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June 15, 2006 5:35 AM   Subscribe

[NewsFilter] "Beginning of the End." The death of al Zarqawi, in itself, may have been a bit of a pyrrhic victory, but the latest news is a "treasure trove" of intelligence from al Qa'ida in Iraq. Of course, al Qa'ida in Iraq is largely an open source movement, so they never kept this exactly secret--but now, it's being widely reported that al Qa'ida "sought war between US and Iran." With speculation that al Zaraqwi's death may lead to a drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq, might his death now also defuse tensions with Iran, as well? Did we end two wars in one blow?
posted by jefgodesky (106 comments total)

 
We didn't end even one.
posted by Malor at 5:37 AM on June 15, 2006


I'm thinking the answer is "no."
posted by awesomebrad at 5:41 AM on June 15, 2006


This is not the first time they claimed to have found a "treasure trove" of information. Even if it's true, the resistance knows what information was taken, and will act accordingly.

As long as Iraq has oil, there will be an occupation. As long as there is an occupation, there will be a resistance.
posted by Jatayu das at 5:46 AM on June 15, 2006


No. Next...
posted by pompomtom at 5:58 AM on June 15, 2006


Have we found the all-important WMDs yet? Where's bin Laden?
posted by Mr. Six at 5:58 AM on June 15, 2006


Aren't they still building permanent bases? At some point they'll withdraw a half or a third of the troops, declare victory and the end of the occupation / war, and the media will simply stop reporting on the ongoing combat. Mission accomplished!
posted by fleetmouse at 6:00 AM on June 15, 2006


I feel as though the death of Zarqawi will be spun enough in order to allow us to withdraw while still retaining a certain amount of face. It's easy to say he was just one man but the fact that it's viewed as a turning point by many provides the best opportunity thus far to get the hell out.
posted by zeoslap at 6:03 AM on June 15, 2006


They're building permanent bases, and I think the point of the Iraqi invasion was always to justify a military prescence to protect oil assets, but this gives Bush an excuse for a significant drawdown right around the Iraqi invasion.

More importantly, most of the evidence that was being used to beat the drums of war with Iran--including the idea that Iran was developing WMD's--is now being aired on CNN as part of al-Qa'ida's plan to get the U.S. to attack Iran. Not that this was unknown before, but now it's being reported on CNN. People are hearing about it. How can they possibly attack Iran now, when it's been publicly aired that that's exactly what al Qa'ida is trying to get us to do?

Catching bin Ladin was never a high priority for the U.S., and WMD's was always an obvious ploy. The death of Zarqawi is the best excuse Bush is going to get to get out of this, and right in time for midterm elections in the U.S. If he can't recognize that opportunity, he's even dumber than I thought. More importantly, this could radically defuse the tensions with Iran.

No doubt an American occupation in Iraq will continue for some time, but they also want to withdraw to their bases near the oil assets and let the civil war run its inevitable course: the advantage of the civil war over the current stuation, of course, being that civil wars eventually end.
posted by jefgodesky at 6:07 AM on June 15, 2006


a significant drawdown right around the Iraqi invasion.

Wow. That was wrong.

a significant drawdown right around the midterm elections.
posted by jefgodesky at 6:09 AM on June 15, 2006


Catching bin Ladin was never a high priority for the U.S.

Then the war has little or anything to do with fighting terrorism, and we should publically admit we're there as a colonial, occupational entity. Regardless of any sabre-rattling with Iran.
posted by Mr. Six at 6:16 AM on June 15, 2006


jefgodesky:

the advantage of the civil war over the current stuation, of course, being that civil wars eventually end.

The current situation will end too, one way or another, and would in fact HAVE to end in order to go to this "dedicated civil war" phase you describe.

No, the advantage in that situation isn't that civil wars end, but that we can hide in our little compounds and pretend it doesn't affect us.
posted by trigonometry at 6:28 AM on June 15, 2006


That's nothing. The other day, I stopped three wars simply by shooting at Greg Stilson.
posted by Plutor at 6:35 AM on June 15, 2006


Then the war has little or anything to do with fighting terrorism, and we should publically admit we're there as a colonial, occupational entity. Regardless of any sabre-rattling with Iran.

You live in a better, more honest world than I do, Mr. Six.

No, the advantage in that situation isn't that civil wars end, but that we can hide in our little compounds and pretend it doesn't affect us.

You're right, eventually we have to leave, and then the civil war will end. But as long as we're there, our prescence keeps things from calming down, and also keeps things from ever being resolved. The civil war has to happen, that was the consequence of toppling Saddam. Bush's father knew that, as did anyone with a cursory understanding of the "exploitation model" used by the British to draw the boundaries of Iraq to create a dependent Suni center. The only variable in our control is how long the bloody prelude goes on. The civil war will be as long and gruesome as it's going to be, with very little room for anyone outside of Iraq to make any input on that question. The only question we get to answer is how long we're going to prolong the current state of affairs. The sooner we leave, the sooner the civil war starts, and the sooner it ends, so the longer we stay, the longer the total period of unrest is, and the more people end up dead.
posted by jefgodesky at 6:36 AM on June 15, 2006


and we should publically admit we're there as a colonial, occupational entity

What do you mean, "we," white man? (grin)

"We" are basically the Roman Empire with better technology, except that Rome had arguably a more interesting intellectual and cultural heritage.
posted by pax digita at 6:40 AM on June 15, 2006


the advantage of the civil war over the current stuation, of course, being that civil wars eventually end.

