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July 7, 2006 4:39 PM   Subscribe

A daily intelligence brief on Iraq, prepared by a private contractor for the U.S. military and companies working in Iraq--SOC-SMG Inc --paints a grim picture of life in Baghdad. The information in large sections of the brief? It came from this blog: Iraq the Model
posted by amberglow (129 comments total)

 
It's not plagiarism, it's intelligence-gathering from a "variety of sources".
posted by scrump at 4:58 PM on July 7, 2006


This is not my fist up their arse, it is gathering evidence of lack of prostatic problems.
posted by elpapacito at 5:03 PM on July 7, 2006


Psst! Theres more "top secret info" over here!
posted by Artw at 5:04 PM on July 7, 2006


Bit of a derail, but for all the complaining I hear about how the MSM (the MSM of Judy "WMD" Miller, natch) only covers the bad things in Iraq and not the good things (all those schools, all those hospitals, all those well-fed children), why doesn't a psy-Ops group simply throw up some Potemkin-style villages? It would be really easy to do, comparatively, and not cost all that much (it would be far cheaper than the daily cost of running some of the air-conditioned bases that already exist).

I get the sinking feeling that this occupation is so inept that even the simplest forms of PR management are beyond the abilities of Rumsfeld and those below him.

There's also the distinct possibility that things are so bad right now that trying to do even the simplest PR exercise outside of the Green Zone is impossible. And frankly, that doesn't speak well of the most powerful military force on the planet. Or their commanding officers at least.
posted by bardic at 5:14 PM on July 7, 2006


Metafilter: not the fist up your arse.
posted by scrump at 5:22 PM on July 7, 2006




It's not surprising at all that the military controls reporters through the embed system. What's surprising is that even with total control, they're unable to get out positive stories either due to rank incompetence or a disastrous security situation (which is related to the first).

I guess this puts me in the strange situation of saying something to my government along the lines of, Jesus Christ guys, get your act together and at least give me some of the propaganda I grew accustomed to during the end of the 20th century.

Not because I want disinformation, but because it would be nice to think that there's at least a single thing the US occupying force can do properly during this clusterfuck. I mean, PR has been a basic military requirement since WWII. If they can't fake good news, they can't really claim to provide real good news, ever, can they?

/cynicalfilter
posted by bardic at 5:42 PM on July 7, 2006


Item #4,934,879,343 in the long list of evidence that contracting private companies to conduct warfare is an astonishingly, jaw-droppingly, gob-smackingly idiotic idea.

The stupid, it hurts.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 5:47 PM on July 7, 2006


It turned out that a large part of the UK's intel before the war was plagerized from someone's grad paper, except with some words changed to make them scarier sounding.
posted by delmoi at 6:16 PM on July 7, 2006


for real, delmoi?
posted by amberglow at 6:20 PM on July 7, 2006


heh, now you can't even copy text from a pro-neocon blog without painting a grim picture of Iraq. SNAFU.
posted by mr.marx at 6:20 PM on July 7, 2006


amberglow: yup.
posted by mr.marx at 6:22 PM on July 7, 2006


man, Iraq the Model's blogroll is depressing reading. Several posters have bugged out of Iraq, including the Healing Iraq bloke. This one has a story of a guy who survived a NKVD-style bullet to the nape of the neck from the Baathists in 1991 only to die in a sectarian hit this year.

Riverbend is notable by her absence from Iraq the Model's blogroll. Which is kinda ironic, for I gather that ItM himself has become something of an unperson among the warbloggers who find his increasing pessimism dissonant with their particular narrative of our Iraq adventure.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:31 PM on July 7, 2006


not SNAFU, FUBAR. But it did not necessarily have to be this way.

It struck me recently that the neocons should have declared a month-long national holiday in Iraq in 2003 -- bring in tons of ice cream, top Western recording artists and rappers, basically throw a 10 billion dollar party to get the occupation off on the right foot.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:34 PM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


astonishing about the UK thing--i'd expect it from us, but a student paper?

Heywood, it would have riled up the clerics too much--they should have airdropped electricians and construction people to immediately rebuild every single thing we bombed to hell. They still only have electricity 5-10% of the day in Baghdad.
posted by amberglow at 6:43 PM on July 7, 2006


On the positive side, for the first time today an entire province, Muthanna, 1 of 18, is fully in charge of its own security. Another one was given over to full military control, but with some police assistance.

Total Iraqi security forces are about 60,000 short of their goal of 300,000 trained personnel. 30-man concrete border forts have been built along the Syrian border, and along the northern Iranian border. Now, since most smuggling is from Iran through its central border, coalition forces have moved en masse to disrupt that trade.

Iraq is now exporting more oil than it was before the war.

The major campaign to restore security to Baghdad has resulted in far fewer car bombings, and just today the leader of a violent Shiite militia loyal to al-Sadr was arrested and about 20-30 of his militia were killed in an operation planned and executed entirely by Iraqi forces.

The number of US casualties has dropped precipitously, as more and more they remain on their bases except to assist Iraqi forces in their ongoing operations.

Yes, indeed. It is hot in Iraq in summer. Which says very little about what all else is going on.
posted by kablam at 7:22 PM on July 7, 2006


It struck me recently that the neocons should have declared a month-long national holiday in Iraq in 2003 -- bring in tons of ice cream, top Western recording artists and rappers, basically throw a 10 billion dollar party to get the occupation off on the right foot.

That is absolutely fucking brilliant!! I hope you are paid three figures a year!

That is, of course what we SHOULD have done, Let MTV be in charge of the occupation.

I'm serious.

