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Sovreign Iraq, two days early
June 28, 2004 12:39 AM   Subscribe

It's all yours, boys. The US just announced the handover of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government, two days early. Paul Bremer has said that he'll be leaving the country soon. Is this truly the beginning of an independent Iraq, or is it simply making way for John Negroponte to be in charge?
posted by Dipsomaniac (130 comments total)

 
Ugh. Now every time Bush refers to the handover, he'll be able to say "accomplished ahead of schedule."
posted by scarabic at 12:50 AM on June 28, 2004


No military or even enough power last all day. Well, its going to be interesting to see how this plays out.
posted by skallas at 1:06 AM on June 28, 2004


Negroponte's reputation precedes him. He is one of the most slimy caracters from the amoral Reagan administration foreign policy. I don't believe his presence bodes well for the "freedom" of the Iraqis.
posted by sic at 1:16 AM on June 28, 2004


So what does this mean in terms of what the new Iraqi government can tell the coalition forces to do? Can they dictate strategy? Can they restrain them from bombing their own citizens?

Blair has already said that British troops will leave Iraq if asked to do so. Will the same apply to US troops?
posted by biffa at 1:43 AM on June 28, 2004


The US is not leaving. About 155.000 troops will be "supporting" the "efforts" of the new yes-men, while the US embassy in Baghdad, the largest in the world apparently, will be working out what these "efforts" should be. The Lebanisation of Iraq is a fact and everybody in the region is positioning themselves accordingly: the Kurds in the North in cuddles with the Israelis, while the Turks, allies to the Israelis since quite a few years ago now turn sour. The Iranians say they'll be stupid if they dropped their nuclear programme while surrounded by "democratic" armies. Ah! How wonderful democracy is! I wonder what the Syrians think.
posted by acrobat at 1:51 AM on June 28, 2004


Spiralling into chaos and disaster : business as usual.
posted by troutfishing at 2:09 AM on June 28, 2004


Mmmm...anarchalicious!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:29 AM on June 28, 2004


Seriously.
posted by majcher at 3:20 AM on June 28, 2004


Seriously, yes. Dead seriously.
posted by acrobat at 3:38 AM on June 28, 2004


This just proves what a liar that fat Michael Moore is!

Oh wait, no it doesn't.

Sorry.

Wrong thread.

But while I'm here, has anyone heard something about Ronald Reagan's health taking a turn for the worse?
posted by Outlawyr at 4:07 AM on June 28, 2004


Ugh. Now every time Bush refers to the handover, he'll be able to say "accomplished ahead of schedule."

That would be an interesting spin, considering that they did it two days early so that nobody would blow up the building.
posted by PrinceValium at 4:32 AM on June 28, 2004


That would be an interesting spin, considering that they did it two days early so that nobody would blow up the building.

It also doesn't hurt to downplay it, since the situation hasn't grown noticeably better since the "big date" was announced. In a campaign full of ambiguities, this was a definite date upon which everyone could fixate: things were supposed to be better at this exact point. Since things haven't gotten much better, it's a good idea for Bush to push the date up and just pass it off as a minor bureaucratic ceremony.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 5:10 AM on June 28, 2004


<iRaQ!> hey so who’s got ops in this channel? o_O
<USA> lol xo KTHXBYE!

Now every time Bush refers to the handover, he'll be able to say "accomplished ahead of schedule."
Oof. Good point, I'll be watching for that.
posted by mimi at 5:13 AM on June 28, 2004


Since things haven't gotten much better

What, since this morning?
posted by techgnollogic at 5:23 AM on June 28, 2004


I wish them luck. Iraq has a tough road ahead of them.
posted by a3matrix at 5:47 AM on June 28, 2004


from the william grider article down the mefi pade:

"Iyad Allawi, the newly appointed Prime Minister of Iraq, had supervised the CIA's terrorist bombing campaign in Baghdad a decade ago"
posted by aiq at 5:55 AM on June 28, 2004


He fought a guerilla war against Saddam Hussein! OOOO, SINISTER!
posted by techgnollogic at 6:03 AM on June 28, 2004


I'll bet good money this was done to try and thwart any bombing plans "terrorists" may have had for the 30th handover. My bet is they'll still go ahead with schedule.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:15 AM on June 28, 2004


We'll probably go ahead with our bombing terrorists plan as scheduled, too.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:18 AM on June 28, 2004


Considering the vacuous way that the Bush admin has been timing its *big* announcements and puffed up Ashcroft red alerts to divert attention from embarrasing events, I wouldn't be surprised if the speed-up was nothing more than a petty attempt to divert attention away from Fahrenheit 9/11. Also, I think they wanted to sneak Bremer out without any news cameras to compare his exit to the rooftop helicopter evacuation at the Vietnam bug-out.

I'm sure things are going to work out for the best, just as they did when we toppled governments in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Lebanon in 1957, Zaire in 1961, Chile in 1973...
posted by planetkyoto at 6:26 AM on June 28, 2004


Oh, come on, we've toppled more governments than that.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:35 AM on June 28, 2004


I wouldn't be surprised if the speed-up was nothing more than a petty attempt to divert attention away from Fahrenheit 9/11.

I'm not usually a fan of the dry deadpan style of humor, but that was funny funny stuff.
posted by dhoyt at 6:43 AM on June 28, 2004


dhoyt, you rat, you beat me to it. hahahahaha.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:51 AM on June 28, 2004


So you don't like it when the CPA is in charge and are cynical about power ever being transferred to Iraqis, and when they do exactly what they said they were going to do, you don't like it either, and take yet another opportunity to take potshots at the Bush administration. Great. Very productive. You can all shake hands and backslap that you're more clever than all and see right through these obvious machinations on the part of the UN, NATO, 40+ CPA countries, the US, the UK and the new Iraqi government. How about some serious, adult discussion of what's happening here instead of nonsense that has no relevance to the events that transpired today. Until someone posts links with irrefutable evidence that this transfer is bullshit, or whatever you folks are talking about, your speculation and conspiracy fantasies are as entertaining as saturday morning cartoons.

I'm not a bush-o-maniac, or whatever people are going to start calling me on here now, but please, this is a serious event, try to take it seriously for a moment.
posted by loquax at 6:52 AM on June 28, 2004


Also, what loquax said. Make all the jokes you want about the 101st Keyboarders. The flipside of that is a bunch of cynical contrarian tail-biting "activists" whose main "activity" is posting news to their own blog or coming here to spout ridiculous conspiracies like planetkyoto's and waxing sarcastic about a fairly monumentous event in Iraq. What Iraq needs now is the world's support, not your partisan whinging and kneejerk criticisms. It's ONLY BEEN A DAY.

Neither you or I has real insight on what the future will hold. But if Iraq does succeed it sure won't be founded on your neverending cynicism.
posted by dhoyt at 7:03 AM on June 28, 2004


What Iraq needs now is the world's support, not your partisan whinging and kneejerk criticisms. It's ONLY BEEN A DAY.

"We're doing whatever we want in Iraq. It'll be a cakewalk."

"Stop complaning about what's going on in Iraq. It's only been a week..."

"Stop complaining about what's going on in Iraq. It's only been a month..."

Neither you or I has real insight on what the future will hold.

Yeah, but I saw that "wait and see" line coming a mile away.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:16 AM on June 28, 2004


And I saw your cynicism & doomsaying before I even entered the thread.
posted by dhoyt at 7:23 AM on June 28, 2004


Preemptive handover. Smoooooth move.
posted by brownpau at 7:34 AM on June 28, 2004


What is it we need to wait and see exactly? Iraq is still incredibly dangerous and is in worse condition than when the US & chums invaded it. It has a massive occupying army which isn't under the control of the people who are supposedly running the country and there isn't any more of a plan for bringing the country under control as a result of the changeover. What is the new government going to be doing that the US administration wasn't already doing? The only likely difference is that the people getting the blame will now be Iraqis as well as Americans.
posted by biffa at 7:44 AM on June 28, 2004


I want to be a Keyboard Ranger,
Safe as sheep in a manger!

Keyboard!
Ranger!

posted by Mick at 8:02 AM on June 28, 2004


Neither you or I has real insight on what the future will hold.

I posted the names of *some* of the countries where the U.S. toppled the govt. (I should have also mentioned Mexico 1855) That's a track record that screams: "You suck at installing new governments since about 1776. Stop doing it."
I guess we should adopt a wait-and-see approach. Just wait, you'll see Iraq spiral into chaos (and guess wholliburton will profit from it all?)


posted by planetkyoto at 8:07 AM on June 28, 2004


Let's check out the Bush Report Card in Iraq. Let's see, why did we go there?

Find and destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction: Weren't any, F .

Destroy their terror network: Now it's stronger than ever, F

Foment Democracy: Incomplete
posted by prodigalsun at 8:11 AM on June 28, 2004


Until someone posts links with irrefutable evidence that this transfer is bullshit

Well, I suppose it depends on your definition of bullshit, but this "handover" certainly does not make Iraq unoccupied.

Many sceptics point out that - with 138,000 troops deployed in Iraq - the US will in effect remain an occupying power by another name.... In particular, [Iraqis] remain of the opinion that the IIG is a puppet government and they are no closer, or maybe only slightly closer, to running their own country.

Although the interim government will have "full sovereignty", according to a UN security council resolution on the handover earlier this month, there are significant constraints on its powers.

It is barred from making long-term policy decisions and will not have control over the 160,000 foreign troops who will remain in Iraq to help to restore order.


Also, the radio (either BBC or Morning Edition) this morning mentioned that the Iraqi interim government cannot change coalition edicts on things like tariffs (which effect what can be imported and what good are available to average Iraqis). I don't have time to find that link just now. But I found these links in about 10 seconds, so they're out there.
posted by dame at 8:14 AM on June 28, 2004


What Iraq needs now is the world's support

I fully support Iraq in its autonomous endeavours. Which is why I'm critical of the way the US government is handling things.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 8:31 AM on June 28, 2004


If Iraq is no longer occupied, then the US needs to conclude a Status of Forces Agreement with the newly sovereign government in order to make the continued presence legal; I wonder how those negotiations are going.
posted by norm at 8:35 AM on June 28, 2004


I'm sure things are going to work out for the best, just as they did when we toppled governments in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Lebanon in 1957, Zaire in 1961, Chile in 1973...