History does not necessarily support this contention. See for example, Sri Lanka.
posted by drezdn at 7:00 AM on June 15, 2006


Well, something's going on, that for sure...
posted by interrobang at 7:04 AM on June 15, 2006


We found the diaries. We found telephone numbers. We found computers, and ... There was a database in that computer," he said yesterday.

2 giant bombs don't destroy that kind of thing?
posted by amberglow at 7:05 AM on June 15, 2006


Did we end two wars in one blow?

It's easy to end wars, just don't start them.
posted by twistedonion at 7:10 AM on June 15, 2006


I actually think the idea that al-qaeda "wants us to go to war with Iran" is kind of cute, as Bush administration propaganda goes.

They've realized that they probably can't get away with invading Iran (even though they really, really want to!), but they can't back out of the sabre-rattling without looking like we've "lost". What to do when you can't blame the Democrats? Blame al-qaeda!
posted by interrobang at 7:10 AM on June 15, 2006


History does not necessarily support this contention. See for example, Sri Lanka.

They can go on for very long periods of time--as in, centuries--but they always, eventually, end. If the Iraqi civil war will take that long, then our occupation for another 10 years isn't going to make much of a difference. Howver long this is going to last, it's going to last; we can choose to make it longer, but I don't think we can shorten it, at least, not until we pull out sufficiently to let it begin in earnest.
posted by jefgodesky at 7:12 AM on June 15, 2006


What to do when you can't blame the Democrats? Blame al-qaeda!

I've heard rumblings about al-Qa'ida trying to get us to invade Iran for a while now, but then, I'm also convinced that besides being a call to jihad for the Muslim world, the 9/11 attacks were another al-Qa'ida ploy to get the U.S. to invade a country--in that case, Iraq.
posted by jefgodesky at 7:14 AM on June 15, 2006


I heard on CNN this morning that the 'treasure trove' of data was actually found prior to killing Zarqawi.
posted by NationalKato at 7:15 AM on June 15, 2006


I heard mention (on CNN this morning) of one thumb drive they actually pulled from Zarqawi's pocket, so at least some of this would have to be after. The report I heard quite explicitly stated that most of this was found in the basement of the building they blew up with Zarqawi, so that would seem to indicate after to me.
posted by jefgodesky at 7:21 AM on June 15, 2006


How many turning points and milestones have we had now? I've lost count.
posted by talitha_kumi at 7:23 AM on June 15, 2006


"ending a war" doesn't have that much meaning for the u.s. these days. we bombed iraq pretty much continuously from desert shield on through the clinton years and dubya's fiasco. having never declared war through any of this, it seems that our government' m.o. is to just be more or less public about its hostilities, depending on the political climate of the day. remember this ? it's in a lot of very powerful peoples' best interests that the u.s. keep up some kind of "war" just about all the time.
posted by cubby at 7:24 AM on June 15, 2006


We found the diaries. We found telephone numbers. We found computers, and ... There was a database in that computer," he said yesterday.

2 giant bombs don't destroy that kind of thing?


When you work for the CIA, you get ruggedized laptops.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:29 AM on June 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Naw, the neocons went into Iraq because that was part of the plan (PNAC). At the time of 9/11, the country alQaida contrived to get us into was Afghanastan....
posted by DesbaratsDays at 7:32 AM on June 15, 2006


"One message I will continue to send to the enemy is, 'Don't count on us leaving before the mission is complete,' " Bush said at a White House news conference.


posted by prostyle at 7:33 AM on June 15, 2006


hmmm. that was, of course in response to
jefgodesky.

posted by DesbaratsDays at 7:36 AM on June 15, 2006


it's in a lot of very powerful peoples' best interests that the u.s. keep up some kind of "war" just about all the time.

Yep, we got out of the cold war by chance... America had no intention of ending it... now it's the war on terror... and that damn war on drugs just never seems to end. If it does end we'll probably end up with a war on the gay.... a bit like the cold war, only pink.
posted by twistedonion at 7:36 AM on June 15, 2006


damn. blew the link. i quit.
posted by DesbaratsDays at 7:36 AM on June 15, 2006


You dont have to "talk show host" the thread.
posted by skallas at 7:41 AM on June 15, 2006


I agree that Zarqawi's death is a golden opportunity to declare victory and bug out, but today the House is discussing a resolution "declaring that the United States will complete the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure and united Iraq and will prevail in the global war on terror." This could backfire on the Republicans, since it's going to be extremely difficult to produce an illusion of a secure Iraq before the midterms.

Iraq like an Egyptian: U.S. reveals face of alleged new terror chief (Abu Ayyub al-Masri)
posted by kirkaracha at 7:44 AM on June 15, 2006


"Did we end two wars in one blow?"

Who paid you to say that??

Let me make a suggestion on how to "end two wars". We've heard enough rhetoric, we've seen enough posturing, some action is in order. How 'bout we take a rusty pair of pliers and a dull knife and remove the sex organs of anyone that votes for a politician of either party that has not clearly taken action to attempt to end the atrocity this country is committing.
posted by HuronBob at 7:44 AM on June 15, 2006


They can go on for very long periods of time--as in, centuries--but they always, eventually, end.

The same can be said of occupations.
posted by drezdn at 7:49 AM on June 15, 2006


How 'bout we take a rusty pair of pliers and a dull knife and remove the sex organs of anyone that votes for a politician of either party that has not clearly taken action to attempt to end the atrocity this country is committing.

I'd be more interested to see the names of any politicians from either party who have clearly taken the action you describe. Russell Feingold? Barbara Lee? I got nothing.
posted by blucevalo at 7:52 AM on June 15, 2006


Naw, the neocons went into Iraq because that was part of the plan (PNAC). At the time of 9/11, the country alQaida contrived to get us into was Afghanastan....

