A look inside the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.
January 14, 2007 11:12 PM   Subscribe

Hey, we're the good guys lesser of two evils again!
posted by IronLizard at 11:29 PM on January 14, 2007

War of Shadows
posted by homunculus at 11:33 PM on January 14, 2007

With the Shiite death squads running rampant, the Sunnis are doing this more out of self-defense than in what ammounts to an "insurgency." Really, all thats standing between a blood bath between the two sides is the US military. What a mess.
posted by j-urb at 12:22 AM on January 15, 2007

The Bush Administration has to be the dumbest executive branch in the history of the US. They bitch and moan about Iran's growing influence in the Middle East when, in fact, Iran's growing influence has been a direct consequence of the Iraq invasion!
posted by j-urb at 12:40 AM on January 15, 2007

After the surge......what next?
posted by adamvasco at 1:39 AM on January 15, 2007

"I have today ordered to Viet-Nam the Air Mobile Division and certain other forces which will raise our fighting strength from 75,000 to 125,000 men almost immediately. Additional forces will be needed later, and they will be sent as requested. This will make it necessary to increase our active fighting forces by raising the monthly draft call from 17,000 over a period of time to 35,000 per month, and for us to step up our campaign for voluntary enlistments."[1]
Draftee KIA in Vietnam, 1964-1973:
1964	4
1965	251
1966	1244
1967	3497
1968	5319
1969	4311
1970	2286
1971	652
1972	43
1973	2
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:37 AM on January 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Anybody watch CBS last night after the Chargers lost to the Patriots?

We elected the President we deserve, I guess. If he thinks Iraq is so worthwhile, maybe he ought to run for office there next.

And then I found this...
posted by pax digita at 5:30 AM on January 15, 2007

Oh, and from the FPP link...

He told me that one of his main suppliers had been an interpreter working for the US army in Baghdad. "He had a deal with an American officer. We bought brand new AKs and ammunition from them." He claimed the American officer, whom he had never met but he believed was a captain serving at Baghdad airport, had even helped to divert a truckload of weapons as soon as it was driven over the border from Jordan.

That's why I coined the term "Leavenworthy."
posted by pax digita at 5:57 AM on January 15, 2007

"We have defence lines, trenches and booby traps. When the Americans arrive we let them go through, but if they show up with Iraqi troops, then it's a fight."

So of course, the new plan is to beef up US patrols with Iraqi soldiers. God I hope someone in the Pentagon is reading stuff like this.
Also, all those idiots who say reporters who talk to insurgents are traitorous scum. Like say, those who left comments here.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:33 AM on January 15, 2007

Pax digita, here's one of the best quotes from the 60 minutes interview: "I think I am proud of the efforts we did." How do you do an effort? He also is delusional enough to think that we perceive the Iraqis as not being more thankful. After reading the various Guardian pieces linked to in this thread, I wonder why they aren't more thankful after all?
posted by moonbird at 6:44 AM on January 15, 2007


Yes, I noticed that too, and I don't even cringe anymore when he abuses his native tongue. Philips Academy, Yale, then Harvard Business School; governor of one of the largest US states, and then President of the United States; and this is how he expresses himself. I'm sure his teachers aren't terribly proud of him. I misspeak and leave a few sloppy rhetoric bombs in emails (and posts here in the blue) myself, but I don't have the pedigree nor the level of responsibility.

I finished watching the piece feeling that he's as baffled as anyone at what he's wrought, but he's defensive about it -- "Okay, nay-sayers, if you're so smart, what kind of alternative do you have besides 'cut and run'?" -- and ignorant of and deeply in denial about the unintended consequences. He dismisses advice that doesn't match his simplistic world view, on which he greatly dislikes to be challenged. He's surrounded himself with yes-men and -women, as highly placed executives often do, which does not bode well for any possible armed confrontation with Iran beyond whatever apparently has already happened on Iraqi soil.

(Read Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears for a fictional yet believable scenario of a Chief Executive of weak character and ill served by subordinates in a crisis.)

