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Shia Uprising
April 4, 2004 10:03 PM   Subscribe

Eight U.S. Troops Killed in Shiite Uprising Occupation Forces Battle Cleric's Followers As Widespread Demonstrations Erupt in Iraq
A Young Radical's Anti-U.S. Wrath Is Unleashed For months, as American occupation authorities have focused on a moderate Shiite leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a radical young Shiite cleric named Moktada al-Sadr has been spewing invective and threatening a widespread insurrection. On Sunday, he unleashed it. At his word, thousands of disciples, wearing green headbands and carrying automatic rifles, stormed into the streets of several cities and set off the most widespread mayhem of the occupation. Witnesses and occupation officials said the disciples occupied police stations, fired rocket-propelled grenades at American troops and overran government security in Kufa, the town in south central Iraq where Mr. Sadr lives. "The occupation is over!" many yelled. "We are now controlled by Sadr!"
posted by y2karl (166 comments total)

 
The always tense relationship between the Sadrist movement among Iraqi Shiites and the US and its Coalition partners has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Perhaps a third of Iraqi Shiites are sympathetic to the radical, Khomeini-like ideology of Sadrism, and some analysts with long experience in Iraq put it at 50%. Earlier Muqtada Al-Sadr, the movement leader, had called on his forces to avoid violence against Coalition forces. As of Saturday and Sunday, he appeared to have feared that the Coalition meant permanently to exclude his group from power, and had decided to launch an uprising....

The outbreak of Shiite/Coalition violence is a dramatic challenge to US military control of Iraq. The US is cycling out its forces in the country, bringing in a lot of reserve and national guards units, but will go from 130,000 to only 110,000 troops. It is too small a number to really provide security in Iraq, but the country has not fallen into chaos in part because the main attacks have come in the Sunni heartland and because the Coalition has depended on Shiite militias to police many southern cities. If the Shiites actively turn against the US, the whole military and security situation could become untenable.


Juan Cole

His commentary has multiple links to news on the uprising.
posted by y2karl at 10:07 PM on April 4, 2004


Protests Unleashed by Cleric Mark a New Front in War
By unleashing mass demonstrations and attacks in Baghdad and southern Iraq on Sunday, a young, militant cleric has realized the greatest fear of the U.S.-led administration since the occupation of Iraq began a year ago: a Shiite Muslim uprising.

Fighting with U.S. troops raged into the night in a Baghdad slum, and hospitals reportedly took in dozens of casualties. But even before sunset, there was a sense across the capital that a yearlong test of wills between the American occupation and supporters of Moqtada Sadr had turned decisive, and its implications reverberated through Iraq.

The unrest signaled that the U.S. military faces armed opposition on two fronts: in scarred Sunni towns such as Fallujah and, as of Sunday, in a Shiite-dominated region of the country that had remained largely acquiescent, if uneasy about the U.S. role. If put down forcefully, a Shiite uprising -- infused with religious imagery, and symbols drawn from Iraq's colonial past and the current Palestinian conflict -- could achieve a momentum of its own.

posted by y2karl at 10:17 PM on April 4, 2004


Another factor leading to this fighting was the closing of Al Hawza, a "radical Shiite weekly" seen as "a mouthpiece for Moktada al-Sadr".

al-Sadr seems to be aspiring to the lofty heights held by Messers Arafat and Bin Laden and the recently dispatched Sheik Yassin. Hopefully Iraqis themselves will support his attempt to gain power for himself at the expense of the country and anyone in his path.
posted by loquax at 10:21 PM on April 4, 2004


Of course, that should read "NOT support"... Sorry.
posted by loquax at 10:22 PM on April 4, 2004


Juan Cole is following developments closely.
posted by y2karl at 10:29 PM on April 4, 2004


Sadr's just upset that George and Tony didn't invite him over for dinner.
posted by homunculus at 10:32 PM on April 4, 2004


Is the seriousness of this being widely reported?
posted by cmacleod at 10:35 PM on April 4, 2004


"The occupation is over!" many yelled. "We are now controlled by Sadr!"

Riiiiiiight.
posted by keswick at 10:36 PM on April 4, 2004


One question about al-Sadr that I haven't been able to find a clear answer on is what the average Iraqi thinks about him, or what the presumably "mainstream" Shiite population thinks of him. I've heard the reports of dedicated supporters in the tens of thousands (in y2karl's links as well), but is his following any broader? I don't quite trust the earlier US claims that he's completely on the fringe. Also, here's the story from Al Jazeera
posted by loquax at 10:40 PM on April 4, 2004


From Juan Cole's page:

"Perhaps a third of Iraqi Shiites are sympathetic to the radical, Khomeini-like ideology of Sadrism, and some analysts with long experience in Iraq put it at 50%."
posted by romanb at 10:48 PM on April 4, 2004


Is the seriousness of this being widely reported?

I only know from NPR and they led with with the Marines surrounding Falluja. This has far more serious repercussions. As Juan Cole noted, unless all sides stand down, this could force the Shia 60% of the population to choose sides.

Also noted was the fact that the police in Kufa abandoned their posts in the face of the uprising there. So mcuh for the much vaunted Iraqi police. If the Shia rise up, American troops will be secure only in the Kurdish north.

This could be the equivalent of the Tet offensive in the war in Viet Nam--regardless of whether the US prevails militarily in the short term, the political damage, both here and in Iraq, could be enormous--especially, in the case of the latter, if the rebellion is put down with a great deal of Shia blood being shed. This could be a watershed event. So far it is too soon to tell.
posted by y2karl at 10:49 PM on April 4, 2004


He is fringe, he has little support outside of his radical core, this will be a problem but it is not Tet by any measure. He has lots of enemies inside Iraq not just Americans.
posted by stbalbach at 10:57 PM on April 4, 2004


romanb - I think sadrism refers to the movement started by his father and uncle and now (some say illegitimately) being carried forward by Moktada. The earlier two al-Sadrs *seem* moderate to me compared to Moktada so I doubt that the supporters of his predecessors have all made the jump to following him.

Quotes from his CFR page:

"While his movement appears to involve only a small percentage of Iraq’s Shiites, experts warn that the threat he poses to U.S. aims is serious."

and

"He inherited a network of schools and charities built by his father, along with the allegiance of many of his followers. Only 30, Sadr lacks the decades-long religious training required of high ranking Shiite authorities. As a result, he bases his claim to authority on his lineage."

Not sure what to think...
posted by loquax at 11:01 PM on April 4, 2004


He is fringe
stbalbach -- source?

The tet comparison does sound like hyperbole, but so far the only authority quoted in this thread is Juan Cole. He obviously wears his politics on his sleeve, but he's a professor in a somewhat relevant area.

He's said "perhaps a third", for what that's worth.

It's probably impossible to know for sure, but dismissing this guy as fringe might be a mistake. Provoking him by closing down the newspaper sure was an odd thing to do.

I'd love to see some more in depth analysis on Sadr and his followers.
posted by malphigian at 11:07 PM on April 4, 2004


Not sure what to think...

Spinning rosy scenarios is not a wise investment choice in this volatile market.
posted by y2karl at 11:10 PM on April 4, 2004


Heh, I somehow missed loquax's links to CFR which gave a pretty nice overview.

This bit seems to address one question in the thread:
How much support does Sadr have?
It’s not clear. Some experts estimate Sadr has a few thousand fanatical supporters—largely those in the Imam Mehdi army—willing to take up arms on his behalf. Coalition officials estimate that Sadr’s hardcore supporters range between 300 and 3,000 men, says Drew Brown, a Knight Ridder correspondent in Baghdad reporting on the issue.... In addition, some experts say that there are hundreds of thousands of additional Iraqis who are “passive” Sadr supporters. They owe Sadr some allegiance out of respect for his lineage and because of the services his social network provides, but are not willing to stand up to the Americans on his behalf. If anger at the occupation grows among Shiites, Cole warns, so could the number of committed Sadr followers.


I guess it's not surprising this is a question without a straight answer.
posted by malphigian at 11:12 PM on April 4, 2004


"I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators." Dick Cheney on Meet the Press on 3/16/03.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 11:21 PM on April 4, 2004


The Tet offensive remark was online thinking out loud. I do not wish to hype this. However, it must be pointed out, that the poltical fortunes of Grand Ayatollah Sistani and the IGC may hang in the balance, depending upon how this is resolved. Sistani has called for calm--what will happen to his ability to influence and moderate if he is not heeded? The ambitions of Ahmad Chalabi and the IGC also could change if the Shia turn against the Coalition and the IGC are seen as stooges and collaborators. If the rebellion is put down with brute force and the result is a Shia recreation of the guerilla war in the Sunni Triangle--this can not be viewed as anything but a disaster.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee raised the prospect yesterday of extending the Bush administration's June 30 deadline for turning over sovereignty in Iraq, questioning whether the country would be ready for self-rule.

But the White House said firmly it was sticking by its timetable.

Sen. Richard G. Lugar said security is a shambles in some cities, and Iraqi police forces are not prepared to take over.


I suspect he may have made his remarks before the police in Kufa abandoned their stations....
posted by y2karl at 11:31 PM on April 4, 2004


He is fringe
stbalbach -- source?


Recommend the Frontline episode "Beyond Bagdad" (viewable online) as it includes information about Sadr, and the situation in general.
posted by stbalbach at 11:41 PM on April 4, 2004


The BBC's take on it
posted by gwildar at 11:44 PM on April 4, 2004


y2karl: The ambitions of Ahmad Chalabi and the IGC also could change if the Shia turn against the Coalition and the IGC are seen as stooges and collaborators.

I'm not sure that the Shia were ever turned towards the Coalition or the IGC:
So outside the Kurdish north, there is almost universal antipathy for the occupation, for what Iraqis refer to derisively as the "Governed Council" (whose members are dismissed as paid employees of the occupiers), and for a draft constitution that analysts here feel has enough holes to ensure continued repression and corruption, however appealing the veneer of democracy. Mark LeVine in the Christian Science Monitor
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 11:48 PM on April 4, 2004


"Let me make it very clear right now that I am *not* a supporter of Al-Sadr. I do not like clerics who want to turn Iraq into the next Iran or Saudi Arabia or Kuwait… but it makes me really, really angry to see these demonstrations greeted with bullets and tanks by the troops."
posted by specialk420 at 11:48 PM on April 4, 2004


Juan Cole, who, as has been noted, is open about what he believes, makes the following remarks:

The Coalition decision to provoke a fight with Muqtada al-Sadr's movement only three months before the Coalition Provisional Authority goes out of business has to be seen as a form of gross incompetence in governance. How did the CPA get to the point where it has turned even Iraqi Shiites, who were initially grateful for the removal of Saddam Hussein, against the United States? Where it risks fighting dual Sunni Arab and Shiite insurgencies simultaneously, at a time when US troops are rotating on a massive scale and hoping to downsize their forces in country? At a time when the Spanish, Thai and other contingents are already committed to leaving, and the UN is reluctant to get involved?

One answer is that the Pentagon prevented the State Department from running the CPA. State is the body with experience in international affairs and administration. The civilians in the Department of Defense only know how to blow things up. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith staffed the CPA with Neoconservatives, most of whom had no administrative experience, no Arabic, and no respect for Muslim culture (or knowledge about it). They actively excluded State Department Iraq hands like Tom Warrick. (Only recently have a few experienced State Department Arabists been allowed in to try to begin mopping up the mess.)...

posted by y2karl at 11:51 PM on April 4, 2004


y2karl - why hasn't anyone (ourselves not included) asked for feith's resignation yet?
posted by specialk420 at 11:59 PM on April 4, 2004


Shia protests spread to Basra

Marines lock down Fallujah
posted by homunculus at 12:55 AM on April 5, 2004


Meanwhile, somewhere in Baghdad's "Green Zone," a reporter asks his assistant: "Is it just me, or does Meadow Gold half and half taste creamier than Devnadi?"
posted by squirrel at 1:01 AM on April 5, 2004


y2karl, I don't know if you ever listen to 710 Kiro, but all this week Dave Ross is broadcasting his show live from a Baghdad hotel (link). He might have some interesting insights.

From his blog:
"The fighting in the Sadr district across the river left seven US soldiers dead here in Baghdad -- I heard one large explosion last night -- and indicates that Iraq has a new Shiite leader with the power to pack the streets with angry followers.  He is Muqtada al-Sadr, whose newspaper was closed down last week for "inciting violence."  We now know he can do it without his newspaper.  Since the press was controlled for so long under Saddam, people here developed their own news distribution system -- an elaborate message tree that's also used to pass down the rulings of Ayatollah al-Sistani, who never appears in public, but speaks only through agents.  These agents post paper messages at designated locations for followers to read. ... With Easter coming up, and a Shiite religious pilgrimage underway, this could be Mardi Gras weekend."


posted by gluechunk at 1:41 AM on April 5, 2004


The Lesson of Mogadishu: America must answer last week's barbarity in Fallujah.

By Mark Bowden, the author of "Black Hawk Down."
posted by homunculus at 1:45 AM on April 5, 2004


Thousands of Shiite fighters only got 8. Terrible, but great odds.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:45 AM on April 5, 2004


What I find unbelievable about this thread is the sheer amount of slant and speculation in the commentary. The New York Times article essentially says that Moqtada al-Sadr unleashed an insurrection against the U.S.