So let me get this straight, planetkyoto, the rebuilding of Iraq is nothing like Japan and Germany (and most of Europe after World War 2), but is everything like Iran, Guatemala, Lebanon, Zaire, Chile and Mexico, right?

Dame: What I meant by my comment is that too many people are blinded by their hatred of the Bush administration to acknowledge even the slightest positive step. Sure there will be troops there, sure Iraq cannot be labelled totally independent yet. But it will come, and this initial handover is the first step in that process. The next will be the elections by the end of 2005. Read the the UN resolution on Iraq's sovereignty, it's right there in plain English. Show me where the rest of the world is dealing with Iraq in bad faith. From reading this thread, I get the impression that people didn't even want this to happen. Well what's the alternative here? Would it be preferable for the US to pull out completely today? How about Iraq becomes the 51st state? And don't say the US should have never gone there in the first place. It happened. It's in the past. We've had many threads about it. Look forward. Why is this step so derided? Is there really nothing positive about this transfer of power?

Separate your loathing of Bush from your analysis of Iraq, I know it's hard, but Iraq will be there long after Bush is gone, either in 6 months or in another 4 years. There's room for hope and optimism for those people, more than there's been in generations. cynicism and cheap shots don't help anybody.

norm: they have stated that a SOFA to replace the current order 17 (which is essentially a SOFA) will be negotiated with an elected Iraqi government when that happens, sometime before the end of 2005.
posted by loquax at 8:39 AM on June 28, 2004


Until someone posts links with irrefutable evidence that this transfer is bullshit

Might I refer you to the link in the FPP to the name Negroponte?

Do you not know this man's history?

That data point alone makes the "handover" a cruel joke.

Mercenaries, the Young Republicans and the neocon Likudniks in DC will continue to run this show. Never doubt that or any conveniently timed campaign season rhetoric.

I am taking you at your word that you are not a Bush apologist even though your writings to this point indicate otherwise.
posted by nofundy at 8:40 AM on June 28, 2004


So, let me see. The Iraqis now totally control some 24 out of 28 government agencies, many of whom don't even have American advisors working in them anymore. They control all of their own oil revenues, foreign policy, and almost all domestic policy. There is strong wage inflation and foreign workers are being brought in for jobs that pay too little for Iraqis to do--already higher wages than are paid in most of the middle east or SE Asia. Their currency has already become one of the strongest in the region. Children are now paid $120US/month to clear the riverbanks of garbage.

A country twice the size of Idaho with four times the population of Los Angeles. A major initiative in Baghdad is traffic control--if you don't obey the law you may get a ticket from an Iraqi police officer. They also just opened Baghdad's first working sewage treatment plant in 20 years.
The 1AD is scheduled to go home to Germany on the 15th of July: bet they leave on time, unless some other country in the region decides to make trouble.

Most of the Imam's in the country, Shiite and Sunni, are now calling for the end of the "foreign-led" insurgency, after Zaqwari's last little indiscriminate car bombing media grab killed some 100 Iraqis, innocent men, women and children.

Jumping the gun on the official handover, which began in earnest well over a month ago, has now sucked the wind out of the sails of the local terrorists--any crimes now committed are *crimes*, not "military" acts, so they now will face Iraqi courts, Iraqi judges and Iraqi prisons, or Iraqi gallows, instead of becoming POWs.

New difficult-to-counterfeit passports will be issued soon, making it very problematic for troublesome foreigners to operate in country, and a nationwide census for election purposes, "voter registration", is being planned not just for the elections in January, but to make the Iraqi government more efficient.

Phone calls are almost free, and gasoline will remain $1 a gallon, but no longer subsidized by the US. Many other services, such as medicine and dentistry, will remain very cheap. 30 cents US to fill a tooth, for example. At least a quarter of a million Iraqi school children are now regularly going to school.

Iraq no longer exports refugees. In fact, large numbers of Iraqis are returning to their home country. NATO is planning to somehow train the Iraqi police and military to not just do their jobs, but to be better at it.

The Iraqi government was pleased to announce the arrest of several violent criminal gangs within the past week: a kidnapping/extortion gang with "external" ties; a large gasoline smuggling ring (to Syria), with 2 dozen loaded tankers; and a major criminal gang that had taken over an entire small town. All done without any US help at all.

Yep, still sounds like a quagmire to me. Any day now the whole country should descend into chaos. Just like LA. I expect there to be Iraqi film stars deploring the crisis any day now, and demanding that the government immediately ban the sale of fast food to Iraqi school children and stuff.
posted by kablam at 9:02 AM on June 28, 2004


nofundy, even if I was a "Bush apologist", it does not make my opinion any less valid. One's political position or background cannot be used against them in an argument, otherwise I'll sit here and accuse various other members of being Kerry apologists, or former members of the communist party, or whatever. If you have a problem with what I say, attack it, not my political leanings.

As for the handover, what, in lieu of the announcement today, would you have preferred? No handover? Continued CPA control? Handover without Negroponte (about whom, by the way, I agree with you)? Would you prefer that the Young Democrats and the liberal PLOists be running the show? Seriously, given all the possible outcomes, considering the current administration, is this really an event to be cynical about? How about some optimism for a change. How about contentment that the administration set the date for this event and stuck to it. I understand and agree with many of the complaints on how this campaign in Iraq has been run so far, but I really can't see how this is part of it.
posted by loquax at 9:03 AM on June 28, 2004


I didn't say it was a bad first step. You asked for proof that it was bullshit. I obliged. That's all. I'm a helper.
posted by dame at 9:04 AM on June 28, 2004


I am taking you at your word that you are not a Bush apologist even though your writings to this point indicate otherwise.

Sidenote: Trying to paint someone as an "apologist" simply because they're not bottomlessly critical of the bastard in question is perhaps the oldest, laziest and shallowest rhetorical tactic in the book. This is not a one-dimensional good v. evil equation, nofundy, no matter how often you—and Bush—portray it to be.
posted by dhoyt at 9:04 AM on June 28, 2004


they have stated that a SOFA to replace the current order 17 (which is essentially a SOFA) will be negotiated with an elected Iraqi government when that happens, sometime before the end of 2005.

I guess that puts the lie to "full restoration of sovereignty." How disappointing, I was hoping they'd think it was an urgent diplomatic concern to impose some modicum of legality to the occupation, but I guess if domestic and international law hasn't been a problem yet in this adventure, no need to worry about it now.
posted by norm at 9:05 AM on June 28, 2004


Whew. Glad thats over.

Ok, what country should we go liberate next since we're on a roll here?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:06 AM on June 28, 2004


Probably Iran, since they must feel pretty uncomfortable stuck between Iraq and Afghanistan right now. It'll be nice to have three in a row.
posted by brownpau at 9:17 AM on June 28, 2004


So you don't like it when the CPA is in charge and are cynical about power ever being transferred to Iraqis, and when they do exactly what they said they were going to do, you don't like it either, and take yet another opportunity to take potshots at the Bush administration.

Oh, right, I forgot that the CIA isn't in charge now, since they "handed over" all the "power" to the "Iraqis."
posted by The God Complex at 9:18 AM on June 28, 2004


So let me get this straight, planetkyoto, the rebuilding of Iraq is nothing like Japan and Germany (and most of Europe after World War 2), but is everything like Iran, Guatemala, Lebanon, Zaire, Chile and Mexico, right?


It's not like any of them, but least of all like the post-world war II reconstruction of Japan and Germany (and the rest of Europe), for many reasons, the biggest of which is that in that scenario HOSTILITIES HAD CEASED. Not the case in Iraq, where there is still a large number of hostiles, various groups in fact, actively fighting against the US Occupation. Another difference is the looting of natural resources that is happening in Iraq (was it Perle or Wolfowitz that talked about Iraq "floating on a sea of oil" as the reason we were at war there and not in N. Korea?) was not happenning in Germany or Japan. In those cases the idea was to rebuild those countries so that they could be trading partners. In Iraq it is a no-holds barred mugging of the Iraqi people.

The complaint on the handover Loquax, is not in the concept, but in the execution. The US maintains it's occupying force, "immune" to intenational prosecution for possible war crimes (like say, torture), Halliburton keeps control of the Oil and the de facto adminstrative power lies in the hands of a total scumbag like Negroponte. A more equitable handover would see the complete removal of all US troops, to be replaced by a UN-led peace keeping force comprised of muslim nations. Halliburton would hand over the oil to the Iraqis as well.

That I wouldn't criticize.
posted by sic at 9:20 AM on June 28, 2004


the neocon Likudniks in DC will continue to run this show

Well well, the Jews run the world yet again. Time for another cleansing? You should post a link from jewwatch, or something, to "support" your claim.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:22 AM on June 28, 2004


Sic, my complaint is that there are pretty much three opinions one can hold on this matter: It will make things better for Iraqis, worse for Iraqis, or leave things unchanged. I don't disagree with the concept that things could be done better. They always can. They can also be done worse. All things considered, however, this has to be viewed as making things better.

I have no problem with your analysis, sic, although I happen to disagree with it. What I have a problem with are comments that ignore any position other than the anti-Bush position, which is proffered with great zeal and flippant remarks.

Honestly, in terms of handing over power, I don't the the Iraqi government or people are ready after 30 odd years of totalitarian control. Ideally, I think that if the US and UN had a free hand, and could raise the standard of living in Iraq to that of say, Minnesota over the next ten or twenty years with the full co-operation of the Iraqi people, it would be fantastic for the entire world. Of course, I acknowledge that it isn't possible to do that, for a variety of reasons. I also acknowledge the political, cultural and logistical realities in Iraq that preclude the US from maintaining a heavy and obvious involvement. All things considered, I think this is a positive first step at the right time given all the circumstances, even though it would not be the way I envision things happening in a perfect world.

Disagree with me if you like, that's fine, but that's not my point. It seems to me that too many people on both sides are stuck in their own personal utopia, and refuse to acknowledge positive if flawed aspects of anything less. This is a problem in reality, and it's a problem in rational discourse. I think this handover is deeply flawed, for my own reasons, but I can still see the practical necessity of it, and the positive result that has the potential to grow from it.
posted by loquax at 10:00 AM on June 28, 2004


some iraqis seem to think things aren't all that bad.
but then, what do they know, being iraqis and all.
posted by bokononito at 10:05 AM on June 28, 2004


He fought a guerilla war against Saddam Hussein! OOOO, SINISTER!

