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November 12, 2006

H&I Fires, 12 Nov 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite.

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First - we just upgraded to the latest version of Moveable Type. Denizens please check and make sure you can get in. Readers - please report any problems you are having. I know we have some template issues with IE7. I'm hoping that Firefox will now work better for you than it did with the previous installation - a quick test of that is do you now see buttons in the comment template where used to be you didn't... Leave a comment or drop me a note if you are having problems. I won't necessarily be able to fix 'em all, but it's good to know what they are!

Whew! The Valour-IT fundraiser is over. And we made our goal. Thanks again, guys!

The Veteran's Day parade was fun - see post below.

Jules Crittenden is not holding out much hope for how the Dems plan to proceed.

First, let me congratulate my Democratic friends. We’re Euro-stylin’ now! The . . . whatever it is in Iraq . . . is no longer a war, it’s a “problem,” House Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi says. Abandonment enthusiast John Murtha, in the running for majority leader, is less ambiguous about it. George Bush “is not going to go on with this war in Iraq.” Murtha wants a Vietnam in Iraq. Chaos and mass murder in Iraq. A victory for terrorism in Iraq. An end of America’s relevance in the world, compliments of Iraq.

I personally think the Dems are going to shed a lot of blood internally on this, but, hey, I'm usually wrong about this stuff. Read the rest of Jule's thoughts here.

I gotta get outta here, I have real pay-the-bills work to do and SWWBO's got a honey-do list, too. -the Armorer

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We're still totaling the donations from non-team and offline donors, but the Valour-IT fundraising competition is over and it looks like it has exceeded expectations again. I'll have much more to say in coming days about the wonderful people involved, but in the meantime... - FbL

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Somebody tell me I'm imagining things, or that I'm just not capable of comprehending "the brilliance of our great leaders." Please. If I understand this, Bush is a bigger fool or more craven devil than any leftist has ever accused him of being. Forgive me for having ever voted for the man. - FbL

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If you need a translation of my temper tantrum above, read this and this.

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FbL...I hope your fears are unfounded and I see a trial balloon being floated.

Let's hope it gets the really, really, really bad press it deserves. I can see the Cox & Forkum cartoon now--Murtha, Pelosi, Scowcroft, and Gates pissing on a mound marked by an M-16 jammed bayonet down in the dirt, a helmet perched on top and a pair of boots at its base...and W off to the side looking the other way...

It's that bad.

Of course, there's a pretty effective MSM out there who will do their best to make the sow's ear look like a silk purse. "Peace in our time!" might work as a buzz phrase. Oh, wait...

Then again, the perfidy may come to pass. If it does, in the long run, Santorum may end up looking like Churchill and Bush like Chamberlain.

Gosh, these Persians are just a pain in the neck...messing with us for more than 25 centuries. Methinks the coming to blows...again...with the descendants of Xerxes and now the "Partisans of Ali" (that's where the word "Shia" comes from) is inevitable. Only this time, it won't be grieves, shields, swords and pikes, but nukes. I say find that friggin' well the 12th Imam is hiding in and make that DMPI #1. -Instapilot

*A term of art from the artillery. Harassment and Interdiction Fires.

Back in the day, when you could just kill people and break things without a note from a lawyer, they were pre-planned, but to the enemy, random, fires at known gathering points, road junctions, Main Supply Routes, assembly areas, etc - to keep the bad guy nervous that the world around him might start exploding at any minute.

Not really relevant to today's operating environment, right? But, it *is*

The UAVs we fly over Afghanistan and Pakistan looking for targets of opportunity are a form of H&I fires, if you really want to parse it finely. We just have better sensors and fire control now.

I call the post that because it's random things posted by me and people I've given posting privileges to. It's also an open trackback, so if (Don Surber uses it this way a lot) someone has a post they're proud of, but it really isn't either Castle kind of stuff, or topical to a particular post, I've basically given blanket permission to use that post for that purpose. Another term of art that might be appropriate is "Free Fire Zone".

Comments on H&I Fires, 12 Nov 2006
dki briefed on November 12, 2006 02:09 PM

England is handy with all the terrorist threats covering up for the new deals.

Adjutant briefed on November 12, 2006 04:23 PM

All is working well so far - the new interface in MT is pretty, and I can access all the goodies I expected to. FYI - I am using IE7 on Vista (Beta), and it has one capability that I could never make work in IE6 ... I can select text out of the center of a post for quoting. Used to be I had to copy alllllll the post (and sidebars, yada-yada) to Notepad and then extract the part I really wanted out. I'm a happy user :-)

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 12, 2006 04:52 PM

Hey! I'm so used to that being hosed (the select text thing) that I didn't even try it.

Woot!

How's Vista btw? I'm not sure I'm willing to sell my soul to Microsoft and give them the opportunity to not like something I've done and mostly disable my OS...

Adjutant briefed on November 12, 2006 06:08 PM

Dude - Vista is a blast. I'm using Ultimate, and it is kewl - even has the Media Center functionality built in. Now if I only had a TV tuner in this thing, I'd be home free ;-)
The downside, of course, is you want more hardware (as is ever so). I'm running 1GB at home, and that works, but could be better. 1.5GB is prolly the sweet spot - and dual procs (or dual cores) are a definite plus. If you're thinking about the activation feature (which is in WinXP as well, by the way), the concerns are mostly around gamers who are constantly upgrading the major components (CPU/Memory/Hard Drive / Motherboard). Even then, you just have to activate again, maybe by phone (toll free). I think it's all a tempest in a teapot.

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 12, 2006 06:19 PM

Well, as someone who upgrades his (CPU/Memory/Hard Drive / Motherboard), I've got some concerns...

And some of the horror stories in the press are more about MS pressuring to buy a new license than it is a blithe... 'toll free number' call.