Great. Now, where's the proof of this premeditated insurrection?

As for Juan Cole, I correspond with him occasionally and he is a bright guy who knows a ton about Iran and who has access to a lot of sources of news that I don't, primarily because he is fluent in Arabic. That said, his commentary relies on a whole lot of speculation in order to square several different news sources, as well as a questionable attempt to psychologically profile al-Sadr. He makes al-Sadr come off as a paranoid loony, as simplistically stereotyped as Saddam.

To tell you the truth, I think he blew his analysis of al-Sadr's motives. Al-Sadr is a firebrand, but at the same time, he is also *VERY* careful about what he says. He considers the coalition government to be unlawful and stresses non-violent protests and non-compliance/non-participation.

This excerpt from a Time Magazine article says a lot about his personality.

"The U.S. will ignore the opinion of the Iraqi people and it will compose the new government according to its own desires," Muqtada told a press conference this week. For that reason, he says, he will decline any offer to rule the new Iraq. "I don't want the chair of the government because it will be controlled by the U.S. and I don't want to be controlled by the U.S." When asked if that meant he would want to attack the Americans, he snorted and replied with the colloquial Arabic equivalent of "Why would I want to f**k myself?" He declined further comment, implying that it would only get him into trouble.

Last July, I wrote a full background on al-Sadr. At heart, I believe he is more of a politician than holy man. His father was beloved by the Iraqis until Saddam had him killed, and he gets a lot of respect because of that. Still, as a religious authority, he's considered a young, unstudied, inexperienced upstart. His strength over other Iraqi religious leaders is that he -- unlike Sistani-- actually *IS* an Iraqi and that he gets involved with the real world. While other spiritual leaders cloister themselves, al-Sadr and his followers organized charities and created their own security forces, providing a level of public welfare and security for his followers that rivaled the coalition government's attempts.

He tries to maintain (or expand) his constituency by granting what favors he can offer, while at the same time trying to maintain his spiritual credentials. He does this by giving the appearance that he is loyal to Iraq's more experienced religious leaders. His Mahdi Army of paramilitaries, for example, are supposed to exist in order to protect an-Najaf, the preachers, and the faith. The moment he chooses to go to war against the U.S. by himself is the moment that he loses all real claims to religious authority.

So, would he risk his religious authority in order to attack the U.S.? Probably not unless he was backed into a corner, himself. What this looks like to me isn't an insurrection that was unleashed, but one which grew throughout the day. What we are all missing here are the chronological details. Fortunately, http://reuters.feedroom.com and other news reports can help us with this problem.

From what I can tell -- and from what Reuters video shows -- here is the timeline.

1> The U.S. arrest one of al-Sadr's spiritual leaders for the murder of Abdul Majid al-Khoei, a rival spiritual leader. Several other warrants are issued, though there is no sign that a warrant is issued for al-Sadr himself.

2> Sadr's people organize several protests throughout the country, to follow regular prayers. The main protest is, of course, in an-Najaf, the spiritual center of Iraq, as that is where Moqtada al-Sadr resides and preaches regularly.

3> Sadr's supporters leave early in the day to go to prayers, followed by protests. Many of al-Sadr's supporters are from the East Baghdad region known as "Sadr City", and regularly make the 110 mile drive south to attend a weekly prayer led by him. Some even drive the 220 mile journey northwest from Basra, where he is also popular. Many, however, pray locally with spiritual leaders associated with al-Sadr, and attend protests which are local to them.

3> Moqtada al-Sadr leads the prayer in al-Najaf for a crowd of up to 15,000 followers, some of which wear the black of the Mahdi Army. A tank can be seen in the background.

4> After the prayers, there are signs of a large protest with several vehicles trying to get through. Their passage makes the crowd more rowdy, and Coalition troops brandish their weapons. As The Guardian reports, attacks on these vehicles with stones may have been the impetus for firing on the crowd. Reportedly, Spanish, US, Salvadorean, and Iraqi police forces were on the scene.

5> A huge volley of automatic gunfire makes protesters flee. You can later detect the sound of larger caliber fire, such as that you might expect from the anti-personnel gun on a tank. As they flee, if you look closely enough, you see a protester in the street who stops, turns around, fires a pistol back at the coalition forces, and then flees again.

6>There is evidence in this video footage indicating that the scene at an-Najaf quickly grew less crowded as people fled, but that several people took cover behind vehicles and fired back. Apparently, skirmishing continued for around three hours. It has also been reported that a police station in Najaf was raided without a fight, and that several weapons were stolen. About a third of those firing back in the video wore the black outfit of the Mahdi Army, while many seemed to be ordinary Iraqis with less-than-stellar weapons skills.

6> The first video shows al-Sadr speaking again, apparently after the violence. Al-Sadr reportedly had some angry words for the Coalition, discouraging protests, but encouraging resistance. He didn't, however, mention armed resistance. Instead, he said he would organize a sit-in.

7> The violence spreads to Eastern Baghdad in Sadr City, where angry al-Sadr supporters raid several police stations. These conflicts lead to most of the US casualties for the day, presumably because the raids were successful in rapidly taking the police stations, thereby forcing U.S. troops to push the opposing troops out. Two U.S. Humvees were reportedly destroyed, leading me to believe that US forces rushed to the scene and slugged it out with well-defended al-Sadr supporters. All of Baghdad's police stations were reportedly restored to Coalition control.

8> Reports of violence during the day (late afternoon?!)against Italian and British forces in Southern Iraq. Few details have emurged as yet, however.

9> Approximately 1000 Al-Sadr supporters seize control of the governor's mansion in Basra in a late-night raid. The governor flees, while Iraqi police are called out to negotiate the withdrawl of al-Sadr supporters.

So, the question in my mind is just how "planned" this violence was. Did Moqtada cross over the line as far as what he said? Was what he said vague and was it misinterpreted? Did one of his sub-commanders say anything that might have triggered violence? In short, is al-Sadr really in control of what his people are doing at this point? There's no telling...
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:34 AM on April 5, 2004


Heh. I screwed up on numbering the steps, but I'm sure you'll get the idea.
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:43 AM on April 5, 2004


Meanwhile, somewhere in Baghdad's "Green Zone," a reporter asks his assistant: "Is it just me, or does Meadow Gold half and half taste creamier than Devnadi?"


This is hideously unfair. Dozens of journalists have been killed over there since the war began, including two I knew and three friends of friends. The next time you want to blithely make a similar comment, go look at the charts here please.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:22 AM on April 5, 2004


I'd love to see some more in depth analysis on Sadr and his followers.

You mean like an autopsy?
posted by a3matrix at 5:40 AM on April 5, 2004


From the BBC, something to keep an eye on:

"In an unconfirmed claim, the witness said that local coalition-backed paramilitaries had sided with the militia and turned their guns on the Americans."
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:53 AM on April 5, 2004


Another quite good (in my opinion) analysis of al-Sadr from MEMRI. It really does appear that he is trying to walk the same fine line that Arafat has been walking lately. Incite the mob, spew the rhetoric and arm the disenfranchised while using them purely as bargaining chips for real power. Has anyone found quotes from the governing council or from any prominent Iraqi condemning him and his actions over the past few days?

As for the Americans, discussions over whether or not they should be there in the first place aside, how on earth do you handle someone like al-Sadr? Should they have given him a spot on the governing council originally (it appears he really wanted one)? Should they arrest him now (which it appears they may do? An impossible situation for them without the broad support of Iraqi's.
posted by loquax at 6:35 AM on April 5, 2004


Round two?
posted by Krrrlson at 6:41 AM on April 5, 2004


Hm, on second thought the first link may be unrelated. Still interesting, though.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:43 AM on April 5, 2004


Great, great post, insomnia_lj.

What's particularly worrisome about this, I think, is not the uprising itself, but that the local police weapons caches were so easily overrun.
posted by mkultra at 7:29 AM on April 5, 2004


The Ministry of Education is back in the hands of Iraqis today...This is the second ministry to transition to direct Iraqi control and represents a major milestone towards Iraqi self-government.

Iraq Fact of the Day, April 5, 2004
Brought to you by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, whose press office is "packed with former Bush campaign workers, political appointees and ex-Capitol Hill staffers," according to AP. A former CPA contractor says "Iraq is in danger of costing George W. Bush his presidency and the CPA's media staff are determined to see that does not happen."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:06 AM on April 5, 2004


So, the question in my mind is just how "planned" this violence was. Did Moqtada cross over the line as far as what he said? Was what he said vague and was it misinterpreted?

As in Terrorize your enemy ?

Hmmm, here's...

Make your enemy afraid, for it is impossible to remain quiet about their moral offenses; otherwise we have arrived at consequences that will not be praiseworthy. I am with you, and shall not forsake you to face hardships alone. I fear for you, for no benefit will come from demonstrations. Your enemy loves terrorism, and despises peoples, and all Arabs, and muzzles opinions. I beg you not to resort to demonstrations, for they have become nothing but burned paper. It is necessary to resort to other measures, which you take in your own provinces. As for me, I am with you, and I hope I will be able to join you and then we shall ascend into exalted heavens. I will go into an inviolable retreat in Kufa. Help me by whatever you are pleased to do in your provinces.

Paul McGeogh, from the Age makes a comment: With Shiite and Sunni centres at boiling point, all the US needs now to have all religious or ethnic groups in the country on the boil is an eruption of the tension between Kurds, Arabs and Turkomen in the northern city of Kirkuk.
A nightmare of nationwide chaos faces the occupiers

This, from the NYT, is of interest:

A religious student, too young to be accepted as a serious religious authority, he has used the latent power of his militia to gain a voice in Shiite politics matched only by Ayatollah Sistani, who is in his 60's and is said to view Mr. Sadr with an intense personal distaste. While Mr. Sadr has made no effort to disguise his political ambitions, Ayatollah Sistani has insisted that cleric-based groups like Mr. Sadr's should stay out of direct involvement in politics.

On Sunday night, Ayatollah Sistani sent a message from his headquarters in Najaf in which he appeared eager not to distance himself from a cause that had attracted popular support, but also seemed intent on discouraging further armed challenges to the Americans.

An aide to Ayatollah Sistani said he considered the militiamen's cause to be "legitimate" and condemned the "acts waged by the coalition forces." But he added: "The ayatollah has called on the demonstrators to remain calm, to keep a cool head and allow the problem to be resolved through negotiation."


U.S. declares radical Shiite cleric an outlaw after clashes kill dozens

The top U.S. administrator in Iraq declared a radical Shiite cleric an outlaw Monday after his supporters rioted in Baghdad and four other cities in fighting that killed at least 52 Iraqis, eight U.S. troops and a Salvadoran soldier.

PS. That it is not an uncommon experience that Juan Cole answers his email politely is something which should go without mention, however, in my opinion.
posted by y2karl at 8:07 AM on April 5, 2004


Ji, your timing is way off.

Sadr "declared war" back in Feb. This was a long planned confrontation by somebody who understands that without a confrontation, he gets ignored as the neighborhood politician he basically is. Keep in mind this guy was the only Sadr Saddam didn't bother killing. Not exactly a testament to his national importance. A confrontation between Sadr and the CPA has been coming ever since day one.

The CPA is of the belief that he ordered Khu'i's killing and was trying to use this as a way of keeping him in check. Given the path of confrontation he has chosen, expect him to be publically fingered and possibly arrested.

Oh, and while Juan Cole is a clever fellow, he has a big honkin' axe to grind, both of a secular "campus left" sort, and as a Baha'i' he has reason to be critical of many trends in "jihadist" or "Komenist" Shi'ism. After all, he would be executed as an apostate if he ever set foot in Iran.
posted by ednopantz at 8:09 AM on April 5, 2004


insomnia_lj's comment, on the whole, is well taken, let it be noted. Right now, speculation is rife. Let us hope he and we do not find ourselves living up to the first part of his nickname.
posted by y2karl at 8:26 AM on April 5, 2004


Please forgive me ( I do not have FPP post clearance quite yet) but this is related and not too much of a hijack. Looks like some politicians with clout are finally coming into line with what some academics have been saying for 1/2 a year or more. It is of course too soon to say this scenario will happen, but I believe it has a high probability. Despite progress on some fronts Iraq is FUBARed. Once you have a radicalized opposition the only ways to deal with it is kill everyone off, or make political concessions otherwise it just festers with no end.
posted by edgeways at 8:45 AM on April 5, 2004


Hey, our attempt to unify the country is working -- Sunnis and Shi'ites are on the same side at last!

He is fringe, he has little support outside of his radical core, this will be a problem but it is not Tet by any measure.

Not sure what you mean by this. Are you under the impression that Tet was a national uprising by a unified people? Tet was a last desperate throw of the dice by a demoralized NLF that by no means reflected the wishes of the people of South Vietnam (who predictably got screwed after the country was unified); furthermore, it failed, sputtering out after a few lively moments. Luckily for the Communists, those lively moments happened under the full glare of media coverage in Saigon, and the response provoked in the US contributed substantially to ultimate withdrawal. Given the great differences between the two situations, it seems fair to me to compare this to Tet. It remains to be seen, of course, how widespread it becomes, but it doesn't have to go any farther than it already has to be comparable.