He was a Baathist thug until he fell out with Saddam and started fighting him. I take it you haven't actually read the must-read Seymour Hersh articles in the New Yorker. If you don't want to do any lengthy reading, here's a quick reference; the relevant bit:
Ayad Alawi "was born in Baghdad in 1946 into a wealthy Shiite family of prominent business leaders." As a "young man", Allawi joined the Baath Party after it "gained control of Iraq" and "organized party meetings at his medical school. He left Baghdad for advanced medical studies in London in 1971, eventually becoming a neurologist." It is reported that "Dr. Alawi occasionally treated young Saddam Hussein for minor ailments."

Allawi, before his 1976 resignation from the Baath Party, "was in charge of all Baath Party organizations in Europe." Following his resignation, "Hussein tried to lure him back with threats and bribes. When he refused and subsequently struck up a relationship with the British intelligence service (MI6), he was reportedly placed on a liquidation list by Hussein."

"Iraqi secret police were sent to assassinate Allawi in London in 1978, bursting into his bedroom and hacking him with an ax. He suffered serious injuries and spent nearly a year in a hospital. He continues to walk with a limp because of injuries to his leg suffered in the attack."

The attack on his life helped persuade Allawi in 1979 to begin "organizing former Baathists in exile, like himself. ... And after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, suddenly Mr. Alawi and his organization were in great demand. Financial support flowed in from Britain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and, eventually, the CIA. That year he founded the Iraqi National Accord."

"After shuttling between Kurdish areas, Syria and Jordan, Allawi, who has good ties with Washington, settled in London. INA is made up mostly of defectors from the military and intelligence services, and belongs to the Group of Four."
So there you have it. Like Saddam a few years ago, he's a thug but he's our thug. Hooray!
posted by languagehat at 10:13 AM on June 28, 2004


loquax, why is it that you and kablam haven't posted any links backing up your statements, while the rest of us have?
Prove that the Iraqis have any power at all. Any at all.

Show me where any iraqi ministry has any power over budgets, allocation of resources, creation of laws or policy, etc... any of you. I've posted links proving this "handover" is a complete sham... let's see some or any from you guys. And cut the bullshit about Iraqis not being ready for governance--it was a modern, secular country with many functioning ministries, departments and bureaus--now there's only us, controlling everything, especially the pursestrings.
posted by amberglow at 10:19 AM on June 28, 2004


From today's Washington Post:
U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer has issued a raft of edicts revising Iraq's legal code and has appointed at least two dozen Iraqis to government jobs with multi-year terms in an attempt to promote his concepts of governance long after the planned handover of political authority on Wednesday.

Some of the orders signed by Bremer, which will remain in effect unless overturned by Iraq's interim government, restrict the power of the interim government and impose U.S.-crafted rules for the country's democratic transition. Among the most controversial orders is the enactment of an elections law that gives a seven-member commission the power to disqualify political parties and any of the candidates they support.

The effect of other regulations could last much longer. Bremer has ordered that the national security adviser and the national intelligence chief chosen by the interim prime minister he selected, Ayad Allawi, be given five-year terms, imposing Allawi's choices on the elected government that is to take over next year.
From the Associated Press, May 3, 2004:
In Fallujah, U.S. military leaders say around 90 percent of the 1,000 or more fighters battling the Marines are Iraqis. To date, there have been no confirmed U.S. captures of foreign fighters in Fallujah - although a handful of suspects have been arrested. Elsewhere in Iraq, U.S. military commanders say foreigners have an even smaller role in the insurgency.

In Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey has said foreigners account for just 1 percent or so of guerrillas. Of 8,000 guerrilla suspects jailed across Iraq, only 127 hold foreign passports, the U.S. military said.

In the south, no one has suggested that foreigners pack the ranks of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army. The group, which has fought U.S. and allied troops across southern Iraq, is made up of Shiite Muslim radicals, many of whom hail from the slums of Baghdad.

In March, Dempsey called the idea that foreign fighters were flooding Iraq "a misconception."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:27 AM on June 28, 2004


amberglow, I wasn't arguing with you here. Re-read my comments in this thread. I'm arguing with knee-jerk anti-Bush comments that overshadow the realities in Iraq.

I'm also not saying that Iraq's sovereignty is total and complete. In fact, as all the links provided here show, it is not. Nor did anyone claim that it would be complete, despite whatever misunderstandings on the part of some may have occurred. This is but the first step, and a necessary one before elections are held within 18 months. Look it up! It's going to happen! Again, would you prefer that this "limited" handover not take place at all?

I also don't know how you can claim that you've "proven" anything, particularly that this handover is a sham. That would all depend on what your definition of sham is. If you want to think it's a sham, be my guest. We obviously think very differently in this matter. But please, your links "prove" nothing, they simply demonstrate certain facts and opinions that you've co-opted into a condemnation of this handover of power based on your own personal criteria of success. Even the links provided by you don't claim anything as radical as you do, they talk of "doubt", "questions" and "uncertainty". I'm glad that you can take that and formulate it into a proof. You want a link showing what power Iraq will have? Fine, I'll post the link to my comment in your thread linking the UN resolution again: here. There does that prove Iraqi is sovereign?

And as for the bullshit about Iraqis not being ready, fine, disagree. All of these arguments are of the nature that no-one can win, or prove, or do anything with them beyond discuss them. But if you want to say that an AP or NYT link proves something, I point you to bokononito's comment. I guess that proves you wrong too, right?
posted by loquax at 10:48 AM on June 28, 2004


1) Pointing out someone appears to be an apologist is in no way a shallow, lazy rhetorical "trick" dhoyt. Just an observation that is easily substantiated. And thanks for your own little slur of my character. I love you too.

2) the neocon Likudniks in DC will continue to run this show

Well well, the Jews run the world yet again. Time for another cleansing? You should post a link from jewwatch, or something, to "support" your claim.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:22 AM PST on June 28


Talk about a lazy, rhetorical trick! Try using the entire, and accurate, quote. None of the bad actors involved would frown at being called neocon Likudniks (they chose the appellation) so you know where you can stick it!

3) As for the handover, what, in lieu of the announcement today, would you have preferred? No handover? Continued CPA control? Handover without Negroponte?

#Total withdrawal of US troops to be replaced with UN peacekeepers for starters.
#All puppet appointees of the CPA (the Baghdad branch of the GOP) to be immediately unemployed next.
#Handover without Negroponte, or any other bad actor like him.
#Termination of all sole source or CPA contracts, especially of those to politically connected US corporations.
#Immediate removal of all mercenaries.
#True sovereignty for Iraq, not a GOP corporate shell made to appear so.

Sound like something better?

Changing hands from one puppeteer to another will not improve things. Iraqis are not stupid and will not be so easily tricked with such simplistic sleight-of-hand. The violence will continue until we deal honestly with the Iraqi people and get our soldiers out of their country. It was wrong to invade and kill tens of thousands and no amount of spin can fix the distrust. The US has lost all legitimacy in the MidEast, as well as most of the rest of the world thanks to the crooks now in charge.
posted by nofundy at 11:00 AM on June 28, 2004


"Although he is secular, he reportedly has the support of the country's top Shiite cleric (Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani) [which is key because Shiites make up a majority of the population], and he has served as the Governing Council's point man on security issues."

So, the grand Ayatollah supports "thugs"?
posted by clavdivs at 11:05 AM on June 28, 2004


~cheer~

From hearing from the glorious 101st Keyboarders, you'd swear it's an historic, grand day in Iraq. Almost July-4-esque, no?

Why, let's get right to our mailbag to hear about the happy fireworks-and- bells-tolling-freedom festival that is breaking out across Iraq today. Yeah, why don't we have a "a serious, adult discussion of what's happening here" instead of the "Mission Accomplished!" cheerleading from

From the "They'll Welcome Us With Flowers and Open Arms" Department: Iraq's defence minister said yesterday he had drafted drastic measures to deal with unrest in Baghdad and was considering imposing a state of emergency in parts of the violence-wracked country.

"We have an urgent plan for Baghdad and also for a state of emergency for other provinces," Hazim al-Shaalan told a press conference, without saying what either measure would involve.

It was the first time any official has named an area where emergency measures would be used.

Some form of martial law looks increasingly likely in at least parts of Iraq after its caretaker government takes power on June 30. The country has remained dangerously unstable since the US-led invasion last year.


From the "How'd We Get Into This Quagmire, Again?" Department: The great handoff takes place....not a moment too soon for the beleaguered and, it now seems, panicky Bush administration. On that great hallelujah morning, sovereignty, like a live hand grenade, will pass from the American occupiers to the new interim Iraqi government.

There's no sign anyone sensible can detect that suggests the Iraqis are up to the task of taming the terrorists, restoring order in the streets, keeping the oil pipelines secure, rebuilding the country and providing enough employment to quell unrest and soak up the idle and unemployed who serve as recruits for the militants. Hell, we couldn't do it; how can we expect them to pull it off.

The answer is, we don't, not really. This premature transfer of sovereignty is designed not so much to stem the rising tide of opposition in Iraq as to stem the rising tide of opposition in this country.

George W. Bush is hanging onto the presidency by his fingernails, and all because of Iraq. It didn't have to be that way. Had he not bought into the grandiose and poorly thought-out plans of his Pentagon neocons (Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle) and their White House enabler, Vice President Dick Cheney -- had he listened to father, from all accounts -- Bush would be coasting to re-election.

Instead, his poll numbers are in free-fall, driven downward by the most unrelenting barrage of bad news generated by the Iraq adventure any president has experienced since ... well ... how about Lyndon Johnson as the country turned against the Vietnam War at the end of the 1960s.

The news from Iraq is worse than ever. Government ministers, local officials and Iraqi police officers are murdered in broad daylight. American troop convoys are ambushed at roadsides. Foreign civilians are taken hostage and beheaded on an almost weekly basis. Ahmed Chalabi, the Bushies' first choice to head the new democratic Iraq, is exposed as a double agent for Iran and a blatant liar about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Oil pipelines are regularly sabotaged. And control of Fallujah, in the mutinous Sunni triangle, is ceded without a fight to the jihadi militants.