That's exactly it. They knew that drawing the U.S. into Iraq would topple one of their greatest enemies (Saddam Hussein), open Iraq to recruitment, and draw the U.S. into a conflict where they can be bogged down and, as bin Ladin quite publicly stated, "bled." All it takes for bin Ladin to come up with this is literacy, and the sense to read the policy suggestions published by the incoming administration to know that if you give them an excuse, they'll invade Iraq just like you hope.

You dont have to "talk show host" the thread.

Sorry, I'm trying not to, I just see stuff I feel the need to respond to!

Who paid you to say that??

Your mom. :)

Seriously, though, I agree that it's an atrocity, like most wars. But the surging pathos doesn't help much. If you want to figure out what's really going on, you've got to check your morals at the door and think strategy like a general.
posted by jefgodesky at 7:53 AM on June 15, 2006


the 9/11 attacks were another al-Qa'ida ploy to get the U.S. to invade a country--in that case, Iraq.

Well, how could they have predicted that? What they really wanted was war in Saudi Arabia, I think.
posted by delmoi at 7:56 AM on June 15, 2006


Two things;
1. NO
2. beware disinformation from the govt
my wife an d the NSA know of this comment
posted by Postroad at 7:56 AM on June 15, 2006


"Seriously, though, I agree that it's an atrocity, like most wars."

OK...never mind...this is just like the rest...thanks for pointing that out.

And, what does "the surging pathos doesn't help much" comment mean? We shouldn't get emotional about this? I guess that would be helpful. I know that, personally, I've had my fill of weeping mothers that have lost children, both Iraqi and American.

And, as for "checking my morals at the door", sorry, I would have to change political parties to be able to do that.
posted by HuronBob at 8:01 AM on June 15, 2006


once you have a committed resistance within the population of an occupied country there are only a limited number of ways that a war can end. You can commit genocide and wipe everyone out (which will not happen here), the occupying force leaves, or there is some sort of negotiated truce. Full stop.

Do we expect people to just give up because a leader got killed? I would venture to guess they are not fighting because Zaraqwi himself inspired them to fight, rather because there is an occupying force. duh.

Did al Qa'ida in Iraq want an Iran/US war? Perhaps, certainly seemed like both sides where obliging that idea for awhile. (But, there was no war, so how can this stop a war that hasn't started? The word might be "prevent")

Of course this doesn't take in to account the fact that the US has been so accurate in it's reporting. (/sarcasm) So I'm not sure if we should take anything that seems to come from official sources at face value. I know I'm much more suspicious of the official line than I was 8 years ago, and my starting point wasn't too damn trusting.

And, you know, if they want to use this as a means to save face to avoid war with Iran, I guess that's ok. It's not ideal, or even honest, but I'd rather a small bit of dishonesty than a full scale war. After all, last time we had both dishonesty AND a war. If this administration was in power for another 5 years we might even get honesty and no war.... or not.
posted by edgeways at 8:02 AM on June 15, 2006


OK can I just say that I'm mildly unnerved that my fucking USB thumb drive is apparently going to survive my death-by-enormous-goddamn-bombs?! I've got a couple of short stories on there about my ex-girlfriend and how bad our breakup was and I figured that those horrible secrets would go with me to the grave!!
posted by waxbanks at 8:06 AM on June 15, 2006


And, jefgodesky, even with the little smileyface, the "your mom" comment/link was out of bounds and a bit stupid.

/end derail
posted by HuronBob at 8:06 AM on June 15, 2006


...but now, it's being widely reported that al Qa'ida "sought war between US and Iran."

Uh, sure. Wasn't some other group seeking a war between the US and Iran? I can't remember their name, but I seem to recall that their address was something like 1600 Pennsylvania Turnpike or some such.

If this is what it took for the people running the show to back out of their third underplanned, undermanned war, or even to declare that we have achieved "Peace with Honor" and that we can stop having our troops stand in the open with no clear plan and no realistic goals, I'm all for it.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:08 AM on June 15, 2006


So I'm reading the text of this Al Qaeda planning document they say they found. Is it just me, am I now hopelessly cynical, or does this read like a really ham handed attempt at psyops?
I would genuinely like the opinion of someone who has read similar documents. Does bemoaning the Americans' "modern weapons" and the "current bleak situation" of the resistance sound right? (I get that it's a translation, but still.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:09 AM on June 15, 2006


Yeah, CunningLinguist, that "safe-house document" is total, obvious, bullshit.
posted by interrobang at 8:13 AM on June 15, 2006


The question remains, how to draw the Americans into fighting a war against Iran? It is not known whether American is serious in its animosity towards Iraq, because of the big support Iran is offering to America in its war in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Hence, it is necessary first to exaggerate the Iranian danger and to convince America and the west in general, of the real danger coming from Iran, and this would be done by the following:

1. By disseminating threatening messages against American interests and the American people and attribute them to a Shi'a Iranian side.

2. By executing operations of kidnapping hostages and implicating the Shi'a Iranian side.

3. By advertising that Iran has chemical and nuclear weapons and is threatening the west with these weapons.


Pff. Hilarious.
posted by interrobang at 8:15 AM on June 15, 2006


Well, how could they have predicted that? What they really wanted was war in Saudi Arabia, I think.

Ultimately, yes, but they'd be pretty foolish if they thought they could manipulate the U.S. into doing that. As far as predicting it, since so much of the incoming administration helped co-author PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" report which basically said that we should invade Iraq as soon as we have an excuse to do so, predicting what our administration would do in response to a terrorist attack didn't exactly require a great feat of imagination.