On preview: edgeways, that's very relevant to this thread, and (if you will permit me to say so) it's a far, far better thing for you to have put it here than to have started yet another Iraq thread with it. Chalk one up for enforced post-clearance waits.
posted by languagehat at 8:50 AM on April 5, 2004


In terms of comparisons to past conflicts, I haven't really heard too many people comparing Iraq to the former Yugoslavia (this article does though). Seems pretty similar to me - arbitrary boundaries, multiple ethnicities and religions brutally forced to coexist under central authority, a 5-way civil war as soon as the authority was removed. I would not at all be surprised to see that happen in Iraq. Maybe the goal should be the peaceful breakup of the country along ethnic and religious lines rather than the violent one that seems like a growing possibility. It looks like that's what al-Sadr is after in any case.
posted by loquax at 9:39 AM on April 5, 2004


From the Sydney Morning Herald:
US Apache helicopters sprayed fire on the private army of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr during fierce battles today in the western Baghdad district of Al-Showla, witnesses and an AFP correspondent said.

"Two Apaches opened fire on armed members of the Mehdi Army," said Showla resident Abbas Amid.

The fighting erupted when five trucks of US soldiers and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) tried to enter the district and were attacked by Sadr supporters, Amid said.

Coming under fire, the ICDC, a paramilitary force trained by the Americans, turned on the US soldiers and started to shoot at them, according to Amid.
And this:
Heavy fighting between Mr Sadr's Mehdi Army and the Americans was raging in Shualla district, which has been locked down. Weapons were reportedly being stockpiled in a Shiite mosque in Kadamihya, and Iraqi police in the same area are said to have reported to Mr Sadr's office, volunteering to fight with his men. Several loud explosions could be heard from the city centre.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:18 AM on April 5, 2004


I think loquax's suggestion is the sanest solution I've heard yet. There has been a trend towards smaller, nationality based, states since the end of the Cold war, aiding that process then forming a viable UN type agency could achieve many goals held by differing sides. no small task eh? [/pipe dream]
posted by edgeways at 11:16 AM on April 5, 2004


peaceful breakup of the country along ethnic and religious lines

Problem is, that whil the idea sounds good in pixels, these lines are rarely clear, and the source of heavy disputes as to what constitutes a nation's "natural" territory, etc. Keywords: lebensraum, cleansing, etc.

I do think that power should move in 2 directions: down to smaller, regional areas, and upward to international overseers.
posted by signal at 11:25 AM on April 5, 2004


Coming under fire, the ICDC, a paramilitary force trained by the Americans, turned on the US soldiers and started to shoot at them, according to Amid.

Oh, it's on, motherfuckers.
posted by keswick at 11:40 AM on April 5, 2004


one problem with that scenario, is that the best-educated, politcally connected, and 'mainstream' in terms of both the West and the Arab world are the Sunnis, who are also the people who would have hardly any oil if the country was divided by ethnic lines. Furthermore, Baghdad is a totally mixed city. Then of course there's the Turkey/Kurd issue.

Also, from what I have read and seen, the majority of Iraqis believe their best future is as a united country and understand that geopolitically they are much stronger united rather than divided. This is why many Iraqi elites opposed the Governing council being divided by ethnic lines. Of course, most Iraqi elites are Sunnis, so that is part of it as well. At the same time, they are also the people who are most aware of Iraq's potential position in the world and the region.
posted by chaz at 11:51 AM on April 5, 2004


I wasn't trying to imply that a breakup along ethnic or religious lines was either likely or a positive outcome, it was more in response to earlier comments comparing the al-Sadr riots to the Tet offensive. I feel that Yugoslavia is a better comparison to draw than Vietnam. What is clear though, is that al-Sadr and others are actively pursuing that sort of breakup of the country, and now, a year into the US occupation, is probably a good time to reassess the probability of success of their various efforts at stabilizing and improving Iraq. I completely agreed with Cheney when he said that the US would be welcomed as liberators. He was wrong, to a certain extent. It's time now, especially in light of the latest fighting, to judge the extent to which he was wrong and decide whether or not the original goal of maintaining a strong federal government in Iraq is in any way feasible. If not, alternatives must be brought forward, otherwise loose cannons like al-Sadr and al qaeda and the Ba'ath party will continue to dominate the agenda.

Personally, I believe that breaking up the country peacefully is impossible, due to US strategic interests, oil, religion and the volatility of the region in general, as well as signal's points.

Also, I'm guessing that the reports of ICDC turning on the americans are premature. It's more likely that the local detachment of the police or ICDC turned on them, if at all. As far as I can understand, the latest fighting is still very localized and consists of only the hardcore al-Sadr supporters.
posted by loquax at 11:51 AM on April 5, 2004


Meanwhile, somewhere in Baghdad's "Green Zone," a reporter asks his assistant: "Is it just me, or does Meadow Gold half-and-half taste creamier than Devnadi?"

This is hideously unfair. Dozens of journalists have been killed over there since the war began, including two I knew and three friends of friends.


I meant no disrespect for those reporters who have died, CunningLinguist. My point was that mainstream news reporting has become the complacent lapdog of this administration as regards what is happening in Iraq. With all respect to your friends and regret for your loss, I stand by my position that these dogs aren't hunting.
posted by squirrel at 12:12 PM on April 5, 2004


Howzabout this is all very deliberate on Bush's part, as a means to generate war-time popularity during his next election?

It's very cynical, but I do not doubt for a second that this current administration will use any means to remain in power, including slaughtering Iraqis, destabilizing the mid-East, and having its own American troops killed in the war action.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:19 PM on April 5, 2004


How does slaughtering Iraqis, destabilizing the Middle East and killing Americans help Bush get elected? I'm all for conspiracy theories, but that's plain ridiculous on the face of it. Especially when the administration is being criticized for being too scared of losing soldiers and not sending enough to maintain control. And I hate to tell you this, but Bush was headed to re-election before the US went to Iraq. If anything, he was gambling his re-election on a positive outcome. If he really wanted to make sure he got re-elected, he should have stayed home.
posted by loquax at 12:31 PM on April 5, 2004


I've no idea how it would work in favour of Bush.

I'm just certain that if the Bush organization things it would work in favour of Bush, they'd do it.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:08 PM on April 5, 2004


Well, hell. Is the appropriate sound bite "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!" or "Bring it on" for Bush and his loyal followers this week?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:36 PM on April 5, 2004


Here's a short phrase that might be useful. It's spelled:

Q-U-A-G-M-I-R-E.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:38 PM on April 5, 2004


?
posted by jpoulos at 2:02 PM on April 5, 2004


Oh, it's on, motherfuckers.

*tries to wipe testosterone off thread*

Hey, our attempt to unify the country is working -- Sunnis and Shi'ites are on the same side at last!

heh. I was thinking exactly that -- how terrifying that a guy whose family was snuffed out by Saddam and whose life was put in terrible danger by Saddam has this attitude towards the Coalition.
the light of Liberation indeed.


It's spelled:

Q-U-A-G-M-I-R-E.


Analysis: America's intifada?

the Israelization of world politics, indeed.
posted by matteo at 2:42 PM on April 5, 2004


... And you people couldn't be happier. "I told you so! I told you so!"

Disagree with Bush all you want-- Lord knows I do-- but the flippant manner in which you discuss the death of American solidiers is galling.
posted by keswick at 3:34 PM on April 5, 2004


Disagree with Bush all you want-- Lord knows I do-- but the flippant manner in which you discuss the death of American solidiers is galling.

Flippant? Was it flippant when all of this bullshit--the ethnic and regional factionalization, the civil war, the failure to win hearts and minds--was predicted beforehand? No. It was flippant when all those experts were mocked by Wolfowitz and company, and summarilly fired when possible.

No one here is happilly saying "I told you so." More along the lines of "maybe they'll listen now, and we can stop fucking up in Iraq," but hey--if Bush has taught us anything, it's that when confronted with unpleasant facts, you should smear people as antiamerican and partisan (or gay).
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:53 PM on April 5, 2004


Okay, Einstein, how do you propose we handle things? Bonus points if it doesn't involve handing the country over to Islamic extremists who haven't managed to pull their heads out of their asses the 14th century.
posted by keswick at 4:15 PM on April 5, 2004


Well, I don't think you were asking me, but if you were, any plan implemented must promise success for all parties that will have to live by it. That means (probably) a prosperous and secure life for Iraqis, power for religious and secular figures, independence for Iraq in practice as well as in theory, co-habitation and equality for all ethnicities, religions and genders and the accomplishment of American goals in the region regarding terrorism and geopolitical stability. The trick is devising such a plan and then getting the buy in from all the stakeholders. But what you can't do is provide a glimmer of hope to those that feel they can do better on their own rather than being a part of this process. That means setting objectives and deliverables and sticking to them, no matter what. al-Sadr and others have to understand that if they don't play by the rules, they will lose everything. Hopefully arresting him will show that the US is in Iraq for the long haul and will not allow zealots with an agenda to dictate terms to the rest of the country.
posted by loquax at 4:47 PM on April 5, 2004


Okay, Einstein, how do you propose we handle things? Bonus points if it doesn't involve handing the country over to Islamic extremists who haven't managed to pull their heads out of their asses the 14th century.

Well, the short answer, Hawking, is that the only honest answer is "who freakin' knows?" That's why Poppy Bush didn't march to Baghdad. I say "who knows" not because the situation is impossible, but because entering into it in the manner we have was extremely ill-advised, but the Pentagon has been blowing money all these years on an Imaginary Laser Forcefield in Space, instead of a time machine, which would come in handy in this situation.

If my parents had given enough money to the GOP for me to be an administrator in Iraq, my first step would be to arrest Chalabi and extradict him to Camp X-Ray. He is turning de-Baathification into his own personal political witchhunt, and is (again!) exploiting the US' resources in order to consolidate his own power. He is standing in the way of democracy.

I'd also bring in a lot more troops, hopefully UN peacekeepers, or NATO troops, but America troops if necessarry, to perform actual peacekeeping with a larger and less hostile public presence in Iraq. Would that work in Fallujah right now? Probably not. But it more or less was working for the British in Basra for a few months. We also have to stop the brain drain trickling outnof Iraq every day if they are to succeed in building a real civil society. They have an infrastructure of sorts for democracy--universities, literacy--but if all the cultural producers leave, there can't be any sort of civil discourse.

Hey, there is no simple solution to this quagmire, as you seem to be noticing. No one is going to come up with one, either, be they liberal or conservative or bull moose or whatever. But the lack of ideal choice does not mean we shouldn't still avoid obvious bad choices.

So, by asking your question, you ar either implying that the status quo is going swimmingly, or that you have a better idea. Which is it?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:50 PM on April 5, 2004


The thrust of keswick's complaint, and the odd feeling of joy he sensed in this and other threads when things Go Bad for America, really doesn't concern the future of Iraq at all. The relevant question is can the situation in Iraq be resolved in a satisfying way to the people who opposed the war and now oppose the occupation.

And sadly, the answer is No.

They've been waiting for this to go bad from the start, remember? And every little incident that erupts in violence is just more proof at how they've been right all along, as if violence in a war zone is shocking. We know this incident is miniscule, but to them, it's hope. If Iraq implodes in a Shilohesque bloodbath, that spells V-I-N-D-I-C-A-T-I-O-N for all the naysayers and Bush-haters who cried foul over a year ago.

There has been a regime change. Instability is, was, and will continue to be expected. This comes as no surprise. To the administration, it's another unfortunate obstacle to establishing democracy. But to the Bush-Haters, it spells Q-U-A-G-M-I-R-E. Oooooooooh. Let's all take a moment and shiver.

The truth is the more Americans die, the smarter they look; and the joy that you sense just below the surface while they smile and say "I support the troops but not the war" is not in your imagination. It's real. And these people you wish to debate would rather be recognized as intelligent than watch Iraq emerge a stable democracy.

This is the mentality of the people whose opinions you're concerned about:

I do not doubt for a second that this current administration will use any means to remain in power, including slaughtering Iraqis, destabilizing the mid-East, and having its own American troops killed in the war action. I've no idea how it would work in favour of Bush. I'm just certain that. . . they'd do it.

Fucking geniuses, aren't they?
posted by David Dark at 5:20 PM on April 5, 2004


The thrust of keswick's complaint, and the odd feeling of joy he sensed in this and other threads when things Go Bad for America, really doesn't concern the future of Iraq at all. The relevant question is can the situation in Iraq be resolved in a satisfying way to the people who opposed the war and now oppose the occupation.

No, that's a restatement of your last comment. And it's still stupid. I doin't know anyone who likes it when American soldiers die, and neither do you.

There has been a regime change.

No. There has been a regime removal. There is no "regime" at the moment. What, exactly, that regime will look like will be determined by who wins the civil war that is starting because the war we fought in contradiction with the known historical record (ie, offing dictators without a detailed and effective plan for the succession crisis leads to more than "instabillity." It leads to what Balkanization I wonder why they call it that?).