From the "Our Quagmire is Better Than Saddam's Quagmire Department":Second-grader Ali Talmasan Qassim sobbed as he sat beneath a palm tree outside a hospital, nursing a gunshot wound in his arm. A few miles away, the body of a young woman in a black chador lay in a pool of blood near a smoldering car.

Parts of her face were missing, but her eyes were wide open.

These are two of the many civilian victims of widespread violence Thursday in several cities in Iraq, starting with insurgent attacks that sparked heavy battles between militants and U.S. and Iraqi troops. Dozens of Iraqis were killed and hundreds wounded.

Seven-year-old Qassim and the unidentified woman embody a danger that has stalked civilians here for more than a year of American occupation: The peril of getting caught in the crossfire.

A total of 1,258 Iraqis were killed across this Arab nation between May 4 and June 17, according to a Health Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity. During the same period, 4,317 Iraqis were wounded.


From the "Hearts and Minds" Department: The night before this mission, one soldier reflected bitterly on all those months of "cultural training" he received back at Fort Hood, Texas, before deploying in April.

"Cultural training takes 10 seconds," he said: "The Iraqis hate us. They want to kill us. That's all you need to know."

Such sentiments are now commonplace among the rank-and-file troops the Star surveyed during visits to three U.S.-led coalition bases in and around the Iraqi capital this week. Take the temperature of the average soldier, and you will find it high with frustration.

Yesterday's CNN/USA Today poll showing an unprecedented 54 per cent of Americans now believe the invasion of Iraq was a mistake underscores the sense that those now "in-country" are trapped in an assignment that may bring them no glory.


From the "You Naysayers and Quagmire-mongers Never Tell How Much Better the Country is Under Our Benevolent Rule" Department: The mixed messages echo in the experiences of soldiers from the 1st AD, as the division is known, who next month will leave an Iraq more violent than it was when they arrived 15 months ago. The battles revealed lessons about their enemy and themselves, and about the unpredictable winds of history in Iraq.

"This was what we expected when we first got here, not at the end," said Sgt. Jacob Garcia, 34, of Corpus Christi, Tex. "The fighting should have gone from heavy to light."


From the "Why, We're Just Smiling DoGooders In IraqNam, Opening Schools, Handing Over Control...." Department: Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey is one of an increasing number of US Army veterans and families speaking out about the actions of the occupation forces in Iraq....

"I would say my platoon alone killed 30-plus innocent civilians," he said.

"It’s the intelligence reports that led to mass hysteria and the kind of genocidal type of atmosphere that was prevalent. And that’s what it felt like, like we were just mass exterminating Iraqis.

"It was like turning a bunch of pit bulls loose on a cage full of rabbits."


From the "Everything is Under Control In The Quagmire" Department: In his confirmation hearing before the US Senate on Thursday, General George Casey - who will soon take over as the commander of coalition forces - said the US Central Command was planning for an increase in troop numbers in the face of the growing challenge.

'The insurgency is much stronger than I certainly would have anticipated,' he told the senators.

According to CNN, as many 6,500 Army Reserve soldiers could soon be heading to Iraq.


From the "Bush's Brilliant Reverse Domino Theory" Department: "The insurgents have no intention of laying down their arms. Indeed, the nature of the insurgency in Iraq is fundamentally changing. Time reported last fall that the insurgency was being led by members of the former Baathist regime, who were using guerrilla tactics in an effort to drive out foreign occupiers and reclaim power. But a Time investigation of the insurgency today—based on meetings with insurgents, tribal leaders, religious clerics and U.S. intelligence officials—reveals that the militants are turning the resistance into an international jihadist movement. Foreign fighters, once estranged from homegrown guerrilla groups, are now integrated as cells or complete units with Iraqis. Many of Saddam's former secret police and Republican Guard officers, who two years ago were drinking and whoring, no longer dare even smoke cigarettes. They are fighting for Allah, they say, and true jihadis reject such earthly indulgences.

Their goal now, say the militants interviewed, is broader than simply forcing the U.S. to leave. They want to transform Iraq into what Afghanistan was in the 1980s: a training ground for young jihadists who will form the next wave of recruits for al-Qaeda and like-minded groups.


From the "We Did The Right Thing No Matter The Cost in Human Lives" Department: The occupation of Iraq has increasingly undermined, and in some cases discredited, the core tenets of President Bush's foreign policy, according to a wide range of Republican and Democratic analysts and U.S. officials.

When the war began 15 months ago, the president's Iraq policy rested on four broad principles: The United States should act preemptively to prevent strikes on U.S. targets. Washington should be willing to act unilaterally, alone or with a select coalition, when the United Nations or allies balk. Iraq was the next cornerstone in the global war on terrorism. And Baghdad's transformation into a new democracy would spark regionwide change.

But these central planks of Bush doctrine have been tainted by spiraling violence, limited reconstruction, failure to find weapons of mass destruction or prove Iraq's ties to al Qaeda, and mounting Arab disillusionment with U.S. leadership.

"Of the four principles, three have failed, and the fourth -- democracy promotion -- is hanging by a sliver," said Geoffrey Kemp, a National Security Council staff member in the Reagan administration and now director of regional strategic programs at the Nixon Center.

The overall impact of policy challenges in Iraq, analysts say, is that the Bush White House has been forced back to the policy center or scaled back the scope of its goals. They cite the president's appeal for NATO assistance and cutbacks in the democracy initiative.

"It's a lesson in hubris," Carpenter said. "The administration thought it had all the answers, but it found out through painful experience that it did not."


From the "We Hate it That Those Unpatriotic Pacifists Were Right Again" Department: The planned transfer Wednesday of limited sovereignty from the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority to an interim Iraqi government occurs with U.S. influence around the world at a low point and insurgent violence in Iraq reaching new heights of deadliness and coordination. Important Arab leaders this month rejected a U.S. invitation to attend a summit with leaders of industrialized nations. The enmity between Israelis and Palestinians is fiercer than ever, their hope for peace dimmer. Residents of the Middle East see the U.S. not as a friend but as an imperial power bent on securing a guaranteed oil supply and a base for U.S. forces. Much of the rest of the world sees a bully.

All the main justifications for the invasion offered beforehand by the Bush administration and its supporters — weapons of mass destruction, close ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq, a chance to make Baghdad a fountain of democracy that would spread through the region — turned out to be baseless.

Weeks of suicide car bombings, assassinations of political leaders and attacks on oil pipelines vital to the country's economy have preceded the handover.

On Thursday alone, car bombs and street fighting in five cities claimed more than 100 lives. Iraqis no longer fear torture or death at the hands of Hussein's brutal thugs, but many fear leaving their homes because of the violence.

The U.S. is also poorer after the war, in lives lost, billions spent and terrorists given new fuel for their rage. The initial fighting was easy; the occupation has been a disaster, with Pentagon civilians arrogantly ignoring expert advice on the difficulty of the task and necessary steps for success.

Two iconic pictures from Iraq balance the good and the dreadful — the toppling of Hussein's statue and a prisoner crawling on the floor at Abu Ghraib prison with a leash around his neck. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in May 2003 to a hero's welcome and a banner declaring "Mission Accomplished."

A year later, more than 90% of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave their country. The president boasted in July that if Iraqi resistance fighters thought they could attack U.S. forces, "bring them on." Since then, more than 400 personnel have been killed by hostile fire....

It will take years for widely felt hostility to ebb, in Iraq and other countries. The consequences of arrogance, accompanied by certitude that the world's most powerful military can cure all ills, should be burned into Americans' memory banks.


From the "Glorious Fruits of Liberation for the Liberators" Department: McCaffrey invited the media to photograph the casket of her only child, who was the manager of a Silicon Valley collision repair company. He was married, had two children and had enlisted soon after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Patrick, his mother said, had grown deeply disillusioned about the war.

"He was really, really disappointed and hurt about the way Americans and Europeans were treated" in Iraq, McCaffrey said. When he called home, every two days, he also said he was ashamed by the allegations that American troops abused Iraqi prisoners.

"He said we had no business in Iraq and should not be there," McCaffrey told The Times in another interview, shortly after her son's death. "Even so, he wanted to be a good soldier."

On the eve of the war in Iraq, the Pentagon ordered all bases to adhere to a 2000 ban barring the photographing of caskets of soldiers killed overseas.

posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:08 AM on June 28, 2004


loquax, why is it that you and kablam haven't posted any links backing up your statements, while the rest of us have?

Please, amberglow. I think they were much too busy having a "serious, adult discussion of what's happening here" to come up with anything beside their own opinion. Actual links and facts instead of their own opinion would have eaten into their "serious adult discussion" waaaaay too much.

Trying to paint someone as an "apologist" simply because they're not bottomlessly critical of the bastard in question is perhaps the oldest, laziest and shallowest rhetorical tactic in the book.

'Course, dhoyt, it wouldn't be as old and lazy and shallow and also gutless and hypocritical as painting people "a bunch of cynical contrarian tail-biting 'activists' spouting ridiculous conspiracy theories" (because they're not bottomlessly accepting of the bastard in question), and then whining about someone using the accurate term "apologist".

Right?

~wink~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:09 AM on June 28, 2004


"this is a serious event, try to take it seriously for a moment."

No. it isn't. It's a symbolic event. Since the Iraqi government was formed under threat of U.S. veto, and they have no control over the army in their country, and without said army they'd fall in a few hours, this is a puppet government. We aren't creating a country in the German or Japan mold. We're creating one in the Iran mold.

If Israel is bad, just wait till Iraq gets rolling. And it will be our fault. We've traded a toothless and contained Saddam for a broadening quagmire.

We've taken a bad situation and made it worse. Handing over token power to a government which can't maintain itself is symbolic. It's only importance is it's audacity as a lie.

"Separate your loathing of Bush from your analysis of Iraq"

Why? GWB = Iraq invasion. The two are joined at the hip. He entered the presidential office with task #1 being the Iraq invasion. When he leaves the Iraq invasion will be the thing he's remembered for most.

Meanwhile, problems in the U.S. are ignored and go unfunded as revenue drops and spending rises.

Handover? I really don't give a rat's ass. But I can only say that since I'm numb to the lies at this point.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:10 AM on June 28, 2004


#Total withdrawal of US troops to be replaced with UN peacekeepers for starters.