That said, an American invasion of Iraq also helps a revolution in Saudi Arabia, by destabilizing a major Saudi border, and allowing the theft of Saddam's weapons to be smuggled into Saudi Arabia and prepped for a revolt against the Kingdom.

And, what does "the surging pathos doesn't help much" comment mean? We shouldn't get emotional about this?

It means that while you'd be inhuman if you didn't feel that way, eventually you need to look up from that and do something to stop it. When you get to that point, the motivation driving you to do it often hinders your ability. There's comes a point when you need to bracket your emotions and morals, because it doesn't matter how valid they are--you need to understand the motivations of the parties involved, and for them, this is justifiable collateral damage. Before you can do anything to stop them, you need to know what they're doing, and the first step in that is seeing the world through their eyes. I'm not saying not to feel, or to give up your morals ... I'm saying you need to control them at least long enough to understand what the world looks like from their perspective. Sun Tzu knowing your enemy and knowing yourself and all that.

And, jefgodesky, even with the little smileyface, the "your mom" comment/link was out of bounds and a bit stupid.

Sorry ... "Who paid you" is pretty impossible to respond to meaningfully, and that link on the blue a few days later entertained me for minutes, at least.

Kid Charlemagne -- That's exactly the point.

I would genuinely like the opinion of someone who has read similar documents. Does bemoaning the Americans' "modern weapons" and the "current bleak situation" of the resistance sound right? (I get that it's a translation, but still.)

For Zarqawi, it's probably not so far off. Al-Qa'ida is basically a rhizome organization, and every time they get enough resources they try to build a hierarchy. The U.S. military is almost entirely blind to rhizome, but very, very good at knocking over hierarchy, so whenever al-Qa'ida pokes its head up like that, the U.S. very effectively knocks it back down to a rhizome (which we can't touch). Zarqawi was a mixed blessing, because on the other side, he wanted a more hierarchical structure. He suppressed ideas that didn't come from him, top-down. He made the organizaton less open source and thus, easier for the U.S. to deal with. That's why his death, in itself, may prove to be a very pyrrhic victory. So it often depends on where the material's coming from. From a different part of al-Qa'ida, that kind of language would raise my suspicions. From Zarqawi, not so much.
posted by jefgodesky at 8:16 AM on June 15, 2006


Anyone who believes *anything* this administration or the military has to say about Iraq is being willfully naive I'd say. It's like discovering you have a "kick me" sign taped to your back, and then just deciding to leave it there, even after getting kicked repeatedly.

We know where the WMD are [kick in the ass]

The insurgency is in it's last throes [kick in the ass]

These pictures show mobile weapons labs [kick in the ass]

Mission accomplished [kick in the ass]

Saddam has direct ties to Al Qaeda [kick in the ass]

We're making slow steady progress [kick in the ass]

We've found a treasure trove of intelligence [kick in the ass]
posted by Binkeeboo at 8:19 AM on June 15, 2006


We will stay the course [kick in the ass]
posted by blucevalo at 8:26 AM on June 15, 2006


and since when does Al Qaeda actually produce documents for internal use that could at any point be intercepted, especially since the whole world knows we're spying on everyone including ourselves?

Much of what is in the statement echoes results the US. Military and the Iraqi government say they are seeking. It also appears to conform with language used by American and Iraqi officials to debunk al-Qaida in Iraq and its operatives as a group of imported extremists bent on killing innocent civilians.
posted by amberglow at 8:28 AM on June 15, 2006


to blucevalo: "We will stay the course ", that part, blucevalo, is sadly true, as long as we leave this idiot in power.

to everyone: Has everyone here contacted their Senator or Congressman in the past week to question support of this war. I would suggest that, if you haven't done so, on a weekly basis, you've no right to even discuss it (unless, of course, you're in favor of it). Information to do so is located here
posted by HuronBob at 8:36 AM on June 15, 2006


Anyone who believes *anything* this administration or the military has to say about Iraq is being willfully naive I'd say.

No doubt. This whole past week and a half has been an attempt at psyops - hence the extended touchdown dance over the death of Zarqawi, Bush's (hastilly arranged, I'd bet) visit to Iraq, which coincides with the "historic crackdown" of the new Iraqi government, which just happens to coincide with the discovery of these documents.

The administration realizes it can't control events on the ground in Iraq and never could. But as always, they can control percpetion of those events, they can wage a P.R. assault with the specific intention of changing America's view of the war. That's exactly what they're doing.

The danger of that, though, is that they ultimately have to deliver. Middle America seems to be wearying of this - if, two weeks or a month from now, the bombs are still going off and U.S. soldiers are still dying at the same rate, people will get even MORE cynical about this administration.

Let Bush enjoy his 1-point bounce. Unless things actually do change, he's right back on the down escalator.
posted by kgasmart at 8:39 AM on June 15, 2006


Behold, your new Emmanuel Goldstein over at cnn.com right now.


posted by skallas at 8:53 AM on June 15, 2006


"The other day, I stopped three wars simply by shooting at Greg Stilson."

I knew the blue shield was #006699.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:54 AM on June 15, 2006


Behold, your new Emmanuel Goldstein over at cnn.com right now.

Are you shitting me. Well, obviously not.

But still, I can't believe it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:00 AM on June 15, 2006


Caldwell described al-Masri as "an explosives expert, specializing in the construction of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices," and that he went to Afghanistan to receive training before working with al-Zarqawi in Falluja.