So, if you tell your kid not to run by the pool, and then they run anyway, and knock out a tooth, does that mean you're happy they're hurt? Is learning like a painful insult for you folks?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:47 PM on April 5, 2004


Hey, it's the Darkster! Long time no see.

Look at it this way, David: if the Bush administration's war had successfully crushed the spirit of the Iraqi people, our corporate mercenaries could have hustled in Haliburton et al's corporate infrastructure right away and began pumping out the profits licky split.

Now, if that had happened, there would be no reason for this or the next administration not to do the same thing in Iran or elsewhere. And if it were Kerry to take over this November, I'm not convinced that he wouldn't do the same thing, given an easy invasion and takeover. Democrats hands aren't clean. This isn't about Blue vs Red, it's about what kind of world do you want to live in.

I hear you trying to frame opposition to the US occupation as merely one of many manifestations of Bush hatred. For me, it's not. Try to understand that many who oppose this occupation hate the behavior of Bush more than we hate the man.

Liberal revolt is not an exact converse of the neoconservative vilification of Clinton, in that we actually have reasons.
posted by squirrel at 5:50 PM on April 5, 2004


So wait matteo... given that the article talks of the potential "intifada" of the Shiite clerics as they vie for power, wouldn't "Palestinization of world politics" be a better phrase? Why, if I didn't know better, I'd think you were letting those Zionist vermin take all the credit.

And David Dark -- it's a good point you make, sadly. I'm sure some people are actually trying to be constructive, but it's difficult to find them in the gloating majority.
posted by Krrrlson at 5:54 PM on April 5, 2004


Howzabout this is all very deliberate on Bush's part, as a means to generate war-time popularity during his next election?
I've read that it is not deliberate, but expected, and that the plan is not to turn over power at all, claiming that the instability just won't allow it, and continue the windfall as long as possible (not caring at all about how many soldiers die or anything).

Chilling if true.
posted by amberglow at 5:57 PM on April 5, 2004


Windfall? Of what? Popularity? Certainly not. Was there a boost at the beginning of the war, sure, but most polls show that's gone now. The only windfall Bush has been getting is bad press for all the reasons pointed out here. Democrats are scoring easy points off the administration all the time. Whether they'll succeed in beating Bush is a different story, but I can't see how Iraq has resulted in a "windfall" of support for Bush.
posted by loquax at 6:04 PM on April 5, 2004


hundreds of billions in contracts, control of oil, etc.
posted by amberglow at 6:06 PM on April 5, 2004


No, that's a restatement of your last comment. And it's still stupid.

I made no prior comment in this thread, Ignoramus. I was referring to keswick's:

... And you people couldn't be happier. "I told you so! I told you so!"

Disagree with Bush all you want-- Lord knows I do-- but the flippant manner in which you discuss the death of American solidiers is galling.
posted by keswick at 3:34 PM PST on April 5


keswick has a point. So do I.

Oh, and thanks very much for clarifying the difference between "regime change" and "regime removal." Of all the talking points in my comment, I was hoping you'd respond to that one.
posted by David Dark at 6:08 PM on April 5, 2004


Okay, Einstein, how do you propose we handle things

repent for all the careless warmongering, the McCarthyite accusations of treason to those who had (we see now) many reason to doubt the hawks' strategy, e-mail your President and suggest
:

Through all time to come, I think America will be a stronger nation, a more just society, and a land of greater opportunity and fulfillment because of what we have all done together in these years of unparalleled achievement.

Our reward will come in the life of freedom, peace, and hope that our children will enjoy through ages ahead.

What we won when all of our people united just must not now be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics among any of our people.

Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year.

With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office--the Presidency of your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.

But let men everywhere know, however, that a strong, a confident, and a vigilant America stands ready tonight to seek an honorable peace--and stands ready tonight to defend an honored cause--whatever the price, whatever the burden, whatever the sacrifice that duty may require.

Thank you for listening.

Good night and God bless all of you.

posted by matteo at 6:11 PM on April 5, 2004


you can read the original speech here. Bush should really, really make a similar one. and let somebody more reasonable then himself sort out the mess he and his buddies created
posted by matteo at 6:13 PM on April 5, 2004



I'd think you were letting those Zionist vermin take all the credit.


troll all you want, Krrlson -- it's the only thing you seem capable of doing. but lose the antisemitical slurs.

posted by matteo at 6:14 PM on April 5, 2004


I wish you'd respond to my comments to you, David. [And please refrain from twisting people's user names into ad hominem insults. It obliterates any merit in your argument.]
posted by squirrel at 6:17 PM on April 5, 2004


we can only hope, matteo--but honor and dignity went out of style ages ago, especially with the current crowd in the White House. Even John Dean (who should know) calls it "Worse than Watergate"
posted by amberglow at 6:18 PM on April 5, 2004


it's difficult to find them in the gloating majority

I defy you to name one gloater, let alone a majority. Please, name the gloaters publicly, it shouldn't be hard since they are the majority, right?
posted by chaz at 6:19 PM on April 5, 2004


If Iraq implodes in a Shilohesque bloodbath, that spells V-I-N-D-I-C-A-T-I-O-N for all the naysayers and Bush-haters who cried foul over a year ago.

Yes, it would. Pyrrhic and bitter, to be sure, though. Once the bombs started dropping, I personally hoped that the Bush administration was right and those who opposed him were wrong.

But if he's going to be wrong -- and I still he's not and this whole mess gets turned around, I really do, even if I begin to have trouble believing it -- I'm going to be damn loud about pointing it out. If the Bush administration's ideas were bankrupt, if our war in Iraq does nothing but replace Sadaam with an Islamic Radicalist, or another secular dictator who gives lip service to Islam, or no leader at all and years of tribal/cultural warfare, then that needs to noticed. Every single American ought to be following this carefully, and noting the differences (or similarities) between what the administration announced would follow from this war and what actually happens.

The shouting here isn't gleeful. It's forceful. It is "I told you so"-ish. Because people did tell the Bush Admin so. Because the concerns voiced weren't taken seriously. Because some of us hope that maybe if we shout a little, this sad reality will be the last necessary illustration of the problems with our chickenhawk administrations thinking. And they'll get voted out -- and that, my friends, is the constructive result.
posted by namespan at 6:26 PM on April 5, 2004


Amberglow - I think FFF was getting at the political rewards he would reap with Iraq, of which I haven't seen any. All those contracts and oil you mention are only windfalls if you are so cynical as to suggest that the United States went to war in Iraq for the purpose of cronyism and petty thievery. I think it's fun to draw the lines between Haliburton and the administration too, but it's too much to suggest that for the last 15 odd years, the Americans have been lying in wait over the course of three presidents and spending hundreds of billions of dollars and the loss of thousands of lives just so some corporate buddies could get a handout. There are plenty of easier and more efficient ways to get cash where you want it to go. As for oil, the US would have to out and out steal Iraqi oil for decades in order to even come close to repaying what they've spent combined on the first and second gulf wars and the maintaining of their military presence there in between. And no one has said they will use Iraqi oil revenue for anything other than rebuilding Iraq. If someone has a link disproving this, please post it.

Matteo - I loved Johnson's speech too, but Iraq is not Vietnam, it's not 1968 and the Soviet Union and China are not supplying Iraqi insurgents with unlimited resources. A more appropriate speech might be this one.

I know it may not be fashionable to speak of patriotism or national destiny these days. But I feel it is appropriate to do so on this occasion

Two hundred years ago this Nation was weak and poor. But even then, America was the hope of millions in the world. Today we have become the strongest and richest nation in the world. And the wheel of destiny has turned so that any hope the world has for the survival of peace and freedom will be determined by whether the American people have the moral stamina and the courage to meet the challenge of free world leadership.

Let historians not record that when America was the most powerful nation in the world we passed on the other side of the road and allowed the last hopes for peace and freedom of millions of people to be suffocated by the forces of totalitarianism.

And so tonight-to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans-I ask for your support.

I pledged in my campaign for the Presidency to end the war in a way that we could win the peace. I have initiated a plan of action which will enable me to keep that pledge.

The more support I can have from the American people, the sooner that pledge can be redeemed; for the more divided we are at home, the less likely, the enemy is to negotiate at Paris.

Let us be united for peace. Let us also be united against defeat. Because let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.

posted by loquax at 6:30 PM on April 5, 2004


Hopefully arresting him will show that the US is in Iraq for the long haul

But it's not. We'll cut and run within a year, mark my words. The US has no patience for messy situations with no obvious answers. Remember Lebanon? Remember Somalia?

And David Dark, your remarks are shameful. Nobody's gloating. Are people who predicted this mess supposed to apologize for being right, or just crawl into a hole and hide? It was obvious from the start that this was going to be a hideous mess; it's those of you who pretended it was going to be a walkover who should be hiding out. What do you suggest we do now? Nuke Falluja?
posted by languagehat at 6:31 PM on April 5, 2004


loquax, maybe another Nixon speech might be more applicable?
posted by amberglow at 6:36 PM on April 5, 2004


Languagehat, you may end up being right, of course. But I remember Europe, and Japan, and Korea, and Taiwan and Israel and all of the other messy situations the United States did stay involved in for decades. And don't forget that the US hasn't just been there for a year, it's been 14 years since Iraq invaded Kuwait, and for better or for worse, the US has been involved since at immeasurable expense for dubious gains. At the very least, that leads me to believe that they will be involved for some time yet. I haven't yet heard that Kerry is proposing that he will remove US troops from Iraq, and Bush certainly won't.
posted by loquax at 6:37 PM on April 5, 2004


amberglow - sure, but that speech didn't have anything to do with military deployments or foreign policy, the same way I don't believe that Clinton's impeachment hearings had anything to do with Somalia or Rwanda.
posted by loquax at 6:39 PM on April 5, 2004


To each his own matteo. For you, calling me a troll seems to be a substitute for objectivity.


Hey chaz --

In response to the contractors' gruesome deaths:
The use of American violence in Iraq has so obviously created a less violent state in Iraq, and the Middle East. It's all part of Bush's brilliant "Roadmap", don't you know.

Reap the fucking whirlwind.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:09 AM PST on March 31


Regarding mercenaries:
These former soldiers will not make it--conveniently for the adminstration--on to American casualty lists.
posted by y2karl at 12:06 PM PST on March 31


Regarding Chalabi:
This wont back fire. The middle east LOVES foreigners leveraging control over their land.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:01 PM PST on April 1

The problem is that you leftists just don't have a sense of humor. For Chalabi, every day is April 1st, and our government is the fool. See, it's funny.
posted by UKnowForKids at 5:34 PM PST on April 1


Are these comments valid? They very well may be. Are the posters relishing their Bush-bashing in light of deaths or potential deaths? It certainly seems so. There are better examples, but I leave finding those as an exercise for you. Is there anything else you care to "defy me to do?"
posted by Krrrlson at 6:47 PM on April 5, 2004


Well said, languagehat.

As for oil, the US would have to out and out steal Iraqi oil for decades in order to even come close to repaying what they've spent...

Yeah, but think about who reaps the oil money, and who sows the war costs, Loquax. The Bush-Cheney oil and military cabal have been drooling for the Whitehouse for 8 years because some people of a certain class see the resources of the US, including the forests and military, as their personal profit-making toolbox. They people pay, and the rich profit. Is this news to you? And no, there aren't many easier ways to make the kind of money their gunning for.

Still waiting, David.
posted by squirrel at 6:50 PM on April 5, 2004


I loved Johnson's speech too, but Iraq is not Vietnam


I agree, it isn't. but LBJ's words still resonate, they sound very to the point, today.
and I think the analysis I linked a few comments up, about the Intifada comparison, is very interesting. the scenario is still unclear, and yes, there's no USSR to prop up the insurgency, there are no rice paddies, no Phan Thi Kim Phuc image (the wonderful Nick Ut's probably too old now), no kick-ass journalism to show Middle America the actual carnage unleashed in Her name.
so, yes, it's very different, but still.


We'll cut and run within a year, mark my words

no, not even a zero-credibility-left administration like "All Your Aluminum Tubes Belong To Us" Bush's could possibly do that unless a catastrophic attack (ie nuclear or radiological) on American soil provokes a major policy shift (ie the necessity to wage a major attack somewhere else -- Iran? Libya? Mars?). Niall Ferguson says it'll take at least 10 years, Fukuyama says 50 (always the braggart). Beautiful Occupation, as the song goes.
The glorious Coalition of the Bribed, Bullied and Willing will probably collapse quickly and the non US-ians and non-Brits will maybe leave in a year, yes. America just cannot, and won't. Iraq is no Afghanistan. you can't go in, prop up a Unocal man and then come out, relocating your troops elsewhere. it was a pretty big deal to get into Iraq, it'll be very difficult to pull out. unless of course it can be blamed on, say, John Kerry.
think about it.
if I were a right-wing hawk I'd seriously think about a Kerry vote. save Bush the shame of pulling out of the mess he made in the first place, blame the treasonous Democrats who lost their nerve and wimped out, etc.
posted by matteo at 6:55 PM on April 5, 2004


Krrlson, none of those examples strike me as folks glorying in the death of soldiers. This is a futile argument, anyway: anything said against Bush could be construed as anti-soldier.

Is there anything else you care to "defy me to do?"