There aren't enough UN peacekeepers. No other country or organization can bring the resources that the US can. That's just a fact of life.

#All puppet appointees of the CPA (the Baghdad branch of the GOP) to be immediately unemployed next.

This could happen in just a few months!

#Handover without Negroponte, or any other bad actor like him.

Agreed. This was stupid. I don't understand why him.

#Termination of all sole source or CPA contracts, especially of those to politically connected US corporations.

To be replaced by? Politically connected French and German companies? This is also a fact of life, unfortunately.

#Immediate removal of all mercenaries.

Sure, whatever that means.

#True sovereignty for Iraq, not a GOP corporate shell made to appear so.


What is the definition of true sovereignty? Read the thread that amberglow linked to. Read the UN resolution. The definition of sovereignty thrown about means nothing in reality. sovereignty for Iraq in terms of the sovereignty that all countries possess will come, asking for it just over a year after the war began is too much, even if you disagreed with the war in the first place.

That the invasion was wrong is a different discussion for a different time. Given that it happened, and given the current circumstances, what you ask for is unreasonable and unrealistic. The UN has decided on a middle ground, no immediate total and complete pull out, but no total control either (read the resolution). This is part of Iraq's transition from totalitarian police state to intended functional democracy. Will it come to pass? Who knows. The former communist dictatorships of Europe are still struggling with capitalism and democracy, many old communist parties have won elections. But things are gradually improving 15 odd years later. Iraq is, of course, different, but this handover, symbolic or otherwise is one of the steps towards that improvement, to be followed by many more.

As for links and facts, frankly, what I write is only my opinion. I don't think I've stated any "facts" without attribution, and if I have, please, feel free to refute them. I'm not so arrogant as to presume that a few minutes of googling and selective inclusion of articles and other opinions amounts to any kind of proof. If I find something notable, I'll post it for sure. But until then, please, treat what I write as my opinion. If we're not here to discuss opinions, that I'm not sure what we're all blathering on about.
posted by loquax at 11:19 AM on June 28, 2004


Great, this'll free up all our forces so that we can fight the Global War on Terrorism.

Right?

Riiight?!?
posted by moonbiter at 11:21 AM on June 28, 2004


Here's another link (G&M via AP), by the way:

The Arab world voiced cautious optimism but maintained calls for the U.S. military also to leave the country quickly.

Although the interim government will have full sovereignty, it will operate under major restrictions — some of them imposed at the urging of the influential Shia clergy, which sought to limit the powers of an unelected administration.

the interim government will hold power only seven months until, as directed by a United Nations Security Council resolution, there must be elections "in no case later than" Jan. 31

Asked why the new government decided to hold the transfer earlier, he said Mr. Allawi had indicated that his ministries were already fully staffed.

"Allawi said we are ready to take this all over ... it is part of our security strategy ... to have Iraqi officials be held accountable by Iraqis," the official said.

posted by loquax at 11:30 AM on June 28, 2004


"That the invasion was wrong is a different discussion for a different time."

No. It's not. That would be a diversionary tactic. Bush & Co are still working under the same incorrect assertions that led to the invasion. Until we admit we were wrong we'll have no hope of fixing things.

And it's not just that the invasion was wrong. Add to that the idea that they'd welcome us. And that removing Saddam would make us safer. And that we'd need 60K troops to maintain order. And that it would only cost $60 billion.

We were so wildly wrong that all things need a very critical eye until we manage to do more things right than wrong. We aren't there yet.

What the hell are you even getting at? We should ignore the BS so that we can concentrate on this one event? How can this one event play out well if all the premises are wrong?

The band which is playing amid the ruins is sad irony, not reason to celebrate.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:43 AM on June 28, 2004


I'm also not saying that Iraq's sovereignty is total and complete. In fact, as all the links provided here show, it is not. Nor did anyone claim that it would be complete, despite whatever misunderstandings on the part of some may have occurred.

"our coalition will transfer full sovereignty to a government of Iraqi citizens who will prepare the way for national elections...This interim government will exercise full sovereignty until national elections are held." George Bush, May 24, 2004

"'We want there to be a complete and real transfer of sovereignty,' Bush said." May 25, 2004

"I told [Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen] that our government and our coalition will transfer full sovereignty, complete and full sovereignty to an Iraqi government" picked by special UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, the president said. "He said, 'Do you mean full sovereignty?' I said, 'I mean full sovereignty,'" Mr Bush added as the two leaders made brief remarks in the White House Rose Garden. May 28, 2004
posted by kirkaracha at 11:49 AM on June 28, 2004


U.S. Edicts Curb Power Of Iraq's Leadership
posted by homunculus at 11:54 AM on June 28, 2004


I'd like to state for the record that, while I don't agree with most of his/her points, loquax is generally presenting a reasoned position, and we should keep the tone respectful.

That said, expressing one's belief that this hand-over is largely a sham is not the same thing as piling on the conservatives. Any involvement by someone with such a history of obfuscating of human rights abuses makes me pretty uncomfortable. And it's hard to argue that the US has a very good track record of taking a hands-off approach to a sovereign nation once the hostilities are over.

I think there's room for some skepticism here.
posted by Fenriss at 12:01 PM on June 28, 2004


... and having read the above WP article, it sounds like Bremer's had a pretty heavy hand in designing every aspect of this new leadership. I don't really see where this is Iraqi Freedom.
posted by Fenriss at 12:08 PM on June 28, 2004


What the hell are you even getting at? We should ignore the BS so that we can concentrate on this one event? How can this one event play out well if all the premises are wrong?

No, I'm saying what's done is done. How do you look forward and address the issues of today, not March 2003. The entire political landscape has changed since then: The UN has become involved as well as NATO, there is now an Iraqi government, security is a very serious and unresolved issue, but large scale battles are not. Money is flowing into Iraq, from foreign aid, oil, and corporations. Given this, and even given what you stated about the initial premises, how can the rebuilding of Iraq best proceed in a realistic and rational fashion? Wanting to pull all the troops and do this or that with mercenaries is unrealistic and beside the point. In order to find the solution to a problem you must work within the current framework and restrictions of the problem. To cry foul and propose idealistic and thoroughly impossible strategies is wasted effort, helps no one, and can do more harm than good. A year from now, if Kerry is in power and things are very different in Iraq, the nature of the problem will be different again, and call for different solutions. But you can't just claim that the war sucked, and nothing that comes of it will be any good, ever. That's the geopolitical equivalent of shirking responsibility and sticking your head in the sand.

kirkaracha: You're right, Bush did say those things, but by the strictly literal interpretation of the resolution, he's absolutely right. Full sovereignty has been passed to the Iraqi government. Again, read the resolution. In practice, of course, it will be difficult for the interim government to change the interim constitution or repeal some CPA laws, but they could if they really wanted to. And they could kick out the Americans if they really wanted to. And all of this will be made even more clear and simple when an elected government comes to power by January 31st 2005 according to plan.

Fenriss: Thanks. I agree that there's always room for skepticism (like about Negroponte). I just also think there's room for optimism. Also, I didn't mean to imply that there was an anti-conservative mefite pile on going on this thread, only that initially (but no longer), I felt that many of the comments were reflexively anti-bush rather than actual independent thought. I do think this thread has been quite civil and "adult" (that was for you foldy, ~wink~!).
posted by loquax at 12:10 PM on June 28, 2004


So, the grand Ayatollah supports "thugs"?

Yes, of course. The grand ayatollahs (aka mujtahids) have always been politicians as well as religious leaders, and they support whoever it seems to make tactical sense to support. A number of them supported Saddam back in the day, and need I remind you of Khomeini's entire batallions of thugs? Like the Aga Khan or the medieval popes, they're a mixture of the saintly and the all too worldly.
posted by languagehat at 12:15 PM on June 28, 2004


Jesus, foldy, what'd you think this was gonna be, a cakewalk?
posted by techgnollogic at 12:38 PM on June 28, 2004


I really hope some good will come out of this entire mess, and I think there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful, princple among them that the Iraqis have the will and desire to live in a good country, and given the chance they will create one, I think.

However I will not, after all this, give GW more credit then he is due, which is not that much because the whole thing was handled very badly.
posted by chaz at 1:08 PM on June 28, 2004


Joke time!

Question: How can you tell the difference between Paul Bremer and U.S. soldiers on the flight home?

Answer: He's the only one going home early without an I.V. drip.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:13 PM on June 28, 2004


Heh.
posted by Fenriss at 1:38 PM on June 28, 2004


"In order to find the solution to a problem you must work within the current framework and restrictions of the problem."

This is the point where you are either wrong, or disingenuous, or naive. For me this always translates as "stay the course". Which I see as a road to failure, if not disaster.

I think the framework we need to work within is the one where we admit:

1) Things are getting worse by the day.
2) Given the Iraqis' record of policing/security they won't be able to step up.
3) Costs in terms of troops and money are growing.
4) Terrorist recruitment is up. Hatred and distrust in the region remains high.
5) U.S. resolve is starting to fade.

These are the hard realities. And without embracing them I don't think we'll be able to turn things around.

Let me say that another way. We need to change course, not stay the course. Because an optimistic course designed mainly to meet symbolic milestones is just not working.

We need to work within the current framework? Um? Duh? We also need to account for gravity and such. The issue isn't whether we need to work with the restrictions of the problem. That's a truism which doesn't relate to anything, While at the same time relating to anything. It's rhetorically meaningless. So it doesn't surprise me that Bush supporters keeping printing it on banners and parading down the street with it.

We have no exit strategy. We have no response to the escalating violence. We have nothing beyond the discredited plan we had 15 months ago.

Let's just ask the obvious - What if the Iraqis can't handle their own security? What if one of the three major factions refuses to abide by the results of the election? What if bombers continue to kill hundreds of people a month? What if millions of people in the U.S. start marching in the street in protest? What if Al Qaeda keeps succeeding in major terrorist attacks which have no connection to Iraq?

We've handed over sovereignty. Given the the current framework? Big fucking deal.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:59 PM on June 28, 2004


Maybe martial law is the answer to Iraq's security problems:
"President Bush said today that coalition forces in Iraq would support a possible decision by the new Iraqi leadership to declare martial law to deal with escalating violence and terror attacks." New York Times, June 28, 2004
New Get Your War On:
Nothing says "Good luck" like handing off sovereignty and running straight to the airport. Do we always treat sovereignty like it's a goddamn grenade?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:19 PM on June 28, 2004


So what alternative realistic concrete action do you propose y6y6y6?