Oh, drool!
posted by interrobang at 9:02 AM on June 15, 2006


What would be great if these documents ended up messing up the plans for Iran more---why should we do what Al Qaeda wants? (which is what Bush has been doing all along)

I wonder if anyone public will have the balls to ask that? Shouldn't it be common sense to do the opposite?
posted by amberglow at 9:04 AM on June 15, 2006


U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq Reach 2,500

Meanwhile, Islamic militants are taking over Somalia, opening the country up for al Qaeda recruiting. (This is another opportunity cost of invading Iraq; in 2002 al Qaeda wasn't in Somalia.)

The Islamic militants are defeating US-backed warlords, some of whom fought against the United States in 1993.

Behold, your new Emmanuel Goldstein over at cnn.com right now.
Behold, I linked that already.

posted by kirkaracha at 9:07 AM on June 15, 2006


oh, today we hit 2500 dead soldiers.
posted by amberglow at 9:07 AM on June 15, 2006


and since when does Al Qaeda actually produce documents for internal use that could at any point be intercepted, especially since the whole world knows we're spying on everyone including ourselves?

since they realized our government would swallow any bullshit they came up with
posted by pyramid termite at 9:11 AM on June 15, 2006


I wonder if anyone public will have the balls to ask that? Shouldn't it be common sense to do the opposite?

You see, amberglow, someone will ask that. The administration will then debunk these documents as misleading bait and we will fall into the Iocaine Conundrum.
posted by NationalKato at 9:17 AM on June 15, 2006


"This whole past week and a half has been an attempt at psyops - hence [...] Bush's [...] visit to Iraq"

They aren't that smart. This was a wild stunt cooked up in real time. I really think Bush's Iraq visit was the opening move in his new plan to leave Iraq before his term is up. It will play out the same way the build up to war happened - People will be pressured to say ridiculous things which he can then use as a wedge to do something dumb while claiming he was just using the best information at hand.

al-Maliki will start talking about how ready the Iraqi army is, The Pentagon will start tossing out numbers and claim the Iraqis are ready, Bush will use those quotes to claim we can victoriously pull out, we'll leave (roll "Victory In Iraq" headlines), violence and chaos will lead to a civil war. But....... Bush will have covered his ass.

Bush: "I'm shocked to find out the Iraqi government and military couldn't secure the country. Shocked!!!. I was told by everyone, EVERYONE, that they were ready. And besides, America doesn't get involved in nation building. So the Iraqis needed to have control over their own fate. And everyone said it was time to leave. EVERYONE."

And you know what? That fine by me. If his lies can get us out of Iraq, let the lying begin.
posted by Binkeeboo at 9:23 AM on June 15, 2006


Bush hires Baghdad Bob as new spokesman in Iraq.
posted by ericb at 9:23 AM on June 15, 2006


"No one could have anticipated that the Iraqi government and military couldn't secure the country."
posted by interrobang at 9:24 AM on June 15, 2006


If his lies can get us out of Iraq, let the lying begin continue apace.
posted by trondant at 9:33 AM on June 15, 2006


First, the U.S. is still occupying Afghanistan to "combat terrorism" there, we just don't hear much about it on TV anymore.

Second, anybody who believes that U.S. war-mongering against Iran was really an al Qaeda plot that will go away now should contact me about buying some fine beach-front property. Whether Iran gets invaded or not still depends on whether it will increase or decrease the U.S. oil and credit supply.

Third, this is the funniest thread I've seen around here in days. Goofy naivete is always worth a smirk.
posted by davy at 9:38 AM on June 15, 2006


The administration will then debunk these documents as misleading bait and we will fall into the Iocaine Conundrum.
posted by NationalKato

Well, we've already fallen for the Land War in Asia (Minor) bit...
posted by crataegus at 9:41 AM on June 15, 2006


"No one could have anticipated that the Iraqi government and military couldn't secure the country."

Ah, that's bullshit, everyone anticipates that the Iraqi government and military can't secure the country.

That's what I mean about delivering. This particular lie becomes plausible only if violence really dwindles in the interim - i.e., if it becomes clear (not just a P.R. stunt) that violence is actually on the wane, rather than us merely saying it's on the wane.
posted by kgasmart at 9:48 AM on June 15, 2006


Do you ever get the feeling that this entire debate is premised on fiction? I do.

It's gotten so that every strategy debate about Iraq comes off like a discussion of what will happen next season on the Sopranos, as if the whole premise being debated is a creation of the author's imagination. The story has got it all...pathos, tales of fuzzy morality, the protagonists villians and innocent bystanders and ambivalent heroes -- a drama so deep and complex with so many subplots you could get lost inside it. You could root for your favorite characters, or try to predict what might happen next...but no matter what, you would never allow yourself to miss a single episode.

It's as if the real story of the Iraq war is locked in some secret room in the Pentagon, and if we were granted access to it tomorrow, we'd feel very foolish for the passionate debates we had today, and the certainty we feel about our positions.

The only hole in the plot that's been created is the potential for future blowback -- in which case, a new twist in the cover story will serve as a substitute explanation to assuage the utter confusion of the home viewers and keep things on track. It'll probably even pick up some new devotees to the series, too -- a cliffhanger to increase ratings and seque into next season.
posted by edverb at 9:49 AM on June 15, 2006


Yeah, I have to agree with binkeeboo, that people on this thread are crediting Haliburton and Friends with way too much cleverness. Something about the way things have played out in the last 6 years makes me skeptical that Cheney and his pet president are capable of this level of psyops. I just don't buy it. They're not that competent, and so far, they haven't needed to be this clever. Just telling outright lies has worked fine with the American public so far. Why resort to clever machinations now?
posted by slatternus at 9:51 AM on June 15, 2006


First, the U.S. is still occupying Afghanistan to "combat terrorism" there, we just don't hear much about it on TV anymore.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan Deteriorates
"...no one appears to be noticing that Afghanistan -- remember Afghanistan, the poster child for Bush administration success in the global war on terrorism? -- is heading south at an alarming pace.