When you're that highly placed, it's pretty hard to get a no-$hitter from a random E-4 or an average Sunni or Shi'a Iraqi. Relative to other wartime Presidents, he doesn't seem to devote the a lot of mindshare to the mess he's made; stuff is too highly filtered at his echelon anyway; and he's not the sort of guy who's inclined to hop on the Web and read a few 'blogs to see what anybody's thinking. Too bad: I think if he spent a half an hour alone talking with the author of Baghdad Burning, it might open his eyes, but fat chance of that ever happening.
posted by pax digita at 7:32 AM on January 15, 2007

but he's defensive about it -- "Okay, nay-sayers, if you're so smart, what kind of alternative do you have besides 'cut and run'?"

My first thought after this 'chellenge' was, "Wait, the President is daring me to come up with a better plan? Is a double dog dare next?"
posted by NationalKato at 8:44 AM on January 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by NationalKato at 8:47 AM on January 15, 2007

After 9/11 many conservatives decried the need to "get our hands dirty" again and deal with unsavory characters to acheive the results we needed.

We can never succeed in Iraq unless we choose one side to align with - Shiite or Sunni. Neither seems like the "moral option" because both are hell-bent on killing each other at all costs.

I think we should side with the Sunnis. The Shiites are 100% controlled by Iran, whereas empowering a Sunni Iraq would provide another regional barricade to the Iranians. Siding with the Sunnis would stave off Iran, satisfy other Arab states, deflate Al Qaeda and bring our troops home soonest.

The current dream of mediating and bringing the two sides together is impossible. Sunni and Shiite in Iraq hate each other more than Palestinian and Israeli.
posted by b_thinky at 10:28 AM on January 15, 2007

We'll probably side with anybody who'll give us the most oil with the least amount of hassle, though.
posted by pax digita at 10:30 AM on January 15, 2007

Sow the wind... reap the whirlwind. Previously in the blue:

"Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras."
posted by Huplescat at 10:54 AM on January 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

...I don't even cringe anymore when he abuses his native tongue.

You should know all of that is very carefully calculated and aimed at a particular audience. Another audience, by inference, is explicitly excluded.
posted by atchafalaya at 6:15 PM on January 15, 2007

The Shiites are 100% controlled by Iran

I guess I'm gonna have to do some research because I've been hearing this idea bandied about the last few months and no one ever seems to have a source for it.
posted by jaronson at 6:42 PM on January 15, 2007

I guess I didn't have to go too far. I just started reading some of the other links in this thread. Thanks, j-urb, homunculus (as always), et al
posted by jaronson at 6:52 PM on January 15, 2007

b_thinky writes I think we should side with the Sunnis.

If only there was some sort of secular Sunni strongman to unite them against the pro-Iranian Shia. And if there was, it would be really stupid to topple him.

You guys are unbelievable.
posted by bardic at 9:47 PM on January 15, 2007

b_thinky writes The Shiites are 100% controlled by Iran

Kinda sorta. al Sadr is not too cozy with the Iranians, but the simple calculus now is that he is. And given that Shia make up 70-80% of the population, ya think we should have thought this through beforehand?
posted by bardic at 9:49 PM on January 15, 2007

And to say "controlled" by Iran is kind of an understatement and an overstatement. The ties between Iraqi Shia and Iranians are familial as much as they are religious. When Saddam purged the Shia, many of them fled to Iran, married there, went to school there, raised families there.

But please, tell us more about your awesome strategery. Back the Sunni death-squads and bomb Iran is the next step in our failed, losing policy I take it? Because we must know exactly where there nuke facilities are, just like American and Israeli intell knew exactly where the WMD were, correct?
posted by bardic at 9:55 PM on January 15, 2007

b-thinky: this is just to remind you that supporting the Sunni insurgents would turn US policy on its head because the Sunni insurgency is heavily supported and funded by Al-Qaeda. For the sake of argument, let's take your errant claim that Shia militia groups are 100% supported by Iran seriously ... which is a bigger threat to the US? Al-Qaeda or Iran? The only harm that Iran has done to the US was the hostage-taking in 1979, which was over 25 years ago (despite the fact that it has been embargoed since and despite the fact that the US govt supported Saddam in his war--in which he used chemical weapons--against Iran). Al-Qaeda has attacked the US far more recently, and on its own soil. Perhaps you would like 'b-thinking' before you comment.
posted by Azaadistani at 1:38 AM on January 16, 2007

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