It'll be KFC and X-box that coverts Iraqis before it'll be rifles and rapes, of that I'm positive.
posted by Balisong at 7:42 PM on July 7, 2006


Something that I noticed is the reference to pajamasmedia, otherwise known as rightwing propaganda R Us. Check out all the right wing links on the right like Little Green Snotballs, Volokh Conspiracy, etc. This site reeks of disinformation.
posted by mk1gti at 7:46 PM on July 7, 2006


no, thanks.
posted by Balisong at 7:48 PM on July 7, 2006


One thing I've convinced myself:
There is no partisanship.

Either you are on one side or the other, anymore

You are either singing to the choir, or taunting the enemy.

(Metafilter: You are either singing to the choir, or taunting the enemy.)

/Back to your regular scheduled Dios, Circumsision, Bush, Declawing, Christian, Neocon, Mac user derail.
posted by Balisong at 7:53 PM on July 7, 2006


It struck me recently that the neocons should have declared a month-long national holiday in Iraq in 2003 -- bring in tons of ice cream, top Western recording artists and rappers, basically throw a 10 billion dollar party to get the occupation off on the right foot.

Any plan would have been better then no plan.
posted by delmoi at 7:59 PM on July 7, 2006


kablam--
you forgot to add 'in another six months, everything will be peachy teriffico'
If your're gonna GET WITH THE PROGRAM, then KEEP WITH THE PROGRAM!
posted by hexatron at 8:13 PM on July 7, 2006


mk1gti

as I hinted at above, yes, Iraq the Model was quite the go-to for post-facto no-WMD self-justification for the bubble-dwelling warbloggers, until ItM started falling away from the party line and noting how spectacularly wrong the occupation/civil affairs was going. Most of the INC peeps on ItM's side had no love lost for the Baathist resistance, but it was when the nutcase Shiites were elected that he basically emitted a plaintive help me that indicated that Iraq the Model wasn't just a CIA psy-op, but a real person experiencing a crisis of confidence in the wisdom of forceable liberation.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:29 PM on July 7, 2006


heh, kablam's mefi posts indicate he is the program :)
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:37 PM on July 7, 2006


Iraq is now exporting more oil than it was before the war.

Really? In US Dollar value? Including the oil shipped over the border which was not part of the UN program?

Or, are you just making a claim and hoping no one notices that your claim is bogus?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:03 PM on July 7, 2006


Hey, rough ashlar, I heard that, too.
Something like 25 million barrels a day.
I have no frame of reference to check if this is even close to pre-war output, or if it was just a propaganda fluff piece.
posted by Balisong at 9:07 PM on July 7, 2006


Everyday I look at these Iraqi blogs seeking something like truth; often, I am relieved to find the authors alive and posting:

A Star from Mosul


Baghdad Burning

IRAQ THE MODEL

Where Date Palms Grow

I look at other sources for something like truth about Iraq, too; but, these kids are in it.

P fucking S:

Haditha: General Faults Marine Response to Iraq Killings, July 7, 2006.
posted by taosbat at 9:15 PM on July 7, 2006


Something like 25 million barrels a day.

Exactly WHERE are the drilling rigs coming from to support the 25 million claim?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:17 PM on July 7, 2006


rough ashlar: kablam is just throwing out the few available factoids that support his increasingly fragile worldview; that more oil is being transshipped from Iraq now than in 2003 has little bearing on the realities of the ground.

Anybody sanguine about the present state of affairs in Iraq is clearly a kool aid drinker; from what I see the hope for any progress now is that the various factions just get tired of killing each other. History does not provide much light on how these kinds of civil wars turn out, but I suppose the Pakistan/India partition is the closest analogue.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:47 PM on July 7, 2006


that more oil is being transshipped from Iraq now than in 2003 has little bearing on the realities of the ground.

I believe the claim was 'more oil shipped than before the war'.

But lets see if he shows back up to defend what he said.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:56 PM on July 7, 2006


Yeah!! I bet if we gang up, we can really make that guy PAY!!
posted by Balisong at 10:44 PM on July 7, 2006


I looked it up and the BBC says the Iraq Oil minister claims they are shipping 2.5M bpd out, which is indeed more than the 2.0M bpd the CIA factbook claims was Iraq's output up to the invasion/liberation, and just about twice as much as what it had fallen to late last year.

Taking the claim as true, that the southern fields are pumping and the pipelines are piping again is of course not bad news, but is not exactly a sign of a sea-change in the increasingly downward spiral that has been our Iraq misadventure.

It is just a useless statistic that propagandists and pinheads seize on to paint a dishonest picture of reality. The fpp is not a post on how bad the oil export situation is in Iraq, it's about the 'grim picture of life' in Baghdad.

Just for fun, I fact-checked the other 'good news' talking-points from kaboom:

Muthanna is fully in charge of its own security.

Muthanna is mostly desert, with the lowest population and very low density: 6.1 persons per sq km, in the Iraqi backwater hinterland adjacent to the KSA (the part of BFE where our outflanking manuever in 1991 was assembled and launched).

In short, there's precious little to "secure" in the Muthanna governate.

Total Iraqi security forces are about 60,000 short of their goal of 300,000 trained personnel.

This is good news?

30-man concrete border forts have been built along the Syrian border, and along the northern Iranian border.

LOL. One must assume these strongpoints have been painted in colors coordinating with all the rebuilt schools.

Now, since most smuggling is from Iran through its central border, coalition forces have moved en masse to disrupt that trade.

uhuh.

Iraq is now exporting more oil than it was before the war.

Which is progress, but says more about the security of the southern oil fields and terminals than the situation in Baghdad.

The major campaign to restore security to Baghdad has resulted in far fewer car bombings

Even there have been "far fewer" bombings in Baghdad this is illogical drivel, as correlation is not necessarily causation. At any rate, short of outlawing driving altogether (which actually has been put into effect during Friday prayer-time now), car bombing is

and just today the leader of a violent Shiite militia loyal to al-Sadr was arrested and about 20-30 of his militia were killed in an operation planned and executed entirely by Iraqi forces.

drop meets bucket, alas. But this is in fact "good news", indeed, one needs to look pretty hard these days to find it.