Mmm... open your eyes?
(Couldn't resist!)
posted by squirrel at 6:57 PM on April 5, 2004


Fucking geniuses, aren't they?

That is pretty ironic coming from "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere ... nope, no weapons over there ... maybe under here?" WMDavid WMDark, once enamored deeply with every false report of gas filled warheads. To paraphrase and impersonate Edward G. Robinson in The Ten Commandments--ala the old Billy Crystal skit--let me just ask So, where are your WMDS now, David?
posted by y2karl at 7:00 PM on April 5, 2004



of some interest to those who still wonder about Tony Blair's decision to join Bush, good background stuff on Blair's relationship with Chirac:

The odd couple
Tony called Jacques a 'demagogue'. Jacques said Tony was 'badly brought up'. But despite their conspicuous differences, Blair and Chirac have developed a surprising rapport... (that) one aide calls 'an S&M thing'

posted by matteo at 7:06 PM on April 5, 2004


The Bush-Cheney oil and military cabal have been drooling for the Whitehouse for 8 years

And no, there aren't many easier ways to make the kind of money their gunning for.


But that's exactly what I'm saying squirrel, the Americans will not be stealing the oil. What I meant was, even if they did, they'd have to for decades to recoup the cost to the American taxpayer. Sure, if you're saying that private corporations will profit from the oil infrastructure put in place in Iraq, and that was the reason the US has fought two wars and spent hundreds of billions over about 15 years, I guess I can't really argue. I would have to say that a plan such as that would require such foresight and dedication that I can't really believe the parties in question are capable of it. Far easier to pad defense contracts, or create slush funds, or indulge in creative accounting, I would think. I hear what you're saying though, and maybe you can't generate mega-billions in penny ante schemes like I suggested. But I think you'd have to be pretty cynical to completely ascribe US involvement in the Middle East to the military-industrial complex.
posted by loquax at 7:08 PM on April 5, 2004


matteo - good article!
posted by loquax at 7:12 PM on April 5, 2004


You can't spell quagmire without Iraq...
posted by monkeyboy_socal at 7:16 PM on April 5, 2004


Are the posters relishing their Bush-bashing in light of deaths or potential deaths? It certainly seems so.

And consider the name calling, insult slinging ax-grinding slurring source--for whom no shot is too cheap:

Arguing with you is pointless - only your own body parts, unexpectedly separated from each other by terrorist explosives, can ever serve to shake your hypocrisy. At least if you cared enough to ever act in support of your militant bullshit. By then, however, it will be too late - and another raving hippie will take your place to disrespect *your* corpse by hoisting it up on the battlements of his political agenda.

Who wallows and glorys in other people's deaths, Mr. I Was Righteously Angry In My Own Mind So I'm Justified In My Poetic License? You, that's who.

It's not glorying in anyone's death to say that private contractors performing military duties in a war zone will conveniently not show up on the rolls of those who died in their country's service. To the contrary--their deaths ought to be counted as part of the total. Do you disagree?

Boy, no shot is too cheap for you, is it insult boy?
posted by y2karl at 7:22 PM on April 5, 2004


We need to be killing more people in Iraq: kill more wacko clerics. Kill the SOBs who kill our soldiers.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:23 PM on April 5, 2004


Hey squirrel, nice to see you. Not ignoring you, just had to run out quickly.

If the Bush administration's war had successfully crushed the spirit of the Iraqi people. . . there would be no reason for this or the next administration not to do the same thing in Iran or elsewhere.

This is fairly heavy speculation on your part, and I'm not convinced that your concern is warranted. A debate based on such an incredible "If" statement could continue for eternity, but the bottom line is I don't believe it. You're implying that a perceived weakness would be interpreted by Americans as an open invitation to conquer the Middle East, and this is not the case. We are not there to become conquerers.

On the flipside, I don't believe that the Iraqi resistance is so intense that it deters any future invasions if that is indeed the plan, but as I said, I don't think you're correct in your assumptions.

And. . . I'm not convinced that he [Kerry] wouldn't do the same thing, given an easy invasion and takeover.

I think you're in the minority in your party. But I'll tell you what I do know, and that is that John Kerry will not pull the troops out of Iraq, no way, no chance. Establishing democracy in Iraq is paramount, even the Democrats understand this, which is why you won't hear Kerry pledge to remove troops. It ain't gonna happen.

It's about what kind of world do you want to live in.

Absolutely. I want to live in a world where trains in Spain don't go boom during rush hour. Let me explain. I believe the reasons why war in Iraq was a good thing are many, but one of the key reasons is this: It has been said, and I believe, that Democracy is the cure for the disease of Terrorism. Iraq is very important in this regard, and I'm telling you right now, if Democracy fails in Iraq, that 'perceived weakness' we're talking about will be on America, and the real bad guys will go for the jugular.

P.S. See, he called me "stupid", so I called him "Ignoramus". No worse an offense, just more clever. But "squirrel"? What can you do with that name, anyway? :)
posted by David Dark at 7:24 PM on April 5, 2004


You can't spell quagmire without mirage, either. Quit pretending.
posted by David Dark at 7:25 PM on April 5, 2004


As for oil, the US would have to out and out steal Iraqi oil for decades in order to even come close to repaying what they've spent combined on the first and second gulf wars and the maintaining of their military presence there in between. And no one has said they will use Iraqi oil revenue for anything other than rebuilding Iraq. If someone has a link disproving this, please post it.

here's one of the places I've read that theory and I've seen it many other places. As for reasons, your guess is as good as mine, but you have to wonder (especially because we don't know what went on in Cheney's energy meetings).
From the link: Here's one possible answer: Washington has given up on its plans to hand over power to an interim Iraqi government on June 30, and is creating the chaos it needs to declare the handover impossible. A continued occupation will be bad news for George Bush on the campaign trail, but not as bad as if the hand-over happens and the country erupts, an increasingly likely scenario given the widespread rejection of the legitimacy of the interim constitution and the US- appointed governing council.

oh, and here you go, for one. After the Iraq War of 2003, United States and United Kingdom oil giants are certain to gain privileged access to Iraq’s oil resources. Excluded from control over Iraqi oil since the nationalization of 1972, Exxon, BP, Shell and Chevron will now gain the lion’s share of the world’s most profitable oil fields. Few outside the industry understand the huge stakes in Iraq, which amount to tens of billions of dollars in total potential profits per year.

and here's an interesting WH Executive Order forbidding any claims/judgments/etc on Iraqi oil or oil-related anything, that we now have control and possession of. (b) all Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein, and proceeds, obligations, or any financial instruments of any nature whatsoever arising from or related to the sale or marketing thereof, and interests therein, in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons.

Time will tell, I guess.
posted by amberglow at 7:26 PM on April 5, 2004


Krrlson, just want to recap:

1. Make the outrageous statement that the majority of MeFites who did not support the war are gloating over the deaths of American troops.

2. When challenged, offer a bunch of only vaguely related answers, none of which appear to be gloating over the deaths.

3. Ask the challenger to defend your own point for you.

4. Profit?

I ask that you retract your statement or provide evidence for it. Because otherwise you are indicting a lot of people for behavior (gloating over deaths) that is sick and wrong, and it's a horrible accusation, a smear of the worst kind. It's offensive and divisive in the worst way.
posted by chaz at 7:26 PM on April 5, 2004


Metafilter: Log Onto it, And You Have Entered the Liberal-European-UN-Pacificist-Coward Triangle.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:27 PM on April 5, 2004


But that's exactly what I'm saying squirrel, the Americans will not be stealing the oil. What I meant was, even if they did, they'd have to for decades to recoup the cost to the American taxpayer.

You're talking as if America had one bank account, loquax. Don't assume that a loss to the american taxpayer (the cost bearers) is a loss to the interests of those who own this administration (the profiteers). Are you getting it now? Does someone have a whiteboard? ;^)

And, no, George, Rummy, John and Condi don't seem smart enough to be culpable, but that's part of their value. I'm not the first person to point out that this war is for the profit of military and oil corporations, am I?

On preview: God help us, Paris has awoken.
posted by squirrel at 7:30 PM on April 5, 2004


God help us, Paris has awoken.

It's more fun if you don't acknowledge him and just let him jerk off into the void.
posted by Ty Webb at 7:46 PM on April 5, 2004


and loquax, we're talking about the "CEO presidency"...think like a CEO, and it seems clearer (if no less horrible and corrupt and cynical), at least to me. I've also heard that any Iraqi oil won't be OPEC-controlled or price-fixed.
posted by amberglow at 7:48 PM on April 5, 2004


amberglow - good links. I still think it's too much to believe that everything that's happening in and around Iraq for the last 15 years was a smokescreen in order for private oil companies (and presumably key individuals) profit.

But, I think you and others are completely right when you say that there is a major fortune to be gained by those companies now. I would argue that this is at most, a side benefit to the geopolitical aims the US had in that theatre, comparably to the companies that profited during reconstruction or World War II. The US certainly did not start those war any more than they invaded Kuwait to get this ball rolling. Is some of what's happening now in terms of contracts and finances shady and disgusting? Sure. I 100% agree. But the bright side is that in order for those oil companies to profit, Iraqis will profit as well. According to those profit tables you provided, the most likely outcome is $95 billion in profit for oil companies per year for 50 years. I tend to believe that that number is a very high estimate (using a company share of 75% for example, and also, are they sure it's not revenue? where are the costs?), but even given that, the government of Iraq would be receiving about $30 billion per year. That's $30 billion that presumably a new government of Iraq would not steal, and $30 billion that would be contributing to the lives of the people of Iraq. This of course was not the case until recently. Maybe this is really cynical of me, but I can stomach corporate excess and administration impropriety if it leads to the toppling of a despot and a better life for the people of a country (which is, of course, yet to be seen and a different discussion). If those estimates are correct, it also means that the US is not going anywhere soon, as others have suggested, and the stabilization and rebuilding of the country will continue. Between having Saddam in power and having the oil companies take more than their share of Iraqi oil, I'd choose option number two.

PS: Good links, very informative

PPS: On preview, maybe this makes what I was saying earlier clearer squirrel, I know what you're saying, I'm just expressing myself badly I think.
posted by loquax at 7:53 PM on April 5, 2004


Yes, ignore me, like the coward fake, dellusional pacifist you probably are. Yes, ignore the voice of mainstream America; the voice that will realize no one's perfect; that the world isn't perfectl that killing is sometimes necessary; the voice that, even holding its nose to one extent or another, will re-elect President Bush.

IGNORE ME, AND WEEP IN NOVEMBER!
posted by ParisParamus at 7:58 PM on April 5, 2004


I saw Lugar on the News Hour (PBS) tonight and he seemed stymied by what appears to be a no or little U.S. plan for the "post-war" in Iraq.
I thought the plan was to hand over control, or at least civilian control to Iraq at the end of June?

I think the plan is to allow Iraqis work out the problems. True, we will still have troops in Iraq but will they be continuing the role as ' peace keeper' or will they be quartered, available if needed in case of civil war or, god forbid, someone else invades Iraq.

perhaps the question is what will the Iraqis do after June 30.

i also noted that some academics said that Sadrs "army" were, for the most, thugs and that many Shias abhor this violence. Also, as karl points out, Sistani has called for calm.
(saw Juan Cole on ABC news tonight, he looks better on tv then on his site)

Any comparison to TET is not very analogous to this situation IMO.
posted by clavdivs at 8:07 PM on April 5, 2004


...but even given that, the government of Iraq would be receiving about $30 billion per year. That's $30 billion that presumably a new government of Iraq would not steal, and $30 billion that would be contributing to the lives of the people of Iraq. This of course was not the case until recently.
But you're assuming that the government won't be corrupt--something the rest of us have serious doubts about, I think. None of us are saying that this is a plot that's been in the making for years and years, but there's plenty of evidence that from when this administration first got into office, it was part and parcel of their plans--from maps of Iraqi oilfields on.
posted by amberglow at 8:11 PM on April 5, 2004


Hopefully arresting him will show that the US is in Iraq for the long haul

But it's not. We'll cut and run within a year, mark my words.

Marked. You're wrong. You said the same thing last year, and you'll say the same thing next year. 'Within a year, mark my words....' Solace: Eventually you'll be right.

And David Dark, your remarks are shameful.

My remarks are shameful. Obviously. The real problem has surfaced. It's not the terrorists, it's America's foreign policy. It's not Saddam Hussein, it's Bush. It's not your gloating, it's my comments. We don't like it when American soldiers die, but American security guards we'll dance a fucking jig about. And that's okay, because there's money involved.

Are people who predicted this mess supposed to apologize for being right? What do you suggest we do now? Nuke Falluja?

Your predictions aren't coming true. Your wish that they do come true is clouding your judgment. That's my point. In order for you to be right about Iraq, it's going to have to get a hell of a lot bloodier. And you're hoping for it, rejoicing in it, it's evident in every comment you make. For example: No, I don't suggest we nuke Falluja, but if we did, oh boy, wouldn't you be right about Iraq? What the hell is wrong with you people? Falluja is being handled in an orderly, restrained manner, just as it should. Much to your chagrin, I'm sure.
posted by David Dark at 8:14 PM on April 5, 2004


Amberglow, sorry to go on about this (and I suppose, technically that this doesn't really belong in this thread), but I took another look at those numbers and they don't really add up in terms of production. Take a look at this oil production graph in Iraq or this article.

