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March 25, 2008

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No no no, you see, you've got this all backwards. Since the point is to have a permanent US military presence in the persian gulf to act as our oil trumpcard, more violence is wonderful news as it provides the "It will be chaos if we leave so we can't" cover story.

Which will be a switch from the current "Teh Surge™ is working so we can't leave" cover story.

Nevermind that man behind the curtain.

Written November 18th, 2004 (via James Wolcott's blog): Why Iraq Will End as Vietnam Did. (By Martin Van Creveld, about a month-long trip Moshe Dayan spent in Vietnam as an Israel war correspondent in 1966. Worth reading in entirety, but there's a paragraph about his preparatory visit to the US:

At one point he asked whether they had changed their methods since they first went to Vietnam and was told that they did not have to do so since everything worked much better than expected. Thereupon he noted that the US Military never made any mistakes; however, that comment he kept to himself. He was subjected to a flood of statistics – so and so many enemies killed, so and so many captured – meant to prove that the situation was well under control and that large parts of the territory of South Vietnam, as well as its population, were now safe against terrorist attack. As he noted, however, even a few elementary questions revealed that things were far from simple. Later he was to discover how right he had been in this; in the whole of South Vietnam there was not a single road that was really safe against the Viet Cong. Nor was there anything to prevent the enemy from returning even to those places that had been most thoroughly “cleansed” and “pacified.”

Cueing Charles Bird in 3... 2... 1...

...oh wait, never mind.

This is obviously another proof that the surge worked. These are clearly the death birth throes pangs with a final desperate attempt of the deadend benchmark haters to stem the inevitable tide of democratic history marching God's gift to humanity into the hearts and through the brains..eh minds..of those ungrateful sand[n-word]s that will either kiss the iron boot of liberty and shower the godsend liberators with crude (but gentle) oil or be thrown under the glass parking lot the neighbouring country is soon to be.
Short version:
1.the Iraqis love US, there is no trouble at all and the surge works
2.because they still hate our freedoms and refuse to cower, the troops can't be reduced under any circumstances.
---
Seriously: Either someone in Iraq tries to throw a spanner into the second coming of General Petraeus by provoking Sadr or this could indeed be engineered in order to justify a further Friedman unit for the surge.

Worst thing about it Hilzoy, is that we pushed Sadr into this. We kept on attacking his forces throughout the cease fire despite his repeated warnings that he would not (and likely could not due to internal pressure) sit back and take it.

More recently, we decided to really put the squeeze on. We're doing that because our ally (and Irans!) ISCI is so unpopular that they would get waxed by the Sadrist current in the upcoming regional elections (October 1) unless the Sadrists were severely crippled.

By way of background, the Sadrists boycotted the 2005 regional elections, and so ISCI dominates local Shiite politics - but now the Sadrists will challenge and beat them silly. ISCI is amenable to a long-term US presence, whereas the Sadrists want us out. Hence, our preference for ISCI (which is Iran's main proxy in Iraq), and escalation vis-a-vis Sadr. Makes sense, huh.

The big push is on in Basra to clear out the Sadrists, and most likely some Fadhila partisans, so that ISCI can do well enough in the regional elections to maintain their foothold.

That is part of why Cheney was just in town to meet with ISCI's boss, Abdul Azziz al-Hakim. Right after the meeting, ISCI dropped its objections to the regional elections law (they had originally vetoed the regional elections a few weeks back).

God -- if this is happening even with our troops present, imagine what horror awaits if we withdraw! How can you guys think about ending the surge at a time like this! More troops! More monney! More death!

(Saw Mr. Olmsted's picture in the NY Times yesterday and felt sad.)

Can we leave Andy out of this thread? Your comment makes me want to cry buckets and kick walls.

From the NY Times: "Witnesses in Basra said that throughout the day, jets flew overhead as armored vehicles raced through the city and machine gun and canon fire reverberated through the streets."

On the bright side, it's reassuring to know that heated discussion of the role of the text is still possible.

Must be those new 30mm canons.

Why do I have the feeling that Steve Gilliard is looking down at us and saying "I told you people this would happen. But would anybody listen to me? Naaaa...".

What I can't stand about Iraqis is that they are just so god d@mned ungrateful. I mean, we invade their country with 125,00+ foreign troops, who don't speak their language, don't share their religion, culture, or even alphabet, cause hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths and send millions to refugee camps, set off a sectarian bloodbath and make their old enemy Iran a much more powerful player in the middle east.

And do they thank us for all that? Nooooooooooooo. Ungrateful whelps.

Remember Ugh, you go to war with the indigenous society you have, not the one you want.

Cueing Charles Bird in 3... 2... 1...

Blast off?

Right on, Ugh. Don't those Iraqis realize that we're making one of the biggest wealth transfers of in history, from Chinese investors to nominally American corporations, for them? Those Iraqis should be down on their knees thanking Allah five times a day. Okay, maybe they are. But they should be grateful specifically that they live in Iraq, which is the best place for Iraqis to live. Why, if they weren't citizens of Iraq, they couldn't even call themselves Iraqis. Do they even thank us for letting them live in their own country? No, they don't. Weasels!