The number of US casualties has dropped precipitously, as more and more they remain on their bases except to assist Iraqi forces in their ongoing operations.

Yes, this is an obvious equation of COIN, hunkering down == less casualties. cf. SVN, 1970-72.

Yes, indeed. It is hot in Iraq in summer. Which says very little about what all else is going on.

I just find the kaboom wingnut perspective so ... alien. Do these people have a functioning brain? Or is it more like a reptile brain, focused on fear Fear FEAR hate Hate HATE 24/7, with little room for empathy or actual rationality...
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:44 PM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


...sorry, "car bombing is a hard tactic to counter".
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:46 PM on July 7, 2006


we're building massive permanent bases, and we're spreading the "green zone" concept to more places there, too: ...So it goes in Ramadi, the epicenter of the Iraqi insurgency and the focus of a grinding struggle between the American forces and the guerrillas.

In three years here the Marine Corps and the Army have tried nearly everything to bring this provincial capital of 400,000 under control. Nothing has worked.

Now American commanders are trying something new.
Instead of continuing to fight for the downtown, or rebuild it, they are going to get rid of it, or at least a very large part of it.
They say they are planning to bulldoze about three blocks in the middle of the city, part of which has been reduced to ruins by the fighting, and convert them into a Green Zone, a version of the fortified and largely stable area that houses the Iraqi and American leadership in Baghdad.
The idea is to break the bloody stalemate in the city by ending the struggle over the battle-scarred provincial headquarters that the insurgents assault nearly every day. The Government Center will remain, but the empty space around it will deny the guerrillas cover to attack. "We'll turn it into a park," said Col. Sean MacFarland.
Ramadi, a largely Sunni Arab city, is regarded by American commanders as the key to securing Anbar Province, now the single deadliest place for American soldiers in Iraq. Many neighborhoods here are only nominally controlled by the Americans, offering sanctuaries for guerrillas....

posted by amberglow at 11:29 PM on July 7, 2006


In June, CSIS gave Iraq's stability and security an "overall grade of F" {pdf}. They say of the DoD quarterly report to Congress,
Like the State Department weekly status report on Iraq, however, it is deeply flawed. It does more than simply spin the situation to provide false assurances. It makes basic analytical and statistical mistakes, fails to define key terms, provides undefined and unverifiable survey information, and deals with key issues by omission.
posted by dhartung at 11:40 PM on July 7, 2006


I looked it up and the BBC says the Iraq Oil minister claims they are shipping 2.5M bpd out, which is indeed more than the 2.0M bpd the CIA factbook claims was Iraq's output up to the invasion/liberation, and just about twice as much as what it had fallen to late last year.

So?

In 1987 petroleum continued to dominate the Iraqi economy, accounting for more than one-third of nominal gross national product (GNP--see Glosssary) and 99 percent of merchandise exports. Prior to the war, Iraq's oil production had reached 3.5 million bpd (barrels per day--see Glossary), and its exports had stood at 3.2 million bpd. In the opening weeks of the Iran-Iraq War, however, Iraq's two main offshore export terminals in the Persian Gulf, Mina al Bakr and Khawr al Amayah, were severely damaged by Iranian attacks, and in 1988 they remained closed.

Looks like the output BEFORE the war has not been met.

Ka-blab-o is still wrong.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:16 AM on July 8, 2006


It turned out that a large part of the UK's intel before the war was plagerized from someone's grad paper

That would be the "dodgy dossier", right? I'm not sure I'd grace it with the name "intel", since it had nothing much to do with an intelligence agencies and everything to do with political flacks building a case for war, presumably with google as their main tool.
posted by Artw at 6:26 AM on July 8, 2006


rough ashlar - different wars, surely?
posted by Artw at 6:58 AM on July 8, 2006




US military fatalities in Iraq "dropped precipitously" from 55 in February 2006 to 31 in March. Then they rose to 76 in April, 69 in May, and 62 in June.

The major campaign to restore security to Baghdad has resulted in far fewer car bombings
After the major campaign, insurgents set up roadblocks in Baghdad and the government declared a state of emergency and instituted a curfew. Which didn't prevent a car bomb that killed over 60 people, or keep a parliament member from getting kidnapped along with her eight bodyguards.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:21 AM on July 8, 2006


rough ashlar - different wars, surely?
posted by Artw at 6:58 AM PST


Not so much. What makes a 'war' end so a new 'war' can begin?

If you were in a nation where another nation was flying over, enforcing sanctions, at times dropping bombs - would you consider the 'old' 'war' over?

Doesn't change that Iraq was producing/exporting FAR more oil before the Slant drilling/April Glaspi/invasion/PR stunts of babies being dumped out/counter-invasion/sanctions/WMD kerfuffle.

To claim "progress" because oil is up from 2003, is as useful as bragging about how you beat up a guy - while he was held down.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:34 AM on July 8, 2006


Heywood Mogroot: Yet your world view is based not on facts, but solely on sour-grapes derision. "Okay, so they killed Zarqwari. He didn't matter." "So they're pumping more oil now. That doesn't change anything." etc, ad nauseum.

Simply stating that the positive doesn't matter, that only unspecified negative things matter, is hardly an argument.

The article states that Iraq is miserable in summer. I don't think there is any disputing that. Large parts of Texas are miserable in summer.

Iraq may be a spiral, but it is an outward spiral, not an inward one. The Sunni insurgency has been heavily whumped, so the next problematic group are the militias, and Iranian provacateurs.

But this is a sea change. The militias are not in revolt against the government. They are sectarian. Importantly, this takes much of the pressure off the new government, and turns the reduction of the militias into a political and police matter. Right now, the government is bargaining to have the militias integrated into the military.