According to the earlier charts and projections, in order for oil companies to have a combined 95 billion in "profit" per year, Iraq would need to produce more than 9 million barrels per day, and they apparently have not broken 3 million before. Not that I'm an expert on oil production, but it looks more like the breakdown is something like 30 billion per year for the companies, 15-20 for Iraq. Not that the principle changes, just the numbers...

On preview - you're right of course, if Iraq becomes a total disaster, all bets are off and nobody wins. Any positives would have to come from a solid, stable prosperous Iraq, and, to tie back to the original post, that's why it's my sincere hope that the US stays involved, the rest of the world gets involved, and smart, successful plans are implemented. Hopefully al-Sadr and others of his ilk won't win and drive away the (at least partially) good intentions of the rest of the world.
posted by loquax at 8:15 PM on April 5, 2004


loquax, we seem to disagree on how we estimate this administration. I'm glad we can do so thoughtfully and productively. I don't agree with framing any part of the argument as "this occupation as it has been executed" vs. "doing nothing at all." Virtually no one in the US who opposes the occupation favors Saddam. The false dilemma of "with Bush or against America" was created by--you guessed it.
posted by squirrel at 8:16 PM on April 5, 2004


squirrel - you're right, I didn't mean to put it that way. Apologies!
posted by loquax at 8:19 PM on April 5, 2004


I hope it works out too, loquax--too many people on both sides have died already. I don't see us giving up direct control until after the election, when Pres. Kerry gives it to the UN. : >

Just one more recent thing on Cheney's Energy meetings (from the WaPo). I think there's stuff there they're doing their best not to let us know about, and it encourages speculation (as their secrecy about so many things does).
posted by amberglow at 8:20 PM on April 5, 2004


I'm glad some of you are only internet trolls, and not actual legislators.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:20 PM on April 5, 2004


What the hell is wrong with you people? Falluja is being handled in an orderly, restrained manner, just as it should.

Why is that man yelling at a coffee machine?
;^)
posted by squirrel at 8:31 PM on April 5, 2004


As an aside, I'd like to note that jerking off into the void would be a fantastic album title.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:36 PM on April 5, 2004


Wasn't that the unofficial title of Greendale?
posted by squirrel at 8:41 PM on April 5, 2004


" but American security guards we'll dance a fucking jig about"

no one here is. no one. not even Kos did, and I don't see him comment in this thread anyway. no one -- except your shameful straw men -- is dancing the "fucking jig".
talk about straw men, huh?
shame on you. shame on you.
people are dying while your Presidernt cracks jokes in front of his corporate masters about the way he conned America into going to war, and you support his lies, the constant spin that's trying to make a foreign policy disaster look like a good idea. and you have the gall to think that's patriotism.

you were wrong about WMD's, about the Al Qaeda link, about the mushroom cloud, about the cakewalk, about being greeted as liberators.
wrong about everything, and still willing to feel that sense of superiority, and attack others.

since it's all the "nay-sayers" fault (Jesus, how history loves to repeat itself) I also suggest you pack your bags, do your part to make Iraq safe for the occupation, finally put your life when your jingo pixels are. fun to play Rambo on MetaFilter while it's other people (a nice chunk of them not even US citizens, but immigrants hoping to stay alive and get a citizenship) doing the dying for you, right?
until you volunteer to join the search for those phantom WMD's, such a fucking barrel laughs right?, you're just slander on a computer screen.
nothing else-
posted by matteo at 8:46 PM on April 5, 2004


We need to be killing more people in Iraq

We, Paris? You mean that you accepted that $1000/day security contract and you're tooled up and ready to go?

No, I don't suggest we nuke Falluja, but if we did, oh boy, wouldn't you be right about Iraq?

Yeah, right: and wouldn't you have felt so fucking smug and vindicated had a few hundred US troops run into a barrage of Vx? Oh, you so would. The fuckers on Fox News, this time last year, were practically propping up the desk with their erections at the thought of American soldiers getting showered with nerve agents.
posted by riviera at 9:40 PM on April 5, 2004


How moronic of you to be so sure there there are/were no WMDs. Guess how many murder weapons are buried somewhere in the confines of California? Guess how easy it would be to ship them to Syria, and/or onto Lebanon. You are naive, so naive.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:41 PM on April 5, 2004


keswick writes: .. And you people couldn't be happier. "I told you so! I told you so!"

Disagree with Bush all you want-- Lord knows I do-- but the flippant manner in which you discuss the death of American solidiers is galling.


RED HERRING.

I just re-read the thread. Up to this message from Keswick there was absolutely nothing flippant in the thread.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:51 PM on April 5, 2004


Yay! fffish is here!
posted by squirrel at 10:00 PM on April 5, 2004


I think the WMD's are elswhere. As a proliferator, Iraq was insignificant. Pakistan was the REAL nexus of WMD proliferation....North Korea's been busy too. Then, there are the ex-Soviet Republic states. And the US, some would add.
posted by troutfishing at 10:10 PM on April 5, 2004


Oh, and thanks very much for clarifying the difference between "regime change" and "regime removal." Of all the talking points in my comment, I was hoping you'd respond to that one.

If you take off your shirt, and don't put on another one, did you change your shirt? No. You removed it. Until we at least find something that we can claim is the new regime, we haven't changed anything. We have only destroyed things so far. Iraq may become a democracy, a dictatorship, or a clown college. My point is that right now it is none of these things, and that anyone claiming to know which it will become is naive or dishonest.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:24 PM on April 5, 2004


Of course no one knows. But it's a safe bet what it will become will be less dangerous than it was.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:31 PM on April 5, 2004


I am hoping that things in Iraq get better... a real functioning, powerful, democratic Iraq would change the world and change the Middle East for the best. However as I said at the time, starting a war is not a good way to get Democracy going. Maybe a war was necessary, with Hussein in power it would have come to that eventually, in some form. But it wasn't done right, not at all. And it continues to not be done right, from what I can tell. But there is always the chance that the Iraqis themselves will get it together regardless of the situation that's been created.

One thing that is necessary is for America to have unity, or at least a very civilized discussion and debate, about Iraq. Without that, it, and America's efforts there, are doomed. It doesn't help to have people slinging fire at each other over the issue, it has the potential to divide the country and ensure that Iraq fails. I think almost everyone in this discussion cares about Iraq and America's future... something that should be used as a baseline when discussion the issue. Trolls should be ignored, they can only disrupt and discourage any reasonable discussion.
posted by cell divide at 10:35 PM on April 5, 2004


Of course no one knows. But it's a safe bet what it will become will be less dangerous than it was.

Why?

I think the answer to that question might come down to whether one is more impressed with the Japan analogy (which bodes well) or the Yugoslavia analogy (which bodes poorly). It's bizarre, because for my money, the single most important aspect in the success of post-war rebuilding in Japan was the intense, detailed, and extremely legthy planning that took place. It's hard to get a grip on what this means for Iraq, because a lot fo this sort of plannign was done, it's just that it was ignored and mocked while those who compiled it were fired and had their wives' covert status exposed by TV pundits.

The thing that tips me in favor of the Yugoslavia analogy is the ethnic diversity and tension, as well as the fact that two of those most significant ethnic groups have large ties to populations in neighboring countries, of Iraq. Japan already undertook a very effective and comprehensive campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Ainu minority waaaay back in the day, so there were no natural fault lines along which to factionalize.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:39 PM on April 5, 2004


(saw Juan Cole on ABC news tonight, he looks better on tv then on his site)

That picture would not be my first choice if I were he.
posted by y2karl at 10:42 PM on April 5, 2004


him. whatever.
posted by y2karl at 10:43 PM on April 5, 2004


I feel kind of bad for Paris. I think you are losing it fella. I can only view your comments as sick or fantasy, and you only become more concentrated as time passes. Talk to someone, and try not to think about the middle east so much.
posted by thirteen at 11:04 PM on April 5, 2004


I think Paris is taking the piss. No one could be so bombastic and so dumb at once and still be able to operate a computer. Then again, he may have a helper. But, still, at this point I believe it's a put on, like professional wrestling.
posted by squirrel at 11:32 PM on April 5, 2004


chaz -- My examples provided gloating over being right while Bush was wrong, not gloating over deaths. But hey, keep speaking for me if it makes you feel better. I suppose the only opponent you can defeat is one stemming your own fantasy. I ask that you retract your latest statement in light of the fact that you were wrong.

y2karl -- Yep, my post CLEARLY shows that I glorified death, rather than trying to point out the horrors of it that you are ignoring. Besides, cheap shot, valid argument, what's it to you? You only hear what you want to hear.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:39 PM on April 5, 2004


My remarks are shameful. Obviously. The real problem has surfaced. It's not the terrorists, it's America's foreign policy. It's not Saddam Hussein, it's Bush. It's not your gloating, it's my comments. We don't like it when American soldiers die, but American security guards we'll dance a fucking jig about. And that's okay, because there's money involved.

David Dark, did you even notice that the people you're arguing with in this thread are actually grieving for the deaths of the civilians and noted that they probably aren't going to added to the count of those who died serving their country?
posted by namespan at 11:40 PM on April 5, 2004


Of course, it is people expressing the same sad, troubling, violent ideas of david dark and parisparamus in the world who really have no regard for the lives and welfare of American soldiers, hence the cheap and transparent and emotional projection you see above.

The chickenhawks have no problem with ill-equipped American soldiers placed in harm's way for a fool's errand. It is a J-U-S-T-I-F-I-C-A-T-I-O-N for a worldview that sees humans as mere pawns for "interests", for the tired old doctrine that might makes right, and for a greedy nationalism. It is the base C-O-W-A-R-D-I-C-E of those who send others to fight in their place.

Those who supported Bush in his immoral undertaking are truly reaping the fucking whirlwind. Every single day, they are reminded of the blood for which they bear some measure of responsibility.

There is no pleasure for those who tried to warn. There is only sorrow and weariness and anger at those who bring about the ultimate devaluing of soldiers: death or dismemberment or a lifetime of guilt as wages for an unjust, unworthy cause.

There is only the tragedy and the heartbreak and the outrage that Americans and Iraqis continue to suffer and die, while those who lusted for war shirk the responsibility for the terrible mistake that sustains that suffering, safe in the halls of the Bush administration, on talk radio, in corporate offices, and from behind their computer keyboards.

I have no doubt that calls that the war MUST continue will keep reverbating from those safely behind those keyboards. And, sadly, I have no doubt whatsoever that you will continue to reap the fucking whirlwind you helped stir.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:37 AM on April 6, 2004


I'll just cut to the chase. matteo, you are a motherfucking liar.

Kos's statement:

I feel nothing over the death of mercenaries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

Some examples of support for Kos's statement:

"That said, if they aren't mercenaries, they are certainly collaborators and valid targets for the Iraqi resistance."

"Do you think that mercenaries have as valid a role in combat as real soldiers?"

"He gets to not care when they die doing their illegal bullshit jobs."

"They are war-profiteering scum. Let them take a bullet that might otherwise take a US soldier. Screw them."

Don't tell me you didn't read any of that, matteo. "No one here is", huh? No one? Straw man, my ass. Nearly everyone in that thread was defending Kos's statement and throwing flowers at his feet for his "honesty", or else they were calling the Kerry campaign's decision to disassociate themselves "pathetic", which amounts to the same thing in principle. You were over there, too. You read every word, just like I did, you lying motherfucker. Shame on you, matteo, for calling what you know to be the truth a straw man. You are a liar, and not a very good one.

People sit here and talk about "mercenaries" as the scum of the earth. These are American and British ex-soldiers, people who fought and survived wars probably before you were born, who have more intelligence than you'll ever glimpse and are in that warzone to provide much needed protection to civilian contractors who are trying to rebuild all that's been destroyed, and all you sons of bitches can muster is "Screw Them." Fantastic. "Let them take the bullets, they're not important like regular soldiers, they're valid targets performing illegal bullshit jobs."

They are condemned by this community to die for their sin of GREED.

So, while 'dancing a jig' may be hyperbole, the sentiment is there and undeniable. Don't give me crap about five "real" soldiers died that day, too, and where's their press? The reason for all the press covering this story was not that these men were civilians, but because of the FUCKING HORRIFIC MUTILATIONS that occurred to the corpses after they had been killed.

As for Kos, he later apologized.

No one here did, to my knowledge.

As for my playing Rambo, I've got a brand new wife who wants babies, but nevertheless, I said on 9/11 and I'll say again that if the draft is ever reinstated, I will enlist of my own volition. They wouldn't call me (I'm over the age bracket), but I'm young enough and healthy, and even though I make a decent living, I'd go. Anyone care to make this pledge with me? Anyone? Ignatius? Fish? Matteo, I think you might be a woman, so you're exempt. The rest of you? I didn't think so. So Fuck Off.

As for this thread, it went downhill as soon as foldy walked in with these two snide remarks:

Well, hell. Is the appropriate sound bite "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!" or "Bring it on" for Bush and his loyal followers this week?