I agree with you, I said so. I think this handover is risky and the task for all involved is very difficult and stands a good chance of failure. I also said that all things considered, I can't see a rational alternative to this course that stands a better chance of success (in a broadly defined sense).

What if the Iraqis can't handle their own security? What if one of the three major factions refuses to abide by the results of the election? What if bombers continue to kill hundreds of people a month? What if millions of people in the U.S. start marching in the street in protest? What if Al Qaeda keeps succeeding in major terrorist attacks which have no connection to Iraq?

I cannot answer any of these questions. I hope none of these things happen. I have no idea how to prevent them beyond attempting to continue the proposed gradual process of rebuilding the country's institutions and wealth. It seems to be working to some degree. What would work better? I acknowledge that there is no guarantee for success with this plan. How do you propose they be prevented?
posted by loquax at 2:20 PM on June 28, 2004


As Fenriss' Doonesbury cartoon correctly points out, we are still building 14 enduring military bases in Iraq.

14 of them... and our own government has named them "Enduring Bases". ENDURING. Not my words... theirs.

Quite plainly, according to the current Administration, WE ARE NEVER LEAVING IRAQ.

And this thinking assumes that the Iraqi people will never be able to tell us to leave, so it follows that the current Administration will also NEVER ALLOW IRAQ TO BE A TRUE SOVEREIGN NATION.

How much more f*cking transparent does it have to be?
posted by BobFrapples at 2:51 PM on June 28, 2004


A Pseudostate Is Born
posted by homunculus at 2:57 PM on June 28, 2004


Quite plainly, according to the current Administration, WE ARE NEVER LEAVING IRAQ.

And this thinking assumes that the Iraqi people will never be able to tell us to leave, so it follows that the current Administration will also NEVER ALLOW IRAQ TO BE A TRUE SOVEREIGN NATION.


That is far too simplistic. Ask some of the 130 countries that have American troops and/or bases on their soil if they are TRUE SOVEREIGN NATIONS. Ask Germany and their 74,000 American soldiers, or Italy and their 13,000, or Japan and South Korea and their 40,000 each. Again, Iraq is not an exception to the rule when it comes to American "hegemony". You may have a problem with that, which is fine and fair, but it's irrelevant to the Iraq discussion. Troops will remain, until a point where Iraq demands that they leave, consequences be damned. This is true of any country with American troops in the world.
posted by loquax at 3:11 PM on June 28, 2004


"So what alternative realistic concrete action do you propose y6y6y6?"

Ah yes. The second favorite shell game for the Iraq war fans. I claim Iraq is a worsening failure. This is rebutted by my failure to have a concrete and comprehensive foreign policy document tattooed on my forehead.

Yes yes. Boy I've been put in my place.

Sorry loquax, I seem to have left my state and defensive department policy teams in my other pants. Asking a computer programmer from California to produce an Iraq policy is just a little silly, don't you think? I'm confused. This is your response to what? Oh yes. I disagree with the Iraq progress, so I *must* have a better idea. Yes yes. Brilliant sir. You are the master.

Okay little camper, how about this. We admit failure. Since the local population isn't willing to support our efforts we have zero chance of pulling this off. Either we'll be mired in guerilla battles forever, or we'll pour hundreds of billions in military aid every year to the government so they can suppress a civil war.

But if we admit failure we can regroup from there. Either we triple the number of troops and contractors and diplomats to overcome the violence and win hearts and minds, or we start an accelerated pullout.

Since we don't have the resources as a nation to triple costs, I suggest we accelerate the end game. Inform the Iraqi government that our troops will be gone by next March. In the meantime we'll be pulling out in a strategic fashion.

Admit this is a Viet Nam style failure. That's the concrete action.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:28 PM on June 28, 2004


Admit this is a Viet Nam style failure.

It's more like Iraq (Mesopotamia) 1920, IMO.
posted by homunculus at 3:36 PM on June 28, 2004


Come on y6, I wasn't trying to put you in your place or play rhetorical shell games. I thought we were having a discussion, not trying to score points. Thanks for your opinions on what you think the US should do. I genuinely wanted to hear them and I don't entirely disagree. I'll try and phrase my questions in ways that don't offend you in the future.
posted by loquax at 3:38 PM on June 28, 2004


Admit this is a Viet Nam style failure.

Well, that won't happen until...well, January 2005, when someone capable of such a feat occupies the White House.
posted by solistrato at 3:58 PM on June 28, 2004


Soli, as far as I know, both candidates plan to 'stay the course' in Iraq.

The real choice in the election is not over Iraq, but over domestic policy, and potential fear of new Iraqs. If Bush is re-elected, will Syria/Iran/N. Korea/etc. be next in line?

But on the Iraq question, we have pledges from Kerry to "stay the course" or "add more troops", which isn't a marked change from Bush's plan. Plus for those who are upset about Bush's "likudnik neocons", Kerry's administration will surely be full of "laborite neolibs" who will perhaps be even more pro-Israel then the Bush team.
posted by chaz at 4:09 PM on June 28, 2004


If Bush is re-elected, will Syria/Iran/N. Korea/etc. be next in line?

Bush may have finally realized that it's not a realistic option with North Korea.
posted by homunculus at 4:18 PM on June 28, 2004


it'd be nice if the Kerry Administration would pay attention to Afghanistan, like we should have been doing all along.
posted by amberglow at 4:25 PM on June 28, 2004


If Bush is re-elected, will Syria/Iran/N. Korea/etc. be next in line?

No, I think that Iraq was a test market for the preemptive doctrine. Thing about it, it's ravaged by 10 years of sanctions, we've already kicked their ass once quite easily, and they have a cartoonish dictator everyone loves to hate. I think had things gone well to their simplistic level of thinking, Iran would have been next, and then North Korea.

But, things did not go well, this has become a morass, and I think Cheney's learned his lesson. It's one thing to kick someone out of a country they're occupying, it's quite another to invade and set up a sympathetic government with a different governing paradigm.
posted by prodigalsun at 4:42 PM on June 28, 2004


That is far too simplistic. Ask some of the 130 countries that have American troops and/or bases on their soil if they are TRUE SOVEREIGN NATIONS. Ask Germany and their 74,000 American soldiers, or Italy and their 13,000, or Japan and South Korea and their 40,000 each.

That in turn is far too simplistic, I'm afraid. The answer to your question depends very much on who you ask in those countries.

That said, I'd love to believe that this 'important event' will mean the flowering of peace and democracy and all that nice stuff in Iraq. I'd love to believe in Santa Claus as well. The facts, all wishful thinking aside, point to the unlikelihood of such things.

Maybe freedom will ring. And maybe, as the wise man once said, monkeys will fly out of my butt.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:49 PM on June 28, 2004


How many leftist defeatists can fit inside a Metafilter?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:01 PM on June 28, 2004


BEACH PARTY IRAQ!

Err..
posted by xmutex at 5:01 PM on June 28, 2004


Most likely, Syria will cave when Iran is bombed. Which is somewhat disappointing, because if any country deserves to meet American cruise missles, it's Syria....
posted by ParisParamus at 5:33 PM on June 28, 2004


d00d, we should like totally nuke north korea, too! USA #1!!!
posted by mr_roboto at 5:39 PM on June 28, 2004


"I'll try and phrase my questions in ways that don't offend you in the future."

You misunderstand. I'm a cranky elitist bastard. Nothing offends me. I'm just contrary.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:43 PM on June 28, 2004


mr. roboto, how clueless you are.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:01 PM on June 28, 2004


So what alternative realistic concrete action do you propose

I really hate this kind of thinking.

Look, if you're going to stick your hand in a blender to retrieve a ring you dropped, I'd suggest that's a stupid thing to do. If you proceed regardless, then get your hand all mauled, the appropriate response should not be, "Well, what would you do with this bloody stump?"

See, at that point there's nothing you can do. Nothing. You've fucked up, gotten your hand all mangled, and now you just have to deal with it. There's nothing you can do at that point. With Iraq, we've fucked the place up. There's nothing that can be done to fix it now. We just have to let history play itself out while we sit on the sidelines, helpless and responsible with a guilty look on our face.

Sucks not having any control, but then, we relinquished control when we openned the floodgates. We should have just left Saddam in power.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:19 PM on June 28, 2004


So when are all the whining Saddam-appeasing pussies going to plant it on the sidelines and shut the fuck up?
posted by techgnollogic at 6:34 PM on June 28, 2004


never, techgnollogic--when are you going to learn what free speech is?
posted by amberglow at 6:36 PM on June 28, 2004


What does free speech have to do with it? Civil_Disobedient just said there's nothing to do but sit on the sidelines, so I asked him when we can expect that to start.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:44 PM on June 28, 2004


The band which is playing amid the ruins is sad irony

Listen! They're playing our song.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:08 PM on June 28, 2004


Here's the real lesson Bush has learned (taught?): peaceniks are all talk, no action.

When it comes down to it, enough Brits and Democrats will always break ranks to forge a bipartisan and binational front. Perfurmed Continental Europeans may whine and moan, but they'll ultimately do nothing but smack their lips and wait for the contracts post-war.

Have no doubt: if the mullahs in Iran won't back off their nukes, they will be taken out, and they'll have only themselves to blame for the 82nd Airborne bivoucaing in the nicest houses of Tehran, and the British First Armoured having Qum under interdiction. It may take a few days longer for a President Kerry to gut himself up to issue the invasion orders than it would have taken President Bush, but he'll do it nonetheless.

We don't need to deal with Syria -- Israel has them in hand. Same largely goes for North Korea -- China may not like it, but it's their problem, and they'll (relucantly) deal with it if they have to do so.
posted by MattD at 7:16 PM on June 28, 2004


d00d, we should like totally nuke north korea, too! USA #1!!!
posted by mr_roboto at 7:32 PM on June 28, 2004


Have no doubt: if the mullahs in Iran won't back off their nukes, they will be taken out, and they'll have only themselves to blame for the 82nd Airborne bivoucaing in the nicest houses of Tehran, and the British First Armoured having Qum under interdiction. It may take a few days longer for a President Kerry to gut himself up to issue the invasion orders than it would have taken President Bush, but he'll do it nonetheless.