Fighting militias means that for the time being, the "insurgency" has petered out. Killing Zarqwari and the subsequent capture of over 100 al-Qaeda and ex-Baathist middle and upper-level organizational personnel may not destroy what is left of the insurgency, but it has been severely damaged.

If you do respond, try to give an objective list of what you think is wrong, and why. From the perspective of nation building, could it destroy their country? And if such a problem exists, is there no effort to mitigate it that you can see?

These are reasoned arguments. Make some.
posted by kablam at 9:40 AM on July 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Fighting militias means that for the time being, the "insurgency" has petered out.

That's patently untrue-- read my link to the Ramadi story.
posted by amberglow at 10:22 AM on July 8, 2006


kablam, feel free to link to sources. We've been through this before.

If anything, I'm curious as to where you get your disinformation from.
posted by bardic at 10:23 AM on July 8, 2006


The Potato insurgency has been defeated!

Long live the Potatoe republic!
posted by Balisong at 10:27 AM on July 8, 2006


But at least you admit the US is involved in "Nation building." What was your opinion when Clinton sent troops to Somalia and (the former) Yugoslavia? I have a hard time believing you where cheering this on.

(And now I'm assuming you're a Republican, which is a bit unfair of me, but that's the impression that I get. Shorter question: Why is it that Bush II is a great visionary when he engages in nation building, but a Democratic president is a wasteful, profligate, irresponsible one when he does it on a much smaller and much more reasonable level (Yugoslavia didn't need a whole new infrastructure built, we had multiple allies in the region, etc.)).
posted by bardic at 10:34 AM on July 8, 2006


Yet your world view is based not on facts, but solely on sour-grapes derision

My world view has stood me in good stead these past 4 years, as events have proceeded as I expected.

You'd like to turn this into a cassandra vs polly-anna pissing match, but the words we say here mean nothing. Events are proceeding apace.

From the perspective of nation building, could it destroy their country?

I have no clue what things are going to look like in 2 years time.

All that I know is that going in (like we did) was a mistake, and killing innocent people is a BIG mistake, and we have killed a lot of innocent people over the past 3 years in Iraq.

And if such a problem exists, is there no effort to mitigate it that you can see?

My best bud from college is on the ground in Camp Anaconda right in the middle of this mitigation effort. I expect to learn exactly how well my "sour-grapes derision" accords with the military facts on the ground, in a year or three.

kablam, your problem is that the issue in Iraq is bigger than any number you can pull out of your ass or from the pinheads at NRO and the other warblogging sites. Real people are being pushed into extreme situations by our actions in Iraq. Just read Iraq the Model's blogroll. While he pointedly has excluded Riverbend, the negativity from his secular, liberty-loving friends in Iraq is just soulkilling.

Thanks Ralph.

which is a bit unfair of me, but that's the impression that I get

given that our friend was first to mefi with the suppressed Swift Boats Veterans for Truth untold story, that kablam is a GOP party apparatchik should not be a great leap of logic.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:58 AM on July 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Brookings Institute's Iraq Index (July 5, 2006) [PDF]:
"The Iraq Index is a statistical compilation of economic, public opinion, and security data. This resource will provide updated information on various criteria, including crime, telephone and water service, troop fatalities, unemployment, Iraqi security forces, oil production, and coalition troop strength."
posted by ericb at 11:22 AM on July 8, 2006


Iraq is now exporting more oil than it was before the war
Estimated pre-war crude oil production -- 2.5 million barrels/day

June 2006 pre-war crude oil production -- 2.3 1 million barrels/day

(page 30 - Brookings Institute Iraq Index)
The major campaign to restore security to Baghdad has resulted in far fewer car bombings
Car bombs in Iraq

Jan 06 - 60
Feb 06 -71
Mar 06 - 71
Apr 06 - 71
May 06 - 75

(page 9 - Brookings Institue Iraq Index)
posted by ericb at 11:39 AM on July 8, 2006


*June 2006 pre-war crude oil production*
posted by ericb at 11:40 AM on July 8, 2006


That's a hell of a report, ericb.

It's hard to find anything in it that could even be spun as good news, unless you are a professional, like Limbaugh, Rove, or Maytag.
posted by Balisong at 12:29 PM on July 8, 2006


Brookings impartial? Perhaps not.

"Brookings has in recent years shifted back to the political left, particularly in its foreign policy positions. Condemning President Bush's Iraq policy, Brookings recently hosted Senator Edward Kennedy in an event aimed at discrediting the war. As the 2004 Presidential election neared, the Institution's Fellows endorsed Democratic candidate John Kerry's call for a "more sensitively" fought war on terrorism.

The Brookings Institution's President since 2002 has been Strobe Talbott, who served as President Clinton's Deputy Secretary of State, and who has argued that the U.S. should adopt a multilateral approach to foreign policy that would make American security measures subject to United Nations approval.

The Brookings Board of Trustees features Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of John Kerry; Zoe Baird, failed Clinton appointee for Attorney General; and Lawrence Summers, former Harvard President and U.S. Treasury Secretary at the end of the Clinton administration."
posted by kablam at 7:48 PM on July 8, 2006


You missed playing the traitor card, kablam. Please try harder.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:27 PM on July 8, 2006


kablam -- Brookings impartial? Perhaps not.

So are their numbers "cooked?" Can you provide other resources and references to counter their findings? If so, please post them to back up your claims. I'm honestly interested in finding clarity on the real condition/situation in Iraq.

BTW -- from where does your quote regarding the Brookings Institute come? I have done numerous Google searches on key phrases/sentences to locate the source and come up with nothing. For example your opening phrase ""Brookings has in recent years shifted back to the political left" yields nothing on Google.
posted by ericb at 8:56 PM on July 8, 2006


Official Energy Statistics from the US Government
"Iraqi production is currently around 1.9 million bbl/d, well below pre-war levels of around 2.6 million bbl/d."
posted by jaronson at 8:58 PM on July 8, 2006


The Brookings Board of Trustees features......