Here's a short phrase that might be useful. It's spelled:
Q-U-A-G-M-I-R-E.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:38 PM PST on April 5


If those comments aren't considered 'gloating', then the term 'author's tone' has been rendered completely meaningless.

squirrel, I really wish you'd respond to my comments instead of taking one-liner cheap shots about coffee machines, but then again, maybe you're the court jester. Every debate needs comic relief, and there's no shame in that role, so keep it up, guy.

Ignatius, I can't thank you enough for the second and quite frankly, better, metaphor used to clarify the difference between "regime change" and "regime removal." Really, truly, impressive stuff. Amazing, really. I can't wait to see what you come up with next. "If you remove..." No, fuck it, I'm not even going to try. You're the master! You do it! ha. I love that guy.

riviera.

and wouldn't you have felt so fucking smug and vindicated had a few hundred US troops run into a barrage of Vx? Oh, you so would. The fuckers on Fox News, this time last year, were practically propping up the desk with their erections at the thought of American soldiers getting showered with nerve agents.

Smug and vindicated? Smug and vindicated. To be completely honest, it depends on the outcome. Had it resulted in the death of anyone, then absolutely not. That's the difference I'm trying to demonstrate between this community and people like me. But I'll tell you one thing, I'd feel a hell of a lot better about a few hundred US troops running into a barrage of VX nerve gas then I felt about a few thousand Kurds running into the same. At least our fucking soldiers had proper equipment to protect themselves, which is more than I can say for the others. Had what you suggest actually happened, one of those few hundred soldiers would have been my brother-in-law, who is still in Iraq today. My wife and I are godparents to his two daughters, and if you're suggesting for one fucking second that I would take pleasure in the death of my brother or anyone else in that god-forsaken place, you are sorely mistaken. Computer screen slanderer, indeed, riviera, you're lucky you're way the fuck over in Milan because if you and I were at a bar right now you'd be missing more than a few teeth.

But I do believe we're making progress. riviera has unintentionally admitted that he, for one, feels smug and vindicated at the apparent downturn suffered by Coalition forces, by accusing me of the same feelings in a different set of circumstances (basic Psych 101 for those wondering). Sorry, riv. I didn't catch that CNN broadcast you're referring to, but I don't get a hard-on thinking about war or the death of hundreds of people as a means to really drive a point home. I guess, at the time, you were projecting your true feelings at the television. [Last comment deleted]

namespan, no, I hadn't noticed whatever it is that you're talking about, and I'm really not sure what thread you mean, but point me in the right direction and I'll check it out.

foldy, that has to be the longest comment I've ever read that didn't say a fucking thing worth mentioning. But I feel rather proud that I've gotten you to respond to something, that's usually not your style. matteo seems uncharacteristically flustered, as well. Hmmmm. Good. It's interesting. I'm obviously striking a chord with some people. Foldy, you and I will converse again in the future, I'm sure. Until then, keep quoting the Bible, or Young Guns, whatever your source. I highly doubt it's the Bible. So, as the movie goes, 'Reap the fucking whirlwind, Sheriff Murphy. Reap it!'

How apropos that a man dies right after those words, at the hands of an immature outlaw whose only concern is increasing the body count. Sweet dreams, foldy.
posted by David Dark at 2:50 AM on April 6, 2004


The chickenhawks have no problem with ill-equipped American soldiers placed in harm's way for a fool's errand.

Speaking of said harm: "Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are contaminated with radiation likely caused by dust from depleted uranium shells fired by U.S. troops, a Daily News investigation has found."

If confirmed, this will be bad.
posted by homunculus at 3:02 AM on April 6, 2004


Iraqi Shi'ite Militia Battles Italian Troops

Radical Shi'ite militiamen fought gun battles with Italian troops in the southern town of Nassiriya on Tuesday and two civilians were killed, witnesses said.

They said fighting had erupted at about 4 a.m. (0000 GMT) and continued into the morning. Four Italian military vehicles had been burned in the clashes in the Zeitoun district.


Sadr's Rise Prompts Fear of Civil War

Iraq is slipping into chaos as a radical young Shiite leader rallies the country's Arab population against the U.S. occupation, say international online commentators.

While Arab observers criticize upstart cleric Moqtada Sadr for inciting rebellion against U.S. forces, many are predicting he will gain support at the expense of Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the Shiite leader who has grudgingly cooperated with occupation authorities. Fears that Iraq is falling apart have never been more common in international news sites.


Sadr Aide: Shi'ite Uprising in Iraq Will Continue

An uprising by supporters of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr will continue until occupying troops are withdrawn from populated areas and prisoners are released, an aide told a news conference Tuesday.

"The uprising will continue and we will not negotiate unless they fulfil our demands, which are a withdrawal from populated areas and the release of prisoners," Qays al-Khazali said.

posted by y2karl at 6:41 AM on April 6, 2004


But I remember Europe, and Japan, and Korea, and Taiwan and Israel and all of the other messy situations the United States did stay involved in for decades.

I remember those places too. Let's see now, what's the most obvious difference between them and, say, Somalia and Lebanon? That's right, Americans weren't getting killed over there after the "end of hostilities." Sure, the US is prepared to send over money and station troops; it's not prepared to accept long-term casualties. It's proved that over and over. Of course I'm not making a guarantee about our being out within a year, but I think it's much more likely than not (assuming we keep losing troops, which certainly seems a good bet at this point).

I said on 9/11 and I'll say again that if the draft is ever reinstated, I will enlist of my own volition.
*laughs until he can hardly type*
What, Mr. Hero, you think it's illegal to enlist without a draft? You're so brave, go enlist right now and prove you really mean it. "Yup, if they come and frog-march me into the army, I'll go all right! That's what a bad mutherfucker I am!"
posted by languagehat at 7:00 AM on April 6, 2004


I share your amusement /Wm[d] Jefferson Clinton
posted by y2karl at 7:17 AM on April 6, 2004


Reilly: A reasonable analogy, but I think a mistaken one. Yugoslavia was never as bad as Iraq was. Yugoslavia never had, or at least used WMDs; didn't have oil to fund corruption at the UN and terrorism abroad. If Iraq breaks apart because its population is too primitive, that's regretable, but not a reason not to have removed Saddam.

One issue which is not being raised is how the Saddam-UN connection now being exposed is whether the US should fund the UN at all. Kurt Waldheim, the anti-Israel orientation of the organization; and now this scandal, arguably the worst yet. How utterly disgusting. How outrageous that my tax dollars should be going to the UN.

As for my sanity, it's still very much intact. As for the unbold, arrogant, pseudo-intellectual, hateAmerica Metafilter consensus, MAY YOU CONTINUE TO LIVE IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE ABOUT WHICH ALMOST NO ONE OUTSIDE OF METAFILTER CARES.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:36 AM on April 6, 2004


David Dark,
insults aside, you haven't managed to link to anybody here "dancing the fucking jig".
hence, it's all slander.

you point to Kos. Kos is not a user who posted comments in this thread. he is responsible for his ideas, posted in his blog. nothing to do with this thread. you're just that -- slander.

matteo seems uncharacteristically flustered, as well

maybe unnecessary bloodbaths do that to decent people -- but you cannot understand that. people like you, instead, just ask for more blood (when it's other people's blood, of course). as languagehat pointed out, how brave of you to volunteer only if the draft is reinstated. how brave.
go now, if you really think Bush's adventure is another WWII. go now.

what you refuse to consider is a simple fact. "I was right", "I told you so" are usually very nice sentences when you're talking, say, about sports. too bad that we "nay-sayers" (Jesus...) can take little solace in our being right regarding Iraq -- we told you it was going to be bad, very bloody and almost impossible to get out of. and you didn't listen. and smeared us. and our having been right doesn't manage to stop you now, in front of that mountain of corpses, you just keep on smearing the decent people who -- had somebody listened to them a year and a half ago -- would have spared America (and the world) this horrible mess.

because if you and I were at a bar right now you'd be missing more than a few teeth.
heh. so much for rational arguments I guess.


as I've already suggested to another keyboard warrior, don't threaten violence on the Internet, on general principle. you also shouldn't do that when you don't know how big is the guy in front of the other screen, or how much he can bench-press. they could take you seriously and actually come meet you outside of a bar, or something, to see if you still feel like demonstrating your might.
me, I'm against pre-emptive strikes. self-defense only.
;)


How outrageous that my tax dollars should be going to the UN.

don't worry, Washington almost never pays her UN dues. you know, they're too busy funding settlements in, heh, "Judea" and "Samaria".
posted by matteo at 8:03 AM on April 6, 2004


fap fap fap fap
posted by keswick at 8:41 AM on April 6, 2004


Hey, our attempt to unify the country is working -- Sunnis and Shi'ites are on the same side at last!

Not sure what you mean by this

I remember those places too. Let's see now, what's the most obvious difference between them and, say, Somalia and Lebanon? That's right, Americans weren't getting killed over there after the "end of hostilities."

another bad analogy. Take germany, the country was in total ruins almost all the solders where killed or captured or just wanted to go home. Troops where still dying after V-E day, through accidents or "werewolf" attacks. But yes, the number was low. As for Japan, well, big mushroom cloud and the soviet threat of occupation in addition to japanese bewilderment at being occupied made guerilla fighting a moot point.
The term was 'end of major hostilities', you may not see the difference but there is. Iraq is hostile no doubt, but Iraqs army is neutralized, hence they cannot mount anything resembling an offensive in the conventional sense.

Twice during the early 1980s the United States deployed troops...Given a vague mandate to restore order, support the weak Lebanese government, and work for the withdrawal of all foreign forces, the troops slowly became entangled in the Lebanese civil war. On October 23, 1983, a truck bomb exploded at the vulnerable marine headquarters, killing 241 marines -- the largest loss of life in a military operation since Vietnam. For the military, Beirut becomes a symbol of ill-considered political objectives and poorly-defined rules of engagement.

The rules of engagement have changed concerning Iraq. The post-war quag (not quite a mire yet IMO) is another matter. Lebanon was already in a state of civil war.

and somalia? well you chickenhawk hawkers can slink back into your keyboards seeing that that "chickenhawk" clinton authorized a wild west snatch and grab with no armour support in one of the most dangerous urban conditions in the world at that time.

I'm putting my money (or lack of it) to my mouth. I'm currently exploring options to go to Iraq in some form or another.
Also a note to those who say "you go and fight if your so...whatever"
Protest in the old fashioned way. Stop paying you taxes that pay for this war. Do any of you have the guts for that?

do you? It is simple. Stop paying them. Thoreau comes to mind but that may not be very analogous to this situation.

Matteo, i see you rail against my country and her role in this QUAG, what about yours. You want to be Mr. International, lets hear some protest about your governments role in all this...or are you apprehensive for some reason. Perhaps you think MeFi should be more international, lets here some of that international protest.

Good post karl, despite my muckraking, inchoate alienability, this post has me thinking. (is Juan Cole really a Baha'i?)

I see sadr has fled to Najif. I can see the fear and hate in his eyes. I hope Ayatollah Sistani can help bring calm.
posted by clavdivs at 9:21 AM on April 6, 2004


If Iraq breaks apart because its population is too primitive, that's regretable, but not a reason not to have removed Saddam.

Initially, I'll ignore "population is too primitive" and pretend you said "civil society is non-functioning," because I think they are how the two of us would express more or less the same idea. If taht assumption is valid, then I have to wonder under which rationale it was still a good idea to oust Saddam. Certainly, this is irrelevant to the now-debunked WMD argument (not that you aren't right when you say the WMD may well haven existed, but if our invasion actually hastened their dissemination, as you seem to be implying, it's hard to see how that worked out well). That pretty much leaves the "liberation" argument. If Iraq becomes worse--or at most no better--than it was under Saddam, how does that rationale hold up?

David Dark-
Look at what you said. This was my comment...
"Do you think that mercenaries have as valid a role in combat as real soldiers?"
...and you cited it as an example of cheering America hate celebrating the failure of our Iraq policy. I won't attempt to argue with you (you're having enough fun with the strawmen already), but I will point out how indicative it is of the general "with us or against us" mindset that you really can't see the difference between an entirely non-loaded question and a violent, gleeful smear. You should be pleased to know that you think just like your heroes.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:21 AM on April 6, 2004


perhaps the question is what will the Iraqis do after June 30.
posted by clavdivs at 9:28 AM on April 6, 2004


whether the US should fund the UN at all

The US is in arrears to the UN to the tune of about a billion dollars. Yes, there are those who will make convoluted arguments about how the UN actually owes the US money, figuring the US should be specially reimbursed in ways not granted other nations.

Here is the Big Question: can democracy be forced upon a nation?

And note that question wholly ignores the question of whether what the US allows to happen in Iraq is even remotely democratic.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:59 AM on April 6, 2004


Blix Says Iraq Was Better Off with Saddam in Power

"It's positive that Saddam and his bloody regime is gone, but when one weighs the costs, it's clearly the negative aspects that dominate," Blix told daily Jyllands-Posten in an interview.

...Blix said the war had contributed to a destabilization of the Middle East and a move away from democracy in the region, adding that even though Iraqis had been spared life under a dictator, it was at too high a cost.