Mullah Omar's Taliban are on the comeback trail with a vengeance this summer, operating in well-armed and disciplined battalion-size units in the south. Drawing on the experience of the Iraqi insurgents, the Taliban forces are employing more sophisticated improvised explosive devices as well as mines and ambushes against Afghan government forces and foreign military and aid officials.This is happening just a month before U.S. forces are scheduled to begin turning over responsibility for that volatile region to some of our NATO allies.

To be sure, American air strikes have wreaked havoc on the larger Taliban units when they come out to fight. But the collateral damage, the death and destruction visited on nearby civilians, has grown as well.

The developments already have caused the Pentagon to delay or cancel plans to draw down U.S. forces by a brigade, or about 3,000 troops out of the estimated 18,000 now deployed in Afghanistan.

Many villagers in that impoverished region, fed up with waiting for things to get even a little bit better under the U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, have welcomed the return of the Taliban.

Why is this happening now, almost five years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, led to our invasion of Afghanistan and the quick overthrow of the fundamentalist Taliban regime? [more]

[Knight Ridder Newspapers | June 15, 2006]
Heckuva a job, Bushie over there in Afghanistan!
posted by ericb at 9:57 AM on June 15, 2006


This could backfire on the Republicans, since it's going to be extremely difficult to produce an illusion of a secure Iraq before the midterms.

I guess you haven't seen any news lately. Most headlines have been positive - describing Zarqawi's death, the apparent defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, President Bush's visit, and the new PM's efforts to enhance security.

Whether or not the reality has actually changed is irrelevant. The media and Bush supporters now have a story they can build on. Whether or not the momentum in Iraq has changed remains to be seen, but it definitely seems the momentum in the USA has.

The public has been quite clear about it's support for the war. When it goes well, they're for it. When it's a bloody mess, they're against it. You should prepare yourself for the distinct likelihood that the US public will again support Bush/Iraq war come November.
posted by b_thinky at 10:19 AM on June 15, 2006



The public has been quite clear about it's support for the war. When it goes well, they're for it. When it's a bloody mess, they're against it.

which ought to tell you just how deep and faithful the support of the war is among the public

we should all prepare ourselves for the distinct likelihood that we may have other problems on our minds by november

as far as fiction in iraq is concerned ... it really is getting to the point where no one's sure what's really going on
posted by pyramid termite at 10:35 AM on June 15, 2006


As an open source movement, al-Qa'ida in general isn't terribly concerned with its documents being intercepted. They don't rely on secrecy, but on volume. They've always operated in plain sight for anyone willing and able to read Arabic; the key to their strategy is that rhizome will always beat hierarchy, hands down, for information processing. So you can do all your stuff right out in the open, if you can get your hierarchical foe to try to crunch enough data. Once again, the phone tapping and similar measures feed right into that plan. It's fairly obvious our enemy knows us, but we know neither the enemy nor ourselves. From that, it's fairly easy to see who's "winning."
posted by jefgodesky at 10:37 AM on June 15, 2006


You should prepare yourself for the distinct likelihood that the US public will again support Bush/Iraq war come November.

I'm definitely prepared for it. In fact, I sometimes think it would be a good thing.

The Democratic Party, a Democratic congress, cannot pull us out of this quagmire. That's the quickest way to get Republicans to claim that it was Democrats who lost the war, who stabbed us in the back.

Let the Republcans have their fucking war, and everything about it. And you know, if Bush manages to come up with a brilliant strategy that ultimately realizes all of his/the country's pre-war aims, good for him. But if things continue to go south and the bloodshed continues - which is far more likely - let it hang around their necks.

And let the American public have no doubt whatsoever who really lost the war.
posted by kgasmart at 10:40 AM on June 15, 2006


The public has been quite clear about it's support for the war.

According the the MSNBC/Wall Street Journal poll released today, a majority of Americans "feel the decision to attack Iraq was the wrong decision," "the U.S. should reduce its current troop level in Iraq" and are "less confident the war in Iraq will come to a successful conclusion?"
posted by ericb at 10:45 AM on June 15, 2006


it's being widely reported that al Qa'ida "sought war between US and Iran."

Yes, well, they never take any option off the table, you know?
posted by Drexen at 10:45 AM on June 15, 2006


Reacting to the new milestone on combat deaths, White House press secretary Tony Snow said, "It's a number."
posted by NationalKato at 10:49 AM on June 15, 2006


jef, do you own a bridge? Have you ever considered the advantages of owning your very own bridge, perhaps one between Brooklyn and Manhattan? How cool would that be, huh? I can get you a really good deal on one.
posted by caddis at 10:53 AM on June 15, 2006


We'll defeat them Islamofascisterraists with the best damn photo-ops that FAUX News has ever seen!

we've turned a corner and things are really looking up.

Now watch this drive.

[cough]
posted by nofundy at 10:55 AM on June 15, 2006


The public has been quite clear about it's support for the war.

CBS News Poll. June 10-11, 2006:
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation with Iraq?" - 61 % - Disapprove.

"Do you think the result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq, or not?"- 62% - Not Worth It.

"Looking back, do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the U.S. have stayed out?" - 51% - Stayed Out.

"How would you say things are going for the U.S. in its efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq? Would you say things are going very well, somewhat well, somewhat badly, or very badly?" - 56% - Somewhat to Very Badly.

"Would you say there is a civil war going on in Iraq among different groups of Iraqis right now, or not?" - 82% - There Is.