Let's look at other Board Members of The Brookings Institution:
Alan R. Batkin, Vice President of Kissinger Associates, Inc.

Geoffrey T. Boisi -- "Among his varied interests and pursuits, the soft-spoken Boisi is a Republican Party fundraising machine."

Arthur B. Culvahouse -- "Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr. was selected by President George W. Bush to be a member of the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board.

Kenneth M. Duberstein -- "Kenneth M. Duberstein was chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan (1988-89), and deputy chief of staff (1987). He served as the deputy assistant and then assistant to the president for legislative affairs (1981-83)."

Richard W. Fisher -- "Richard W. Fisher is the Managing Director of Kissinger McLarty Associates, in partnership with Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State for Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford"

Lee H. Hamilton -- "Hamilton was appointed to President George Walker Bush's Homeland Security Advisory Council."
There are many more Republicans on the board, as well as Democrats. As one of the first "think tanks" (founded over 90 years ago) Brookings has always been regarded as "independent" and "non-partisan." After all it's their 140 resident and nonresident scholars who conduct their rigorous research independent of their board members.
posted by ericb at 9:24 PM on July 8, 2006


Yet your world view is based not on facts,

Yes, you should tell us ALL about fact, right?

Because you have 'em eh? Like oil production?


Simply stating that the positive doesn't matter, that only unspecified negative things matter, is hardly an argument.

VS claiming 'things are better' like

Mission accomplished

Jan. 6, 2004 – Coalition forces have "turned the corner" in western Iraq, said Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr.

March 28, 2005
We've turned the corner in Iraq

Arthur Chrenkoff has a slew of good news from Iraq and just from the past 2 weeks!

Monday, December 19, 2005; Page A14
BAGHDAD, Dec. 18 -- Violence and civil unrest surged across Iraq on Sunday as Vice President Cheney made his first visit here in more than a decade, praising what he called the "remarkable" turnout by voters in nationwide elections Thursday and telling U.S. troops that the country had "turned the corner."

And somehow THIS time its different than the last time a 'turned the corner' happened?

One of the articles of faith you offered was more oil production. What will you do when the other articles are shown to be useless?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:00 PM on July 8, 2006


Brookings impartial? Perhaps not.

kablam -- Perhaps you should read the report to see that the Brookings Institution has many sources on which they rely for their findings -- many of them official government reports.

For example the "Estimated pre-war crude oil production of 2.5 million barrels/day and the June 2006 crude oil production of 2.31 million barrels/day" comes from the State Department:
"Iraq Weekly Status Report, Department of State. The numbers for crude oil production, diesel, kerosene, gasoline/benzene, and liquid petroleum gas represent average data from the entire month, and are thus based on multiple Weekly Status Reports. The crude oil export reflects the total for the month."

Footnote 61 on page 57 of the [PDF]. Brookings Institution Iraq Index
posted by ericb at 10:00 PM on July 8, 2006


funny how we were talking about Baghdad bloggers and their declining morale, then all of a sudden the thread devolved into how many million bpd Iraq is producing and how many Republicans are on the Brookings BOD.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:16 PM on July 8, 2006


So the moral of the story is; If you turn enough corners, you end up back where you started. No better off, just wasted time.
posted by Balisong at 10:20 PM on July 8, 2006


Heywood Mogroot -- exactly.

It's interesting, though, how out-of-touch with "facts" are the Bush/Iraq apologists. It's so easy to counter their "supposed claims."

Yes - it is time to return to the original discussion and to avoid the derail.
posted by ericb at 10:22 PM on July 8, 2006


Regarding declining morale among bloggers in Iraq, life there gets ever more challenging for others:

Iraq: A Deadly Name Game
"In Iraq these days, the wrong name can get you killed. By law, all Iraqis carry jinsiyas, or national ID cards. But in a country where your ethnicity can make you a target, a jinsiya can become a death warrant. If your name is Omar you're likely a Sunni Muslim, named after a seventh-century imam despised by Shiites. If you're Amar or Aamer, pronounced almost the same, you could be from either sect. If you're Ali, you're probably Shiite. As a result, many Iraqis have started carrying two jinsiyas—a real one, and a fake one linking them to the rival sect. (Iraqis typically know which to present, depending on whether the checkpoint is in a Sunni or Shiite neighborhood.) 'I still like the old name, but it's wise now to abandon it,' says Omar Y., who carries a second jinsiya with the neutral name Aamer and who declined to give his last name out of concern for his safety."

[Newsweek | July 17, 2006 issue]
posted by ericb at 10:31 PM on July 8, 2006


list of 'issues' with the occupation of Iraq

Looks like the number of issues is increasing. But I'm sure the ka-BLAB-o's of the world have the truth as to why such an increase is a good thing, right?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:38 PM on July 8, 2006


rough ashlar: ah, the personal attack. Metafilter leftist, all right.

As far as the suggestion that Brookings is credible, I will just respond by saying that "it doesn't matter", much as like your collectively saying that oil doesn't matter, and that schools don't matter, and that killing Zarqwari doesn't matter, and that the insurgency being replaced by sectarian violence doesn't matter, and that US casualties dropping doesn't matter, and that more and more of Iraqi security being turned over to Iraqis doesn't matter.

Face it, there are times when no matter how hard you might wish for destruction and chaos, that Bush will somehow be destroyed and democrats catapulted into power, and that Tinkerbell will somehow live--it ain't gonna happen.

So all that remains is self-delusion, and furtive efforts to re-write history. Good luck with that.
posted by kablam at 6:53 AM on July 9, 2006




Face it, there are times when no matter how hard you might wish for destruction and chaos, that Bush will somehow be destroyed and democrats catapulted into power, and that Tinkerbell will somehow live--it ain't gonna happen.