Spartikus: oh dear. But for real raving lunacy, see the article Charles linked to, which refers to Sadr having a "temper tantrum".

see the article Charles linked to, which refers to Sadr having a "temper tantrum".

And who, in attempting to debunk the McClatchy article, links to multiple stories from the Jamil Hussein employing AP.

I grow confused.

You know, I had a hopeful moment when I heard that Sadr was encouraging 'civil disobedience.'

Because civil disobedience sounds so, well, civil.

Sarah J: yeah, it would be wonderful, in an implausible sort of way, if Sadr had gone off for his religious education and somehow been converted to Gandhian principles...

This is all so predictable -- the only question was always when the violence will return, not *if*. Look, we're in Iraq to privatize their oil, and thus swipe 20-50% of their oil wealth; that's always been our motivation #1. While most people in the US don't get this, most Iraqis do. So, our occupation is *never* going to be popular with the Iraqis.

Now both Sadr and the Sunni tribes want the US out, but both have for tactical reasons stopped fighting temporarily. The Sunnis apparently decided that fighting a two front war was stupid, and I'm guessing that Sadr decided to lay low during the peak of the surge, but frankly, I don't know.

But sooner or later, the Sunnis and Sadrists were going to resume fighting each other, and the winner will resume fighting us. Or perhaps they'll stop fighting each other for a while, and start attacking us again. Or, this being the Middle East, perhaps they'll start fighting each other, and resume attacks on us as well.

But it has always just been a matter of time before violence broke out again, because our occupation is *never* going to be OK with the vast majority of the Iraqis, and the surge hasn't resolved fundamental Shiite/Sunni conflicts, nor has it forced the Iraqis to accept a permanent occupation and puppet government.

"But for real raving lunacy, see the article Charles linked to, which refers to Sadr having a 'temper tantrum'."

I have to wonder if many of these folks ever stop and think about their means of evaluating information.

Here's Iraq, a country we are now in the fifth year of fighting a massive war in. The United States got in this mess by, as it historically does, paying little attention to all the scholarly experts we have in this country and elsewhere on the history and culture and politics of Iraq.

(Historically, just as we did with China in the late Forties, subsequently Vietnam, and so forth -- this happens over and over because the leaders of the Republican find that scholars know what they're talking about, and since their views say that Republican policy will result in disaster, the scholars get fired from government or ignored.)

So, here we are, in 2008, and who does Charles look to for advice on the Iraqi political situation? Someone who reads and speaks Arabic? Someone who has studied Iraq intensely for years, and the writings of Sadr and the other political and religious leaders in Iraq?

Does he go, say, to this guy?

No, Charles goes to this guy, for wisdom about "Mookie."

That's all you need to know. Unfortunately.

But, you know, it's the MSM that you want to ignore for distorting truth and not facing unpleastant facts, like the "success" -- sorry about those quotes, the success -- of the surge.

Ok.

I have a post on the new "surge", Mahdi Army violence in Iraq at http://swimmingfreestyle.typepad.com
Excerpt:
"After six months of a self imposed cease fire by the Mahdi Army, all hell is breaking loose in Baghdad and Basra as the Mahdi Army is battling U.S. and Iraqi Army forces and the relative stability brought about by the "surge" of U.S. forces is now threatened.

Today, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino delivered what may be the most stunning counter perspective in ages. This, in fact, may well rank in the Hall of Fame for counterintuitive logic. Ms. Perino asserts the new violence in Iraq is not a setback but, in fact, really a positive sign."

The Mahdi Army didn't break the ceasefire, the government did. The US is clearly aiding and abetting the government offensive - apart from airstrikes etc., the government cannot transport, organise and supply 20k or 30k soldiers by itself. The question is whether Washington has urged the offensive or is supporting it reluctantly.

Have they urged it because they see the Mahdi types as being close to Iran (in which case taking them out may be a preemptive measure ahead of possible strikes against Iran - or it may simply be an effort to capitalise on the current relative peace while it lasts)?

Or is Washington helping the Iraqi government reluctantly, because basically they've been told if they don't help them do this thing then they will lose their influence over Baghdad decisively, to Iran's benefit. In favour of this interpretation, I can see the government really wanting to deal with their Shia rivals now that they have dealt with their Sunni problem. I can also see the US really preferring not to shake the hornets' nest right now.

I'm leaning towards the latter interpretation, but it's all very opaque.

very interesting cold splashes of reality in the previous comments.

the only card left to play in Iraq (the same as proposed a long time ago in Viet Nam), is to declare victory (or mission accomplished) and leave.

Mark Lynch posts an excerpt from a Saudi newspaper that posits Maliki isn't going after rogue "Iran friendly" elements in the Mahdi Army - but that Sadr has been thrown overboard by Iran.

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Whatnot


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