As a result of the killing of al-Zarqawi, do you think the threat of terrorism against the United States will increase, decrease, or stay about the same?" - 61% - Same.
More poll results regarding Iraq from this past week (USA Today/Gallup Poll. June 9-11, 2006; CNN Poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. June 8-11, 2006, etc.) are here.
posted by ericb at 10:58 AM on June 15, 2006


Has everyone seen the massively pre-announced Bush bump in the polls?
Hell, yes, a whole damn point all the way up to 33%!

Did you say dead cats bounce higher?

Not only WORST. PRESIDENT. EVER. , but also wildly unpopular (shhh, don't tell the TV news channel GOP-good-hair stenographers.)
posted by nofundy at 11:01 AM on June 15, 2006


"The Democratic Party, a Democratic congress, cannot pull us out of this quagmire. That's the quickest way to get Republicans to claim that it was Democrats who lost the war, who stabbed us in the back."

Interesting. I've been very cranky lately about how happy the Democrats seem to be to just sit on their hands and only ladle out the minimum of rhetoric in place of actual policy or action. I mean wtf? It's almost like they don't want to take over the Congress or the presidency..........

Oh. Right. Why the hell would they? Iraq quagmire. Disastrous budget. Gas prices about to meltdown. Public education in tatters. In fact sitting on their hands for the next 6 years might not be a bad move politically. And if country gets screwed in the process? Well, that's just politics.

You know...... Sometimes I look at these countries who seem to be able to launch an armed popular revolt at the drop of a hat and feel some deep envy.
posted by Binkeeboo at 11:06 AM on June 15, 2006


"Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted [the the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in which Bush's approval rating increased by 1%] with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, calls the results a 'baby bounce' for Bush. 'The death of Zarqawi may have improved attitudes about ... the war,' he says. 'But I think it changed next to nothing toward the overall attitudes about the president ... and the upcoming elections.'

McInturff agrees. 'You can see a slight tick up. But you don't see any influence on Bush as of yet.'

According to the poll, 37 percent approve of Bush's job performance — an increase of one point since the last survey in April. This is the seventh straight NBC/Journal poll that has had Bush's job approval below 40 percent. Meanwhile, just 23 percent approve of Congress' job, while a whopping 64 percent disapprove.

...Asked which one or two issues will be most important in deciding their vote for Congress, 53 percent of registered voters said Iraq. That was followed by illegal immigration (at 32 percent), abortion (at 21 percent), and tax cuts (at 19 percent).

And whom do voters prefer in November? According to the poll, 49 percent of registered voters want a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 38 percent prefer Republicans to retain control.

...looking at all of these poll numbers, Hart compares the November elections to an iceberg for the GOP. 'The iceberg for the Republican Party is coming closer and closer,' he explains, adding that Republicans still have time to steer their ship away from it.

Yet as each month passes without a significant move to the left or the right, he says, that iceberg becomes harder and harder to avoid."

[MSNBC | June 15, 2006]
posted by ericb at 11:08 AM on June 15, 2006


Sometimes I look at these countries who seem to be able to launch an armed popular revolt at the drop of a hat and feel some deep envy.

Give it more time, Binkeeboo. As the National Guard gets thinned out by our wars and border policing, plus natural disasters, it'll be a lot easier to take to the streets.
posted by NationalKato at 11:09 AM on June 15, 2006


it'll be a lot easier to take to the streets

Damn it NK, you've just gone and tripped the NSA sensors!
posted by ericb at 11:11 AM on June 15, 2006


jefgodesky: It's fairly obvious our enemy knows us, but we know neither the enemy nor ourselves.

Right. al-Qaeda in Iraq is only one of four large insurgent groups identified by the International Crisis Group in a February 2006 report.

The other three: Jaysh Ansar al-Sunna (Partisans of the Sunna Army); Al-Jaysh al-Islami fil-’Iraq (the Islamic Army in Iraq); and Al-Jabha al-Islamiya lil-Muqawama al-’Iraqiya (the Islamic Front of the Iraqi Resistance), known by its initials as Jami’ (mosque or gathering).
posted by russilwvong at 11:21 AM on June 15, 2006


Not only WORST. PRESIDENT. EVER. , but also wildly unpopular (shhh, don't tell the TV news channel GOP-good-hair stenographers.)
I know--they're already calling him the comeback kid (a script they've had written for ages).


Meanwhile, the permanent bases are still being constructed. And i read last night that we're not going to release the oil there, nor rush to make sure it gets put into the pool--scarcity keeps the profits up.
posted by amberglow at 11:31 AM on June 15, 2006


I wonder if this amnesty is also an Al Qaeda thing? -- ....The time to use an amnesty to separate Iraqi nationalist insurgents from jihadis using Iraq as the frontline in their pan-Islamic war against the west was two years ago. The US-selected provisional government of Iyad Allawi tried this - but it was vetoed by a Bush administration opposed to pardoning any insurgent with American blood on his hands. President George W. Bush, on return from his flying visit to Baghdad, indicated that has not changed.

That is an understandable but unsustainable attitude. It is time Washington acknowledged its grievous mistakes in Iraq. It broke the back of the state by disbanding the regular army and by blanket de-Ba'athification that drove the hitherto dominant Sunni Arab minority into armed opposition.

A broad-based but targeted amnesty to reunify Iraqis and isolate the extremists may be the last chance to save the country from breaking up into a series of warring states run by militias. An amnesty is indispensable, even if it may not be enough. ...

posted by amberglow at 11:34 AM on June 15, 2006


In fact sitting on their hands for the next 6 years might not be a bad move politically. And if country gets screwed in the process? Well, that's just politics.