When one's opinions are based entirely on a personal attraction to an individual, it's easy to imagine that anyone who doesn't agree with you is acting out of hate for that individual.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:47 AM on July 9, 2006


kablam, do you know how the link function works? Please wow us with your treasure trove of reality whenever you're ready.
posted by bardic at 7:51 AM on July 9, 2006


Gunmen kill 40 Sunnis in rampage:
Gunmen roaming a Baghdad neighborhood on Sunday killed at least 40 unarmed Iraqis as soon as they identified them as Sunnis, emergency police said.
Since that's sectarian violence, is it supposed to be good news?

killing Zarqwari doesn't matter
Well, it will keep him from calling Iraqi government officials he had on speed-dial on his cell phone.

US casualties dropping
I've already shown that casualties aren't dropping. If you want to claim the opposite, show us some backup for your claim.

no matter how hard you might wish for destruction and chaos
I wish none of this destruction and chaos was happening. I wish we hadn't invaded Iraq and caused the chaos and destruction in the first place. I'll readily acknowledge that what I wish for is as likely as Tinkerbell appearing.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:40 AM on July 9, 2006


ah I see the traitor card finally hit the table.

Funny thing is, I really, really didn't want to see 20,000+ US servicemen get fucked up and the taxpayer stuck with a $1,000,0000,000,000+ bill in a boneheaded attempt to forceably save the Iraqis from themselves.

But here we are.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:34 AM on July 9, 2006


More positive news from Iraq:
"Brutality and corruption are rampant in Iraq's police force, with abuses including the rape of female prisoners, the release of terrorism suspects in exchange for bribes, assassinations of police officers and participation in insurgent bombings, according to confidential Iraqi government documents detailing more than 400 police corruption investigations.

A recent assessment by State Department police training contractors echoes the investigative documents, concluding that strong paramilitary and insurgent influences within the force and endemic corruption have undermined public confidence in the government.

Officers also have beaten prisoners to death, been involved in kidnapping rings, sold thousands of stolen and forged Iraqi passports and passed along vital information to insurgents, the Iraqi documents allege.

...The investigative documents are the latest in a string of disturbing revelations of abuse and corruption by Iraq's Interior Ministry, a Cabinet-level agency that employs 268,610 police, immigration, facilities security and dignitary protection officers."

[L.A. Times | July 9, 2006]
posted by ericb at 11:07 AM on July 9, 2006


Colin Powell on Iraq (yesterday at the Aspen Institute's Idea Festival) : ""We are [going to get out of Iraq], but we're not going to leave behind anything we like because we are in the middle of a civil war."
posted by ericb at 11:13 AM on July 9, 2006


U.S. Military Braces for Flurry of Criminal Cases in Iraq
"As investigators complete their work, military officials say, the total of American servicemen charged with capital crimes in the new cases could grow substantially, perhaps exceeding the total of at least 16 other marines and soldiers charged with murdering Iraqis throughout the first three years of the war.

Some military officials and experts say the new crop of cases appears to arise from a confluence of two factors: an increasingly chaotic and violent war with no clear end in sight, and a newly vigilant attitude among American commanders about civilian deaths."

[New York Times | July 9, 2006]
posted by ericb at 11:15 AM on July 9, 2006


Total Iraqi security forces are about 60,000 short of their goal of 300,000 trained personnel.
Brutality and corruption are rampant in Iraq's police force, with abuses including the rape of female prisoners, the release of terrorism suspects in exchange for bribes, assassinations of police officers and participation in insurgent bombings, according to confidential Iraqi government documents detailing more than 400 police corruption investigations. A recent assessment by State Department police training contractors echoes the investigative documents, concluding that strong paramilitary and insurgent influences within the force and endemic corruption have undermined public confidence in the government. Officers also have beaten prisoners to death, been involved in kidnapping rings, sold thousands of stolen and forged Iraqi passports and passed along vital information to insurgents, the Iraqi documents allege. The documents, which cover part of 2005 and 2006, were obtained by The Times and authenticated by current and former police officials. The alleged offenses span dozens of police units and hundreds of officers, including beat cops, generals and police chiefs. Officers were punished in some instances, but the vast majority of cases are either under investigation or were dropped because of lack of evidence or witness testimony. The investigative documents are the latest in a string of disturbing revelations of abuse and corruption by Iraq's Interior Ministry, a Cabinet-level agency that employs 268,610 police, immigration, facilities security and dignitary protection officers.
LA Times: Police Abuses in Iraq Detailed
posted by y2karl at 11:41 AM on July 9, 2006


In your book, you say that Iraq has been in a state of civil war shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein's government. How bleak is the future of Iraq?

It's more difficult for me to feel more optimistic because as a journalist on the ground you see the bloodshed every day. You hear about people getting killed, people telling you about their neighbours getting killed; it seems like short-term there is no hope because I think things still have to get much worse before they might get better. The process of ethnic cleansing is only beginning.

I think all mixed areas of Iraq are going to be unmixed, are going to be cleansed like Bosnia before this ends. So there's still a lot left to go. I think Sunnis and Shia hatred at this point in Iraq are so intense that they are beyond the point of reconciliation and the fact that the Shia are so confident because they control the army and the police. I think you're going to see sectarianism spreading to the whole region.
Nir Rosen
posted by y2karl at 12:18 PM on July 9, 2006


...the "situation in Baghdad is under control."
posted by taosbat at 12:38 PM on July 9, 2006


Some upbeat news from Iraq, for once.
posted by EarBucket at 12:38 PM on July 9, 2006


In Iraq, lives differ in value -- and so do deaths. In this disparity lies an important reason why the United States has botched this war.
...