And where will the troops needed for that invasion come from, pray tell? Right now, we do not have anywhere close to enough, and we're not planning on pulling out of Iraq.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:32 PM on June 28, 2004


Patience, grasshopper.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:38 PM on June 28, 2004


what krinkly said, and then there's also the fact that a Pres. Kerry wouldn't be so gung-ho to rush into war, knowing what it's actually like, unlike some people. He would do diplomacy and other options, again unlike some people.
posted by amberglow at 7:39 PM on June 28, 2004


A surprise
early handover
of power in Iraq
, two days ahead of the stated deadline -
even as the US moved over the weekend to further restrict Iraqi
sovereignty - pushed Iraq (unsurprisingly) again to the media
fore and dovetailed neatly with the start of the weekly news cycle
as a power-troika of the New York Times, the Washington
Post
,
and the Los Angeles Times all ran leading
front page stories on an Iraqi rebel threat to behead a kidnapped
US marine, shown in footage aired by Al
Jazeera
, and also on an intensifying Iraqi insurgency
that seems ever widespread and capable. Reports Patrick J. McDonnell
of the Los Angeles Times, "experts and some commanders
fear
it may be too late
to turn back the militant tide."



US forces, warns former UN weapons inspector
Scott Ritter in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "must
exit Iraq now"
.



posted by troutfishing at 9:02 PM on June 28, 2004


The U.S. has the equivalent of 13 maneuver divisions. We have the equivalent of 4 in Iraq. 13 - 4 = 9.

No one wants to see an op tempo accelerated more than it is, nor forces more geographically concentrated than they already are, but it can and will be done if that's what the strategy dictates.

Also, it's not like ground divisions are all we've got. Our entire air forces are essentially unemployed now, and we've got nice big bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to run non-stop easy-refueling sorties over whatever Iranian targets are offered up. Smart ordnance to take out air defense, and dumb iron to carpet bomb the suspected nuclear sites, then airmobile in an engineer batallion to blow up the hardened facilities, and airmobile them right back out again.

A President Kerry might actually prefer the saturation air war approach (let us call it the Kosovo strategy).

I certainly hope that the Iranians would be amenable to diplomacy, but I believe that if necessary, Kerry would do the right thing -- out of principal, or to keep the Israelis from doing it on their own and creating an even bigger problem.
posted by MattD at 9:22 PM on June 28, 2004


(Blow up the suspected nuclear sites before the fissile material is loaded in -- once the fissile material is loaded in hardened sites, then it gets to be a tougher nut to crack, which the main reason why action will be necessary sooner than later...)
posted by MattD at 9:24 PM on June 28, 2004


Amidst
the pall of devastating criticism, most lately from counter-terrorism
expert Richard Clarke's condemnation of an "
enormous mistake"
(which Iraq represents for US foreign
policy) and the corrosive effect on Iraq on "the core
tenets
of President Bush's foreign policy [ the Bush Doctrine
]" (Robin Wright, for the Washington Post) just how
"sovereign" is the newly minted iraqi government ? Only
days before the final handover of power was ritually enacted in
the passing of legal paperwork from the CPA to Iraq's new interim
government, Paul Bremer issued edicts to curb
the power
of Iraq's new, ostensibly sovereign, government
- as reported by Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Walter Pincus of The
Washington Post
. In slightly pathetic note, Iraq's new sovereignty
won't even extend to the net, to the control of it's own Internet
country code
, notes Salon. Nor, it seems, will it extend to
an investigation of the CPA's apparent inability to account for
up to US$ 3.7 billion missing - according
to the BBC
- in revenue from Iraq's oil industry and other
national sources. Private US contractors have done little better
than the CPA though. In his account of Bechtel's shoddy
execution
of it's contract to rebuild Iraqi schools, Dan Murphy
of the Christian Science Monitor concludes with an upbeat
quote from the CPA : ""We don't measure success by how
much we are loved when Ambassador Bremer departs on June 30,''
CPA spokesman Dan Senor said. "Success is measured by Iraqi
support for democracy in this country."



"Iraqi support for Democracy"
- or, at least, for the American-managed version of Democracy
allowed to them is now rather thin and has been directly undercut
by the mismanagement and corruption detailed above, writes Naomi
Klein for the Guardian, in the bluntly titled "The
Multibillion Robbery
the U.S. Calls Reconstruction."
Of the CIA-associated new Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, Klein
quips : "...he is, after all, a kind of US contractor himself.
A former CIA spy, he is already threatening to declare martial
law, while his defence minister says of resistance fighters: "We
will cut off their hands, and we will behead them." In a
final feat of outsourcing, Iraqi governance has been subcontracted
to even more brutal surrogates."



As angry
average Iraqis
join the spreading
insurgency
, something more menacing. Patrick McDonnell of
the Los Angeles Times notes insurgent
"momentum"
, as US troops - reports the Washington
Post
- are "baffled"
by the task of parsing friend from foe in Iraq but also by the
far more sophisticated Iraqi insurgent tactics they have encountered
most recently. In a nearly Post story, "Adversary's
Tactics Leave Troops
surprised, exhausted"
, pounds at the theme, lending weight
to a highly disturbing meeting described by the Centre for
Global Research
's Alix de la Grange, with ex-Iraqi army generals
who now claim to be preparing a long-envisioned, well prepared
and massive offensive for the "liberation of Baghdad"



"We knew that if the United States
decided to attack Iraq, we would have no chance faced with their
technological and military power. The war was lost in advance,
so we
prepared the post-war
. In other words: the resistance....This
plan B, which seems to have totally eluded the Americans, was
carefully organized" In the spirit of looking backward to
look forwards, consider The
Army Times, August 16, 2002
- General Paul Van Riper, who
led what was essentially a generic analogue of the current Iraqi
resistance - the opposition force or "Red Force" - in
the massive $250 million, 13,500 player wargaming simulation titled
"Millennium Challenge 02" "red general" Riper
accused the games of being "....almost entirely scripted
to ensure a [U.S. military] 'win.' " However, before the
secret imposition of "scripted" wargaming hidden from
Riper, he employed a full range of creative, unorthodox tactics.
After learning of the secret "scripting", to make the
games conform to expectation, Van Riper quit. "Retired Ambassador
Robert Oakley, who participated in the experiment as Red civilian
leader, said Van Riper was outthinking the Blue Force from the
first day of the exercise."



Meaning : before the "fix",
the more nimble "Red" insurgency always won in the end.
It's elementary, actually - the "Red team" has all the
advantages save that of superior arms : linguistic, geographic,
cultural, the force of patriotism and nationalism, xenophobic
tendencies, tribalism, the flexibility to rapidly adopt new strategies,
tactics, communication strategies.... Invisibility, desperation,
deep hatred of the foreign occupying forces....



In the amoral (but probably accurate)
calculus of "Anonymous" : it's scorched earth and heads
on pikes - or eventually retreat.



I'll rephrase that. Either 1) US public
acceptance of mass murder or 2) US public acceptance, having ruled
out mass murder, of limits - to what even the mightest and best
equipment armies can achieve. Especially when are occupying powers.



There you be.


posted by troutfishing at 9:33 PM on June 28, 2004


Liberals pacifists: they talk a talk--and that's it.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:47 PM on June 28, 2004


Iraq Occupation Erodes Bush Doctrine

The occupation of Iraq has increasingly undermined, and in some cases discredited, the core tenets of President Bush's foreign policy, according to a wide range of Republican and Democratic analysts and U.S. officials...

The Preemptive Strike

The most controversial tenet of Bush doctrine was also the primary justification for launching the Iraq war. In the president's June 2002 address to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Bush said deterrence and containment were no longer enough to defend America's borders. The United States, he said, had the right to take preemptive action to prevent attacks against the United States.

"We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act," Bush told cadets.

In the policy's early days, its supporters hinted that preemption could eventually justify forcible government change in Iran, Syria and North Korea as well as in Iraq. But that sentiment is evaporating, because Iraq showed the "pitfalls of the doctrine in graphic detail," said Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.

Preemption has been "damaged, if not totally discredited," and the outcome in Iraq may prove to be "an inoculation against rash action" by the United States in the future, Carpenter said.

The administration is working overtime to reduce the sense of alarm that Washington is posed "on a hair trigger" to launch a new offensive against governments it does not like, said James F. Hoge Jr., editor of Foreign Affairs magazine. White House officials are relying on diplomacy to defuse confrontations over nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, the two other countries with Iraq that Bush labeled the "axis of evil."


Army Plans Involuntary Call-Up of Thousands

The U.S. Army is planning an involuntary mobilization of thousands of reserve troops to maintain adequate force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense officials said on Monday. The move -- involving the seldom-tapped Individual Ready Reserve -- represents the latest evidence of the strain being placed on the U.S. military, particularly the Army, by operations in those two countries.

Roughly 5,600 soldiers from the ready reserve will be notified of possible deployment this year, including some soldiers who will be notified within a month, said an Army official speaking on condition of anonymity. A senior defense official said, "These individuals are being called back to fill specific shortages for specific jobs." The official said the last time the Individual Ready Reserve, mainly made up of soldiers who have completed their active duty obligations, was mobilized in any significant numbers was during the 1991 Gulf War.

posted by y2karl at 10:36 PM on June 28, 2004


The U.S. has the equivalent of 13 maneuver divisions. We have the equivalent of 4 in Iraq. 13 - 4 = 9.

True, but it's also necessary to rotate troops. As it is, the troops in Iraq are rotated, but their deployment times are ever increasing (even if they were told they would be in for less time), which is bad for morale. As I mentioned, retiring soldiers are also being given stop-loss orders. Many factors indicate that the military is rather strapped as far as troop levels, including the words of the people in the military who are in charge of it. As far as they're concerned, we cannot currently handle another major theater war like Iraq. If we were to determine our military readiness by the number of troops not currently deployed, without any other factors involved in such deployment, you'd end up with a very ragged bunch of soldiers who aren't rotated at all, or who are rotated much more slowly. This is what desperate nations do in wartime when there aren't enough troops to rotate out. Are we desperate?

A President Kerry might actually prefer the saturation air war approach (let us call it the Kosovo strategy).