The Democrats will get no credit for "saving" the country even if they were able to do so, and they will get all of the blame for things that Republicans fucked up too much for anyone to save.
posted by kgasmart at 11:35 AM on June 15, 2006


Damn it NK, you've just gone and tripped the NSA sensors!

They'll just have to add it to my burgeoning file. I've documented yearly School of the Americas protests, spent time volunteering for the Independent Media Center, and toured the country in a biodeisel station wagon screening subversive films.

I figure they're on to me already.
posted by NationalKato at 11:42 AM on June 15, 2006


Did we end two wars in one blow?


You mean, two unnecessary wars?

It's sad when the actions of al Qaeda are what enables us to avoid unnecessary wars. I thought our leadership was supposed to be doing that as a matter of course.

I guess they've abdicated the initiative entirely to the terrorists for some time, though.
posted by darkstar at 11:55 AM on June 15, 2006


Most headlines have been positive - describing Zarqawi's death, the apparent defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, President Bush's visit, and the new PM's efforts to enhance security.

Sure, the headlines are positive this week. The election's in November. I don't believe it'll be possible to develop an illusion of a secure Iraq before then.

By then US military fatalities in Afghanistan (303 as of today) and Iraq (2,500 as of today) will most likely have passed the number killed (2,986) on September the 11th.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:06 PM on June 15, 2006


the apparent defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq

Officials Worried that al Qaeda Could Merge with Zarqawi's Group
U.S. counterterrorism officials are concerned about the merger of al Qaeda's central organization and its offshoot in Iraq, even with the death of terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Senate panel was told Tuesday.

"Eliminating Zarqawi is clearly a major step forward," retired Vice Adm. John Scott Redd, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said in his testimony. "But both al Qaeda and (al Qaeda in Iraq) will continue on with their deadly work."

...intelligence agencies also are paying close attention to other Sunni Muslim terrorist groups that are inspired by al Qaeda...

[CNN | June 13, 2006]
posted by ericb at 12:46 PM on June 15, 2006


Maybe we should be more concerned about Turkey.
posted by homunculus at 5:02 PM on June 15, 2006


...The benefits of Iran-hysteria to the Bush administration are obvious. Of greatest importance is the fact that, to the extent the administration can once again create an atmosphere of danger and even panic, it serves to distract attention from the calamitous consequences of their past and present actions. Interestingly, much of the American public doesn't seem to be buying the Iran propaganda -- at least, not yet. And I would find the public's infinitely more sensible and accurate assessment of the danger a cause for hope, except for the fact that the administration doesn't give a damn what the public thinks in that sense. Moreover, our criminally incompetent media have learned next to nothing from their numerous errors during the propaganda onslaught about Iraq, and they still unthinkingly parrot administration talking points. So when the administration decides to ratchet up the Iran propaganda, the media will transmit and amplify the lies just as they did before.
And when the hysteria reaches a certain point -- with cries of "appeasement" and "cowardice" targeted at all those who even question the government line, causing most of the administration's opponents (and almost all Washington Democrats) to slink away in fear and shut up -- the public may well finally go grudgingly along. If there are no significant public voices to protest the administration's insanity, exactly who or what is the public going to rally around in opposition, even if they were so inclined?
All in all, it is quite a spectacle: we are supposed to be horrified at the depths of evil revealed by the insurgents' plans "to escalate the tension between America and Iran" -- when that is precisely what our own government is and has been doing with absolute consistency. ...

posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on June 15, 2006


Meanwhile, Afghanistan Deteriorates

Ah, but they've just launched Operation Mount and Thrust.
posted by Neiltupper at 10:59 PM on June 15, 2006


It's interesting that the press doesn't seem to mention much that in the house with Zarqawi were two women and a five year old girl, possibly Zarqawi's wife and child. Yet, instead of sending in troops to deal with the situation and prevent the loss of innocent life, they dropped two 500 pound bombs on them all. I wonder how many little girls are acceptable as casualties before "bomb em!" becomes "okay maybe we should think about this a second".
posted by nightchrome at 11:30 PM on June 15, 2006


"I am at war. I have been all my life. And I would kill a million little girls to win."

Starr must really be working for Rumsfeld.
posted by homunculus at 12:12 AM on June 16, 2006


Thanks for Silber's article, amberglow.
posted by homunculus at 12:20 AM on June 16, 2006


Pentagon confirms Iranian directorate as officials raise new concerns about war: Current military and former intelligence officials remain concerned about a US-led strike on Iran, despite the recent appearance of diplomacy on the part of the US State Department and the offer of an incentives package to Iran.
posted by homunculus at 12:25 AM on June 16, 2006


Good to see that the Democrats are in agreement with the Republicans against ending the civil war in Iraq, if it means a loss of face for the US.

"It is shocking that (Maliki) is reportedly considering granting amnesty to insurgents who have killed U.S. troops," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada in a statement, "The mere idea that this proposal may go forward is an insult to the brave men and women who have died in the name of Iraqi freedom."
posted by froghopper at 6:17 AM on June 16, 2006


The Washington Post scrubbed a paragraph from that article that said:
In an interview in early April, Humam Hamoudi, a leading member of Iraq's largest Shiite religious party, said officials from the U.S. Embassy had raised the prospect of amnesty offers "for those who have not killed innocent Iraqis." The embassy has never confirmed such a proposal.
Several Senate Republicans support Maliki's amnesty plan.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:43 AM on June 16, 2006


i love Silber, homunculus--he's brilliant and usually exactly right.
posted by amberglow at 4:10 PM on June 16, 2006


"weeks, not months"--June 06, about Iran

"weeks, not months"--Feb 03, about Iraq
posted by amberglow at 4:13 PM on June 16, 2006


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