In all likelihood, we will be learning more about Haditha and Mahmudiyah for months to come, whereas the Samarra story has already been filed away and largely forgotten. And that's the problem.

The killing at the Samarra checkpoint was not an atrocity; most likely it was an accident, a mistake. Yet plenty of evidence suggests that in Iraq such mistakes have occurred routinely, with moral and political consequences that have been too long ignored. Indeed, conscious motivation is beside the point: Any action resulting in Iraqi civilian deaths, however inadvertent, undermines the Bush administration's narrative of liberation, and swells the ranks of those resisting the U.S. presence.
...

Through the war's first three years, any Iraqi venturing too close to an American convoy or checkpoint was likely to come under fire. Thousands of these "escalation of force" episodes occurred. Now, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, has begun to recognize the hidden cost of such an approach. "People who were on the fence or supported us" in the past "have in fact decided to strike out against us," he recently acknowledged.

In the early days of the insurgency, some U.S. commanders appeared oblivious to the possibility that excessive force might produce a backlash. They counted on the iron fist to create an atmosphere conducive to good behavior. The idea was not to distinguish between "good" and "bad" Iraqis, but to induce compliance through intimidation.

posted by amberglow at 7:02 AM on July 10, 2006


Sectarian violence flares in Iraq
"Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pleaded for Iraqis to 'unite as brothers' as a sharp rise in bloodletting between Shiites and minority Sunni Arabs raised new fears of a slide to all-out civil war and dealt a blow to Shiite Maliki’s efforts to encourage Sunnis to end their support for the Sunni-dominated insurgency.

Maliki has vowed to disband militias, some tied to parties in his government, that are carving Baghdad into sectarian no-go areas. But he faces an uphill struggle as most militias have powerful allies inside the ruling coalition.

[MSNBC News Services | July 10, 2006]
posted by ericb at 7:52 AM on July 10, 2006


"Baghdad erupts in mob violence."
posted by bardic at 8:40 AM on July 10, 2006




NBC Nightly News producer today: "If this isn't civil war, I don't know what one looks like."
posted by ericb at 4:24 PM on July 10, 2006


"I think this is civial war." -- General Barry McCaffrey (Retired) this evening on NBC Nighty News.
posted by ericb at 5:11 PM on July 10, 2006


*civil*
posted by ericb at 5:12 PM on July 10, 2006


Enemies that need each other…
posted by taosbat at 8:27 AM on July 11, 2006


And a bit more , with GRAPHS! GRAPHS!

Iraq not going well
posted by rough ashlar at 1:22 PM on July 11, 2006




From ericb's NYT link:

The Islamic Army said it had struck in revenge for the rape and slaying of an Iraqi girl in Mahmudiya, a crime for which five American soldiers have been charged and a sixth man, a recently discharged American soldier, has been arrested.
posted by taosbat at 7:15 PM on July 11, 2006


Today In Iraq: Double Suicide Attack, Beheadings, Shootings, Car Bombs, Mortar Attacks, Bus Ambush.

Freedom is on the march...
posted by homunculus at 7:33 PM on July 11, 2006




Why do i get the feeling not one piece of the information in any of the links posted here has ever been stated in that briefing thing?

Fuck, amberglow, you just don't get it. "On the positive side [in Iraq all is going well] ... It is hot in Iraq in summer. Which says very little about what all else is going on."
posted by ericb at 8:41 PM on July 11, 2006


Now there was some blabb'n about how oild production was up. Lets talk about the red line and Mr. 5%

It began with a character known as "Mr. 5%"- Calouste Gulbenkian - who, in 1925, slicked King Faisal, neophyte ruler of the country recently created by Churchill, into giving Gulbenkian's "Iraq Petroleum Company" (IPC) exclusive rights to all of Iraq's oil. Gulbenkian flipped 95% of his concession to a combine of western oil giants: Anglo-Persian, Royal Dutch Shell, CFP of France, and the Standard Oil trust companies (now ExxonMobil and its "sisters.") The remaining slice Calouste kept for himself - hence, "Mr. 5%."

The oil majors had a better use for Iraq's oil than drilling it - not drilling it. The oil bigs had bought Iraq's concession to seal it up and keep it off the market. To please his buyers' wishes, Mr. 5% spread out a big map of the Middle East on the floor of a hotel room in Belgium and drew a thick red line around the gulf oil fields, centered on Iraq. All the oil company executives, gathered in the hotel room, signed their name on the red line - vowing not to drill, except as a group, within the red-lined zone. No one, therefore, had an incentive to cheat and take red-lined oil. All of Iraq's oil, sequestered by all, was locked in, and all signers would enjoy a lift in worldwide prices. Anglo-Persian Company, now British Petroleum (BP), would pump almost all its oil, reasonably, from Persia (Iran). Later, the Standard Oil combine, renamed the Arabian-American Oil Company (Aramco), would limit almost all its drilling to Saudi Arabia. Anglo-Persian (BP) had begun pulling oil from Kirkuk, Iraq, in 1927 and, in accordance with the Red-Line Agreement, shared its Kirkuk and Basra fields with its IPC group - and drilled no more.

The following was written three decades ago:

Although its original concession of March 14, 1925, cove- red all of Iraq, the Iraq Petroleum Co., under the owner- ship of BP (23.75%), Shell (23.75%), CFP [of France] (23.75%), Exxon (11.85%), Mobil (11.85%), and [Calouste] Gulbenkian (5.0%), limited its production to fields constituting only one-half of 1 percent of the country's total area. During the Great Depression, the world was awash with oil and greater output from Iraq would simply have driven the price down to even lower levels.

Plus ça change...

