to Hillary Clinton and other potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party so that they publicly support immediate action by Bush against Iran. We should also approach European countries so that they support American actions in Iran, so that Bush will not be isolated in the international arena again.
    “We must clandestinely cooperate with Saudi Arabia so that it also persuades the US to strike Iran. For our part, we must prepare an independent military strike by coordinating flights in Iraqi airspace with the US. We should also coordinate with Azerbaijan the use of airbases in its territory and also enlist the support of the Azeri minority in Iran. In addition, we must immediately start preparing for an Iranian response to an attack.
    “The Americans must act. Yet if they don’t, we’ll do it ourselves, because there are no free rides and our existence isn’t guaranteed. Addressing Iran would have positive implications for us in terms of the strategic balance in our region and when it comes to Hizbullah, stability in Lebanon, and Syria’s power.
    “The situation assessment I provided is difficult. At the same time, if we act in the face of these challenges soberly and without illusions such as the imaginary peace-with-Syria ideas, we’ll be able to win and bring about comprehensive peace. Peace is pursued from a position of power and is maintained through the backing of power. Peace cannot be pursued when your enemy feels it defeated you.”
    Brigadier General (Res.) Oded Tira is the former IDF chief artillery officer

  36. Green Zone Cafe says:

    The thing in the speech that jumped out at me was the Patriot missile deployment.
    Last year, some contractor I met on a bus in the Green Zone said there were Patriots at Camp Victory (the MNFI headquarters adjoining Baghdad airport) but I never saw them or heard anymore about them.
    Now Bush is explicitly deploying Patriot batteries to “reassure our friends and allies.” Where?
    This is the money quote:
    I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing – and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.
    There is no air threat from the insurgents in Iraq. The only air threat is from Iran, and they are not going to just get up and bomb or shoot missiles at US facilities in Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain or Q8, or Israel, either.
    An Iranian air threat is the only air threat, and it only comes about in retaliation to US and/or Israeli airstrikes in Iran.

  37. ali says:
    “It looks like two US battalions are being withdrawn from Afghanistan for…guess what? The Surge.”
    I notice Mr Ranter has filed that post under “Wankers”. Apt.

  38. Sgt.York says:

    The Tal Afar doctrine (aka, Petreous’s Clear-Hold-Build) and Baghdad
    The COIN manual discusses history, diplomacy, and the need for an underlying stable society with essential services and jobs. But what exactly is the US Army’s role? Apparently it is clearing (local forces do the holding) which translates as this: surround a town with an 8-foot earthen berm, cut the town off from supplies, flatten the city using artillery and air bombardment, and then ‘vet’ the refugees as they return to the rubble that was once a city.
    This “worked” in Tal Afar and recently the US Military has surrounded Haditha and two other villages with bearms. In Hadita there are only two entrances/exits. Written permission from the US Military is required to leave, supply convoys to the city are turned away, and there is a total ban on vehicle traffic in the town. The next step is to probe for resistance and then shell/bomb… repeat.
    Bush has stated that the rules of engagement for Baghdad will be changed. Likely, the “Tal Afar doctrine” of shelling and bombing urban centers will be applied to Baghdad. This means sealing off the Sunni neighborhoods and Sadr city, sending in a probing force, if resistance is met (somebody shoots at you) pull the force back and shell/bomb… repeat. Eventually you have a pile of rubble and the returning refugees can be vetted and the areas ‘held’ by Iraqi forces. Personally, I don’t see this as much of an improvement over the ancient Roman method of burning the town to the ground, poisoning the wells, and salting the fields. I’m inclined to think that the “clearing” of Baghdad will be a humanitarian and international disaster.

  39. J says:

    i said — that has ‘not’ started a single war since their revolution 27 years ago, — as above.
    bush, the israeli nutjobs like bibi, olmert, and russian mob connected lieberman don’t care how many americans , israelis, or arabs/persians die as a result of their war. they’re in luv with the bomb just like the dr. strangelove character in the movie.
    many both in israel and the u.s. have suspected for years that many of those we see in today’s israeli power structures were nazis who successfully slipped out of germany posing as jews and married into families which were already in palestine, and then set up their nazi power bases. what israel is doing to its neighbors and the region, mirrors those actions by the nazis of wwii. the parallels are just too much to ignore.