We could also call it the Vietnam strategy.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:44 PM on June 28, 2004


dudes, for real, stop replying to paris.
posted by mcsweetie at 11:23 PM on June 28, 2004


So when are all the whining Saddam-appeasing pussies going to plant it on the sidelines and shut the fuck up?

Probably around the same time that the children who equate "foriegn policy" with "bomb 'em" grow up a little, read a couple of books and learn to play better with others.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:36 PM on June 28, 2004


I'm looking forward to Paris walking the walk... all the way to Iraq.

I have a bunch of friends who are soldiers serving in Iraq. They'd be glad to tell him to STFU.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:54 AM on June 29, 2004


Iraqi bloggers responses to the handover here.
posted by PenDevil at 2:09 AM on June 29, 2004


(Spoiled American defeatists' responses to a President with vision....here.)
posted by ParisParamus at 4:12 AM on June 29, 2004


Steve Bell
posted by Fat Buddha at 4:33 AM on June 29, 2004


a President with an apocalyptic vision
posted by amberglow at 5:43 AM on June 29, 2004


Languagehat:

I'm not sure....I hope you still are "in" this thread. But I'm sure your right about the baseline of people who support thuggery. I just hope this can stop. But I think back to when families hid bottles of booze and other things for gangsters during prohibition Chicago. They were 'supporting thugs and they needed the money and alot of people were to scared to protest. They closed thier curtains when ever tommy guns burped in the middle of the night. perhaps not the best analogy but I cannot seem to find a good parallel without sounding western-centric, to say the least smug, as in saying "this is the way of the middle east". This assertion simply cannot stand....but, yes but... what can be done.
I was re-reading Solzhenitsyns' "Letter to the Soviet Leaders" last night and could not help but to notice how he urged Russia not to fought an ideological war with China. Well, this seems far removed from the topic at hand none the less he says that Siberia should not fall to the hands of chinese expansionists. Solzhenitsyn said to "Give them there ideology!...and let them support terrorists and guerrillas in the Southern hemisphere too, if they like"

I realize this was 1974, but i see the point. He was saying let this nation thump it's ideologies and see them spend money in wars and programs concerning "Unfulfillable international obligations"

seems the U.S. heeded his words and the bankruptcy through pride tactic "worked" against his own country whilst today, China is a economic powerhouse and has done much to reverse it's former ideological chest thumping....sure they, as all, have a ways to go. Sure thugs and self serving dictators still roam the plains but my real question is what has changed, what has become of these ideas and have they done any good for mankind.

Watching or allowing countries to peter themselves out with little wars and using terror is no longer an option IMO.
posted by clavdivs at 8:57 AM on June 29, 2004


I'm looking forward to Paris walking the walk... all the way to Iraq.

I have a bunch of friends who are soldiers serving in Iraq. They'd be glad to tell him to STFU


you know, namedropping/friends in war dropping can be useful in sparing amounts but your plain smug with all this my friends, my sources, my this, my that. (thats MY job) I do not like it, and thats my problem, but i would never call you on censorship nor accuse you of it as you have in another thread.

personally, I think you blog for the chicks.
posted by clavdivs at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2004


some iraqis seem to think things aren't all that bad.

Other Iraqis:

Tell Me A Secret

Hey!!
sovereignty is the word...
if Iraqis don't have FULL sovereignty, the flood of bodies in uniform coming in plastic bags will never stop.
case closed.
sorry for the harsh words, but its true enough.
the big day (supposed to be at least) is coming soon, surrounded with the promises of freedom and liberation, and sovereignty.
the funny thing is that the so-called American embassy, is taking the place of the presidential republican palace, the largest palace in Iraq, and the centre of government and decision making for decades, how symbolic!
an information i got from a friend: the staff of this "embassy" are 4000 persons.
hmmm....
and you just need to know the number of the American soldiers, who will ALWAYS be in the fixed military bases, and you know what kind of so-called freedom Iraqis will have.
the "embassy" makes the decisions, if you don't like it, the army will interfere and "convince" the "bad people" that the decision is democratic and free and patriotic and its for the best for Iraq, what do we Iraqis know?!
isn't it one funny world we are living in?


Baghdad Burning

The new government isn’t very different from the old Governing Council. Some of the selfsame Puppets, in fact. It’s amusing to watch our Karazai- Ghazi Ajeel Al-Yawer- trying to establish himself. It’s a bit of a predicament for many an Iraqi, and possibly foreigners too. Here he is- your typical Arab- the dark skin, dark hair and traditional ‘dishdasha’ wearing an ‘iggall’ on his head and playing the role of tribal sheikh quite well.

Beyond these minor details, however, he remains an ex-member of the Governing Council and was actually selected by the Puppets, supposedly over the American preference- Adnan Al-Pachichi (who is adamantly claiming he is *not* the American preference at this point). That whole charade is laughable. It has been quite clear from the very start that the Puppets do not breathe unless Bremer asks them, very explicitly, to inhale and exhale. The last time I checked, Puppets do not suddenly come to life and grow a conscience unless a fairy godmother and Jiminy the Cricket are involved.


Raed In The Middle

in a great, huge festival...
the handover of the authorities took place in a small shelter in one of the basements of the green zone.
bremer, the new ugly Iraqi "president", the cia agent "P.M.", another couple of losers were standing in a small circle at the sunrise, clapping their hands and trying to smile

some hours later, bremer ran away in a black military plane

god, dont you call this a historical carnival?
:*)

in arabic we say, "sharro el balyyati ma yodhek", the worst catastrophes make you laugh

haha?


Raed, by the way, now has his Iraq Civilian War Casualties up and running...

And here are some non-bloggers quoted...

In Anger, Ordinary Iraqis Are Joining the Insurgency

At a teahouse in this palm-lined city, jobless men sit on wooden benches talking about killing American soldiers. "Tell us one benefit they've given us since they've come here," Falah, a 23-year-old man in a shabby checkered shirt, said to an Iraqi reporter. He boasted about driving a friend to stage attacks on American patrols. The two wait in a farm field by the main road. When the Humvees roll by, his friend fires a rocket-propelled grenade, Falah said. The two hit the ground. The soldiers open fire, but the Iraqis lie still until the patrol leaves.

"I really didn't ask my friend whether they have a boss or not and whether they organize their work or not," he said. "I really don't care as long as I can take part and drive the Americans out of our country. We are all resistance." As Falah spoke, about a dozen men gathered around him. They nodded vigorously. This was Sunni-dominated Baquba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, where the resistance burns as fiercely as anywhere in Iraq.

With just days to go before the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis, American commanders concede that they are far from quelling a stubborn and increasingly sophisticated insurgency. It has extended well beyond Saddam Hussein supporters and foreign fighters, spreading to ordinary Iraqis seething at the occupation and its failures. They act at the grass-roots level, often with little training or direction, but with a zealousness born of anti-colonial ambitions.

American commanders acknowledge that military might alone cannot defeat the insurgency; in fact, the frequent use of force often spurs resistance by deepening ill will. "This war cannot be won militarily," said Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste, commander of the First Infantry Division, which oversees a swath of the northern Sunni triangle slightly larger than the state of West Virginia. "It really does need a political and economic solution."


but then, what do they know, being iraqis and all

on review: Personal attacks, clavdivs, are not your strong suit.
posted by y2karl at 9:56 AM on June 29, 2004


clav: Yeah, I'm still checking in once in a while. It's an interesting analogy, but I'd say it's more like Tom Pendergast allying with gangsters to run Kansas City. Of course, Boss Pendergast would have to be a mullah with a turban, but it's the Middle East, not the Middle West.

what has become of these ideas and have they done any good for mankind

The $64,000 question.
posted by languagehat at 10:16 AM on June 29, 2004


Iraqis Back New Leaders
A large majority of Iraqis say they have confidence in the new interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi that is set to assume political power on Wednesday, according to a poll commissioned by U.S. officials in Iraq.
The results are a significant victory for the United States and the United Nations. Together they negotiated with squabbling Iraqi factions in an attempt to cobble together a viable government that balanced disparate ethnic and religious groups.
The first survey since the new government was announced by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi about three weeks ago showed that 68 percent of Iraqis have confidence in their new leaders. The numbers are in stark contrast to widespread disillusionment with the previous Iraqi Governing Council, which was made up of 25 members picked by the United States and which served as the Iraqi partner to the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority. Only 28 percent of Iraqis backed the council when it was dissolved last month, according to a similar poll in May.
...
Four out of every five Iraqis expected that the new government will "make things better" for Iraq after the handover, with 10 percent expecting the situation to remain the same and 7 percent anticipating a decline, the poll shows.


How curious that this was overlooked in a previous flood of Washington Post articles.
posted by darukaru at 10:17 AM on June 29, 2004


your right karl, but it "felt good". My strong suit, as you say, is indirect personal attacks. Something I'm trying to curb. At least I'll be honest and up front with the man. Like I said, it is my problem.

tell me though karl, when the Iraqis start, if they start, if not already, arresting and jailing people, for insurrgency, what will you think?

LH
:). Pendergast....that was brillant sir. it was not a very good analogy, but serves to show how fear, though on differant levels, seeps into society. Perhaps the Mullah would have been Dewey.

I guess i ask you because you may have answers I'm looking for. maybe only time can tell.

I have only questions left and it scares the hell out of me.
posted by clavdivs at 10:27 AM on June 29, 2004


Actually, Clavdivs, I talk about my contacts with soldiers in Iraq a lot because I admin an online community composed of... soldiers and contractors in Iraq. And although many of them feel the need for us to be in Iraq, they hate chickenhawks with a passion.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:55 PM on June 29, 2004


How do they feel about anti-war pacifist Saddam-appeasers?
posted by techgnollogic at 5:32 PM on June 29, 2004


Prisoner 27075 learns limits of sovereignty
posted by homunculus at 9:16 PM on June 29, 2004


How do they feel about anti-war pacifist Saddam-appeasers?

Now that we know how they feel about head up their asses Osama enablers, that is.
posted by y2karl at 10:55 PM on June 29, 2004


Poor little Osama... never woulda done no wrong if the mean old CIA wouldn'ta tricked him...
posted by techgnollogic at 11:13 PM on June 29, 2004


See what I mean ?
posted by y2karl at 3:40 PM on June 30, 2004


:( hoo hoo hoo
posted by techgnollogic at 5:59 PM on June 30, 2004


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