When the British Foreign Office fretted that locking up oil would stoke local nationalist anger, BP-IPC agreed privately to pretend to drill lots of wells, but make them absurdly shallow and place them where, wrote a company manager, "there was no danger of striking oil." This systematic suppression of Iraq's production, begun in 1927, has never ceased. In the early 1960s, Iraq's frustration with the British-led oil consortium's failure to pump pushed the nation to cancel the BP-Shell-Exxon concession and seize the oil fields. Britain was ready to strangle Baghdad, but a cooler, wiser man in the White House, John F. Kennedy, told the Brits to back off. President Kennedy refused to call Iraq's seizure an "expropriation" akin to Castro's seizure of U.S.-owned banana plantations. Kennedy's view was that Anglo-American companies had it coming to them because they had refused to honor their legal commitment to drill.

But the freedom Kennedy offered the Iraqis to drill their own oil to the maximum was swiftly taken away from them by their Arab brethren.

The OPEC cartel, controlled by Saudi Arabia, capped Iraq's production at a sum equal to Iran's, though the Iranian reserves are far smaller than Iraq's. The excuse for this quota equality between Iraq and Iran was to prevent war between them. It didn't. To keep Iraq's Ba'athists from complaining about the limits, Saudi Arabia simply bought off the leaders by funding Saddam's war against Iran and giving the dictator $7 billion for his "Islamic bomb" program.

In 1974, a U.S. politician broke the omerta over the suppression of Iraq's oil production. It was during the Arab oil embargo that Senator Edmund Muskie revealed a secret intelligence report of "fantastic" reserves of oil in Iraq undeveloped because U.S. oil companies refused to add pipeline capacity. Muskie, who'd just lost a bid for the Presidency, was dubbed a "loser" and ignored. The Iranian bombing of the Basra fields (1980-88) put a new kink in Iraq's oil production. Iraq's frustration under production limits explodes periodically.

A History of Oil in Iraq - Suppressing It, Not Pumping It

* 1925-28 "Mr. 5%" sells his monopoly on Iraq's oil to British Petroleum and Exxon, who sign a "Red-Line Agreement" vowing not to compete by drilling independently in Iraq.

* 1948 Red-Line Agreement ended, replaced by oil combines' "dog in the manger" strategy - taking control of fields, then capping production-drilling shallow holes where "there was no danger of striking oil."

* 1961 OPEC, founded the year before, places quotas on Iraq's exports equal to Iran's, locking in suppression policy.

* 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. Iran destroys Basra fields. Iraq cannot meet OPEC quota. 1991 Desert Storm. Anglo-American bombings cut production.

* 1991-2003 United Nations Oil embargo (zero legal exports) followed by Oil-for-Food Program limiting Iraqi sales to 2 million barrels a day.

* 2003-? "Insurgents" sabotage Iraq's pipelines and infrastructure.

* 2004 Options for Iraqi OilThe secret plan adopted by U.S. State Department overturns Pentagon proposal to massively in crease oil production. State Department plan, adopted by government of occupied Iraq, limits state oil company to OPEC quotas.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:35 AM on July 12, 2006




And, Baghdad Burning ways in.
posted by taosbat at 8:48 PM on July 12, 2006


weighs
posted by taosbat at 8:49 PM on July 12, 2006


The party is SO good in Bagdad, that more people may be needed


More Troops May Be Needed in Baghdad, U.S. General Says


(and I wonder how long this thread will go on)
posted by rough ashlar at 12:37 AM on July 13, 2006






















NATO memeber now putting troops on the border to destablize the north of Iraq

(Wonder why the blabb'n of the happy talk has stopped? Perhaps they grabbed a rifle and went over there to fix things, eh?)
posted by rough ashlar at 7:56 AM on July 19, 2006




I saw that too, rough--and was appalled. We've failed in Afghanistan, we've failed in Iraq, ... but at least Halliburton made billions?
posted by amberglow at 3:47 PM on July 20, 2006


Sources: Negroponte Blocks CIA Analysis of Iraq "Civil War"
posted by taosbat at 8:43 AM on July 21, 2006


Meanwhile, lets see how the other conflict is going.

Afghanistan Close to Anarchy, Warns General
"The most senior British military commander in Afghanistan today described the situation in the country as 'close to anarchy' with feuding foreign agencies and unethical private security companies compounding problems caused by local corruption.

The stark warning came from Lieutenant General David Richards, head of Nato's international security force in Afghanistan, who warned that western forces there were short of equipment and were 'running out of time' if they were going to meet the expectations of the Afghan people."

[The Guardian | July 21, 2006]
posted by ericb at 1:36 PM on July 21, 2006


















End of Days?
The Army’s budgetary squeeze raises questions about whether the United States can ‘stay the course’ in Iraq—even if Washington wants to.

Calling a Spade a Spade
If it looks, feels and sounds like one, why won't Iraqi or U.S. politicians call what's unfolding in Iraq a 'civil war'?
posted by ericb at 1:08 PM on August 1, 2006








Generals Raise Fears of Iraq Civil War.
posted by ericb at 11:31 AM on August 3, 2006


Winning 'hearts-and-minds,' 'hearts-and-minds.'

GIs Describe Comrades Killing Blindfolded Iraqis.
posted by ericb at 11:33 AM on August 3, 2006




Rumsfeld Blames Rising Insurgent Violence in Iraq On Weather.
posted by ericb at 4:24 PM PST



Yea, what happens in the winter?

Christmas Gifts?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:42 PM on August 4, 2006


Winning even more 'hearts-and-minds,' 'hearts-and-minds.'

Iraq’s New Freedom on Display: Hundreds of Thousands Chant ‘Death To America’
posted by ericb at 11:24 AM on August 5, 2006


Ah, freedom marches on ...

Gays flee Iraq as Shia death squads find a new target.
posted by ericb at 9:34 AM on August 6, 2006


Iraq—Plans in Case of a Civil War.
posted by ericb at 9:35 AM on August 6, 2006


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