"Bush declared war as a part of the U.S. war on terror, but instead of limiting the effects of terror, the war has laid the foundation for even more terror," Blix said.

Blix was scorned by the United States and Britain for failing to conclude Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction ahead of their invasion. But a year on, no such weapons have been found.
posted by squirrel at 10:46 AM on April 6, 2004


(is Juan Cole really a Baha'i?)

Yes, he is--and his comments on contemporary Bahai' are informed.
posted by y2karl at 11:39 AM on April 6, 2004


Anarchy across Iraq

British soldiers killed 15 militants as Iraq descended into new levels of anarchy today.

The Iraqis died in a string of clashes with UK forces over the past 48 hours in Basra and Amarah as a Shia uprising led by firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr swept through the country. More than 20 Iraqis were injured in Amarah and Basra - the main cities in the British-controlled sector of the country. Twenty-four Coalition soldiers, six of them British, were hurt, none seriously, the Ministry of Defence said.

The confrontations came as efforts to keep peace went into meltdown and America said it is planning a massive troop reinforcement. In the most widespread violence to hit Iraq since the last days of the war, Coalition troops faced clashes in almost all the main cities.

posted by y2karl at 11:46 AM on April 6, 2004


You can't spell quagmire without mirage, either. Quit pretending.

You can nearly spell "migraine" from quagmire. Nearly.
posted by SpaceCadet at 11:46 AM on April 6, 2004


riviera has unintentionally admitted that he, for one, feels smug and vindicated at the apparent downturn suffered by Coalition forces, by accusing me of the same feelings in a different set of circumstances (basic Psych 101 for those wondering).

I see you never got to Psych 102, which deals with 'transference'. I don't feel anything of the sort, but you apparently feel the need to engage in a bit of projection.

Let me remind you: the TV generalissimos were forever drawing the supposed 'red line' after which chemical or biological weapons would be deployed, and reporting vapid rumours that such orders had been given... waiting, just waiting for the deaths that would prove them right.

And as long as it was people not close to you, Mr Dark, you'd have used those deaths as a bloody bloody shirt.
posted by riviera at 11:54 AM on April 6, 2004


Thanks for continuing to post links in this thread, y2karl.
posted by Prospero at 12:00 PM on April 6, 2004


From matteo's link:

Al-Sadr has called on his followers to bring "terror" to the Coalition occupation in a radical break with the wider majority Shia community, which was repressed under Saddam and has been broadly supportive of the Americanled invasion.

Just trying to stress who I think has ultimately caused the past few days of violence.
posted by loquax at 12:00 PM on April 6, 2004


From matteo's link:

Whoops! Sorry y2karl - and yes, thanks for continuing to post. That is a scary report.
posted by loquax at 12:03 PM on April 6, 2004


y2karl is one of MeFi's most valuable IraqFilter contributors. He is continuously posting high-value links to insightful articles. It's most unfortunate they are not more often read by those who, through their wilfull ignorance, continue to picture this war as a rosey-tinted success.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:08 PM on April 6, 2004


Take germany, the country was in total ruins almost all the solders where killed or captured or just wanted to go home. Troops where still dying after V-E day, through accidents or "werewolf" attacks. But yes, the number was low. As for Japan, well, big mushroom cloud and the soviet threat of occupation in addition to japanese bewilderment at being occupied made guerilla fighting a moot point.

I think more important is that in both cases you had a formal surrender by what was, at some point at least, a government (or the remnants thereof) that much of the population respected. Japan and Germany both being known as very sturctured, orderly societies probably helped as well. As opposed to Iraq where the government just faded away leaving a vacuum with no one to say, "it's over, you should co-operate with them now."
posted by Cyrano at 12:29 PM on April 6, 2004


you also shouldn't do that when you don't know how big is the guy in front of the other screen, or how much he can bench-press. they could take you seriously and actually come meet you outside of a bar, or something, to see if you still feel like demonstrating your might.

Yes, definitely a woman. And I'm beginning to wonder about your reading comprehension skills. At any rate, of which you'll never understand: Sometimes it just doesn't matter. Principles and honor are more important than size and strength. Cowards never quite grasp that. What I said is the truth: If riviera and I were in the same room, I don't care how big he is or how strong he is, he'd be missing some of his teeth. What happens to me afterwards is of little consequence. It wouldn't be the first time I had to fight someone twice my size, and the idea of doing it again doesn't frighten me in the least. At the very worst, I heal quickly.

What, Mr. Hero, you think it's illegal to enlist without a draft? You're so brave, go enlist right now and prove you really mean it. "Yup, if they come and frog-march me into the army...

languagehat. As I said, I'm over the age bracket, so I wouldn't be "frog-marched into the army". And no, I don't think it's illegal to enlist without a draft. The difference, which I would think fairly obvious to people of average intelligence, is the idea that the draft represents: the need for healthy men of fighting age.

Ahhh, but clavdivs brings up an interesting point. Any of you big talkers want to throw yourselves into the ring for your beliefs, since you can't chide me enough for mine? Stop paying your taxes and go to prison, do something meaningful if you really want to protest America's policies. Do it now, matteo, if you're so brave and principled. Do it now.

languagehat, I'm sure a principled guy like you would fare well in prison. You don't even have to put your own life in danger, you just have to make a stand and accept the consequences. How much do you truly oppose the war? Are you willing to make any kind of sacrifice for your beliefs? Or are you just smoke and water, talk talk talk, paying insincere lip service against a cause you personally fund?

I'll follow your principled decision closely (but I won't hold my breath).

I already know you're not willing to do it, because you can't even stick to your guns about pulling out in a year:

"Ahem! Attention everyone! Mark my words! I declare with authority that we will cut in run within the year! (No guarantee, just a projection, I really have no idea what will happen so don't hold me to this)"

That's right. Backpedal as fast as you can, because you stand for nothing. You are nothing. Laugh at that, because you're only laughing at yourself.

Ignatius, you were also the author of another of my examples, and a very strong supporter of Kos's opinion and the sentiments behind them. I see you chose the weaker sentiment to defend, and refuse to budge even though the man you vehemently support apologized and admitted his remarks were out of line. I can at least respect Kos for his admission. Typical, blind, prideful idiocy. You can continue to skate on your razor thin ice, or you can just admit that you were out of line. I don't care which, because your defense is so transparent it's really just a semantic game at this point.

riviera, you ignored everything I said, choosing instead to repeat yourself with different words. You're dumb and boring. I can't stand you, so bugger off.

I'm still waiting for your response, squirrel.
posted by David Dark at 3:06 PM on April 6, 2004


Looking at Germany, Japan, Iraq: A tale of three occupations

The Difference between Germany, Japan, and Iraq

John Dower: Bush's comparison of Iraq with postwar Japan ignores the facts (From LA Times)
posted by y2karl at 3:10 PM on April 6, 2004


A Pentagon source has said up to 130 US troops have been killed in fierce fighting in Iraq.

Unconfirmed. Let us hope it is a rumor. It will be a black day if it is true.

Agonist - from whence these three links come - post:

CNN is reporting breaking news at 3:30 pm CST. The Shiites have launched a major offensive throughout Iraq on Coalition forces. Situation is developing and details still breaking. This news comes from high level government sources.

CNN reports 4:05 CST that an unknown number of US Marines have been killed in Ramadi.

Per CNN 423 pm CST, a dozen US Marines have been killed in Ramadi and more than a dozen have been wounded.


Juan Cole:

I saw Senators Biden and Lugar on the Lehrer Newshour on Monday, and I think Senator Biden intimated an explanation for some of what is happening in Iraq. He said he thought there might be a power stuggle between the office of Vice President Dick Cheney and Colin Powell's State Department over Iraq policy.

Such a power struggle is plausible. When the Coalition Provisional Authority is dissolved on June 30, the Pentagon risks losing a great deal of influence in Iraq. The Department of Defense will still have troops, but US policy in Iraq will be executed by the Department of State through the huge embassy in Baghdad. The Department of Defense managed to retain control of the disbursement of the $18 bn. in reconstruction aid voted by Congress, which gives it continued power in Iraq, but Powell may be trying to get control of that money.

A crucial transition is only three months away. Yet we have no idea who the American ambassador will be. We have no idea to whom sovereignty will be passed exactly. We have no idea how the US will fight two guerrilla insurgencies in Iraq.

As I read him Biden is passing on what he has heard, that the reason for this gridlock is an internal power struggle within the Bush administration, which has paralyzed decision-making.

If so, it may be that certain forces within the administration took advantage of the lack of a clear reporting line to launch the assault on Muqtada al-Sadr, hoping to effect a fait accompli and forestalling any later State Department attempt to treat with him. If this interpretation is correct, the retreating Department of Defense may sow a lot of land mines for hapless State before June 30.

posted by y2karl at 3:26 PM on April 6, 2004


Any of you big talkers

That would be you, judging from the example just provided...
posted by y2karl at 3:39 PM on April 6, 2004


(bookmarks Juan Coles site)

good links karl, worthy of discussion.

"Gen. MacArthur, staunch Republican that he was, must be spinning in his grave."

Perhaps Swartzkopf would have made a better provisional authority leader then Bremer. We need to hand over control to Iraq as planned and quarter our troops until Iraq has her own army, and some sort of assurance it will not be unleashed on her own people and is able to defend herself from attack. Then we need to leave.
posted by clavdivs at 5:03 PM on April 6, 2004


Really, David Dark, the size of your penis doesn't concern me.
posted by riviera at 5:13 PM on April 6, 2004


I contacted Andrew Stern, the photographer for the article, who describes the situation as very hectic, describing the situation as a "major uprising". He has spotty Internet right now, but encourages everyone to check for more stories soon over at Naomi's website, http://nologo.org.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:27 PM on April 6, 2004


looking at those pics, and thinking of Klein makes me realize how Sadr and his followers are rebranding their areas.
posted by amberglow at 6:32 PM on April 6, 2004


Jesus. It sounds like it's all rapidly going to hell in a handbasket.

What burns my ass is that it's so unfair for American soldiers to lose their lives for Bush's crusade. What an asshole. No one needed a war in Iraq.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:56 PM on April 6, 2004


No one?
posted by squirrel at 4:00 PM on April 7, 2004


U.S. Increases Efforts to Put Down Sunni and Shiite Fighters

In the south, where the majority Shiites predominate, followers of a rebel cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, took over several towns, including Kut, where Ukrainian troops withdrew under pressure. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry in Kiev reported the pullout, which in effect ceded control of the city to Mr. Sadr's supporters.

The resistance even spread north of Baghdad to Hawija. American troops fired on a crowd protesting the attacks in Falluja. About eight Iraqis were reported killed...

An official in the occupation authority said Wednesday that allied and Iraqi security forces had lost control of the key southern cities of Najaf and Kufa to the Shiite militia, conceding that months of effort to win over the population with civil projects and promises of jobs have failed with segments of the population.


Some Allies Reconsider Their Occupation Roles

As a result, diplomatic strains have begun to emerge. On one hand, Britain -- whose 10,000 troops make up the largest foreign contingent in Iraq after the 135,000 or so U.S. troops here -- and Italy have made clear that they will continue to stand and fight. "It is unthinkable to flee the mission we have started. We would leave the country in chaos," Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said in a television interview Tuesday night.

On the other hand, many countries with smaller forces here have begun to raise questions about their future roles in the occupation. South Korea has ordered its personnel to suspend activities outside military camps. The Ukrainian government said its troops were evacuating Kut. Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov called an emergency meeting of top military officials on Wednesday to review the security of the Bulgarian soldiers in Iraq, the Associated Press reported. And the government of Kazakhstan announced that it would not extend its presence beyond May.


'In the Company of Soldiers': A Long Slog to Someplace

The coalition invasion force was less than half the size of the one that liberated Kuwait in 1991, because that was all that was needed to defeat Hussein's eviscerated services. But professional soldiers realized a lot more boots on the ground would be needed to maintain order once the dictator went down and the occupation (''the O-word'') began. The soldiers' concerns were ignored. The wishful assumptions of the Pentagon civilians about the after-war were just as wildly off base as their intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. ''The abrupt transition to anarchy was a disaster not only for Iraq but also for the United States,'' Atkinson writes. ''Pentagon planners in early May had predicted that U.S. troop levels would be down to 30,000 by late summer; instead, at Christmas the figure was 130,000 American soldiers in Iraq, with another 30,000 in Kuwait.''

So, after the victories of April, Petraeus and his soldiers spent another 10 months in and around Mosul, a troubled city north of Baghdad. In the field, you couldn't afford to indulge Washington's delusions about Iraqi gratitude, much less its ideological opposition to nation-building. ''I don't see how you avoid it,'' Petraeus says, and he proves to be far better than most at crushing insurgency and encouraging stability.


Some U.S. troops may stay longer in Iraq because of violence, Rumsfeld says

More U.S. troops could be sent to Iraq and other U.S. forces could stay longer than planned to deal with the latest surge in violence, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said.

While Rumsfeld insisted Wednesday that the fighting was not spinning out of control, his remarks were the clearest signal yet that U.S. officials were likely to increase the overall number of troops in Iraq nearly a year after President Bush declared major combat in the country completed.

posted by y2karl at 12:10 AM on April 8, 2004


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