  40. Mo says:

    Green Zone Cafe,
    Well noticed sir.

  41. Taunt-O says:

    I’m afraid I can’t remember what link I followed to get here, but on the strength of this post I instantly bookmarked you for future reference.
    You’re the warrior-poet I’ve been looking for, someone who clearly understands politics, strategy and the difference between the two.
    Thanks for succinctly summarizing the players and the plan, and why it has precious little hope of success. You have contributed to my understanding in a way far more words from those with far less smarts have failed to do elsewhere in Blogistan.

  42. confusedponderer says:

    Marc Lord,
    You’re perfectly right referring to _threat perception_.
    That is all what counts. They have already talked themselves into Iran being the enemy, and decider isn’t the sort of person who changes his mind with new information. If you seriously believe that Iran is a threat, you go to war.
    Same thing with the Islamic courts in Somalia. For years the US were backing some of the war lords, and paid them for fighting terrorists, and in the last months they had to look and see how the Islamic courts rolled them back and back further, and eventually took over Somalia, ruining all the investment and bribes the US had spent there. If you believe that in paying Somalian militias you’re fighting Islamo Facism, you must interprete that as a very threatening development. The cynic in me sais that for a militia leader bent on increasing his clan’s base of power in Somalia seeing islamists is a profitably ability.
    Originally I saw the Ethiopians as full proxies. I now think I was wrong. They were called in only as the spear-tip to allow the US backed militias to take over again. I didn’t see that right away, but the increasing and increasingly open US meddling suggests nothing less to me.
    Sadly, the more open US involvement squanders the major benefits of a proxy war: Discretion and deniability. With US boots on the ground the Ethiopian intervention can hardly be sold as a Ethiopian initiative the US have only seized upon. Stupid.
    The chances for survival of the ‘interim government’, who are the usual bunch of ambitious beggars with US paid for hotel bills, without any ‘Hausmacht’ within Somalia are IMO bleak. They have no authority of their own, not even force of arms, to back up their ambitions. They have the US backed militias, but despite US money they were beaten, which should tell you something about their standing in Somalia. The new so-called government will have to arrange itselves with the Islamic courts to survive and that will water down the GWOT, which will put them under intense US pressure for ‘appeasing evil’.
    In a typical spectacle known from Iraq, the so-called ‘interim government’ has already denounced the US airstrikes and meddling etc. It gives testimony to the sad state of affairs the US are in. Openly siding with the US under the rule of decider is political suicide.
    For the Bush men Islamo-Facism is the enemy, and that conflation allows to ignore the inconvenient little differences like shia islam, sunni islam, ethnic or national backgrounds, groups or individuals – all the same. The equation is: Ahmedinajad = Rafsanjani = Sadr = Bin Laden = Al Quaeda = Nasrallah = Hezbollah = Hamas = Satan.
    The point where I have to admit I can’t decide is the _threat perception_ in the Somalian affair, and wether I should give the Bushies the benefit of a doubt: Maybe the islamic courts were not-so-nice and did indeed support Al Quaeda. Then it might be the sensible to prevent them from taking over. But if the Bush men are doing business as usual, they can be counted on to be an imaginary, or at the very least inflated, threat.
    The Islamic courts might be as imaginary a threat as those sandinistas on whose behalf the US invoked a state of national emergency in 1986. Now that was a joke.

  43. Arun says:

    Senator Webb helping inject reality into D.C.

    Daily Kos diary

  44. Charlie Green says:

    Sgt. York said,
    “This “worked” in Tal Afar and recently the US Military has surrounded Haditha and two other villages with bearms. In Hadita there are only two entrances/exits. Written permission from the US Military is required to leave, supply convoys to the city are turned away, and there is a total ban on vehicle traffic in the town. The next step is to probe for resistance and then shell/bomb… repeat.”
    In the good, old days, this was called a “siege” and the starving citizens and soldiers either surrendered at some point or died of disease or starvation. But we haven’t time for all that stuff. We gotta be proactive.

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