Raymond B briefed on November 12, 2006 07:19 PM

I would like to thank all fo the proud Americans who have provided me the freedom and life I enjoy. Thank you very much fro mthe bottom of my heart.
Raymond B
www.voteswagon.com

cw4(ret)billt briefed on November 13, 2006 06:18 AM

"An error occurred: Unknown action login."

Nice new MT logo, but I can't give you any feedback other than the "Close" and "Go Back" buttons work just fine...

AFSister briefed on November 13, 2006 07:34 AM

Weeeeee!
That's purty, John. The new stuff all seems to be working for me.

As for Fuzzy and Dusty's rants... this is why I was so frikkin' depressed after the election last week. Unfortunately, my worst fears are coming true.

ry briefed on November 13, 2006 09:04 AM

(Dons Castle COntrarian Corps foraging cap)
If the goal is to transform the ME instead of just blowing stuff up and killing people, to creat something new that won't be a continual sore spot, doesn't it make sense to try the carrot instead of the whip once in a while? A little soft kill instead of blood in the desert?

Reality is we aren't contoling either the western or eastern entrances to Iraq and aren't likely to in the near future. If we can do that on the cheap? Sometimes it is baby steps or nibbles instead of wolfing down the whole enchillada(hmmmm, enchilladas). At the end of the day the question has to be 'does this feed the bulldog' instead of 'does this suit my preferences or make me the happiest'? We did that with Pinochet, and Rhee, and Chang Kai Sheck, and Noriega, and the Contras, and.... . We sided with some real bastards in the past to win other fights. What's different now? We ask young men to die but you can't stand to be asked to shake hands with a son of a beetch? Are our personal likes and dislikes so much more important now than they were then?

We can try it. If it doesn't work we've still got the Angry Sword of Wrath option. We give them six months to come to a firm agreement, and six months beyond that to show us that they are implementing it. Give it a year. If it doesn't work we can honestly say we tried and go back to doing it our way.

ANd lets not forget the political landscape we exist in today. The people have spoken and they've said they want out of Iraq. That may be the dumbest thing ever, but that's what it is. best to take what we can and have SOMETHING to keep the pile moving forward instead of demanding all(with the possibility of losing all too). It's about winning, and not necessarily winning tomorrow or in our lifetimes.

No, I'm not happy about this. Not in the least. I don't think it'll work. It's worth a try. but the question becomes are you pro-victory or are you just pro-killing/pro-rage? I know what I believe the Denizens are for. Was I wrong? Have we become to be people who believe that peace can only be had when we've mad them a subject people? Have we become modern day Alexanders who will not rest until the ancient slight is remedied by utterly destroying the Arab and Persian empires?

I want victory. I know what that means to me. A ME that isn't a powder keg. A ME that is more open and less than just the gas tank of the world. A ME that is more likely to use lawyers than suicide bombers or armies to settle their int'l disputes. A ME where the Crusades weren't yesterday and briming with a desire for revenge over it. I'm starting to wonder if my def'n is synonomous with the rest of y'all.

I may not like this supposed plan, I don't think it'll work, but I'm willing to try it. I'll take a cheap partial victory over a several orders of magnitude total one(3x or 10x I'd hold out for the whole pie, but not 100x or 1000x). Not when there are other issues to be dealt with. (China, Cartman Jong-IL, resurgent Communism in S. America, 'Losing Africa' to militant and agressive Islam bent on attacking The West). It's a Long War folks. There will be set backs. Don't abandone the people in the civilian gov't who are most likely to get the job done when they're forced to shake hands with the devil by reality(Nixon goes to China, paring off the Chinese from to SU, but at the cost of cozying up to some righteously evil people in the process. Was it worth it?).
It's about winning, and not coming out ideologically pure.

And yeah, this plan farkin' blows. But it's what we got. Time to do what we told all those whinning democrats to do after '03. (But, gawd, this proposed plan farkin' blows.)

ry briefed on November 13, 2006 09:22 AM

(Dons Castle COntrarian Corps foraging cap)
If the goal is to transform the ME instead of just blowing stuff up and killing people, to creat something new that won't be a continual sore spot, doesn't it make sense to try the carrot instead of the whip once in a while? A little soft kill instead of blood in the desert?

Reality is we aren't contoling either the western or eastern entrances to Iraq and aren't likely to in the near future. If we can do that on the cheap? Sometimes it is baby steps or nibbles instead of wolfing down the whole enchillada(hmmmm, enchilladas). At the end of the day the question has to be 'does this feed the bulldog' instead of 'does this suit my preferences or make me the happiest'? We did that with Pinochet, and Rhee, and Chang Kai Sheck, and Noriega, and the Contras, and.... . We sided with some real bastards in the past to win other fights. What's different now? We ask young men to die but you can't stand to be asked to shake hands with a son of a beetch? Are our personal likes and dislikes so much more important now than they were then?

We can try it. If it doesn't work we've still got the Angry Sword of Wrath option. We give them six months to come to a firm agreement, and six months beyond that to show us that they are implementing it. Give it a year. If it doesn't work we can honestly say we tried and go back to doing it our way.

ANd lets not forget the political landscape we exist in today. The people have spoken and they've said they want out of Iraq. That may be the dumbest thing ever, but that's what it is. best to take what we can and have SOMETHING to keep the pile moving forward instead of demanding all(with the possibility of losing all too). It's about winning, and not necessarily winning tomorrow or in our lifetimes.

No, I'm not happy about this. Not in the least. I don't think it'll work. It's worth a try. but the question becomes are you pro-victory or are you just pro-killing/pro-rage? I know what I believe the Denizens are for. Was I wrong? Have we become to be people who believe that peace can only be had when we've mad them a subject people? Have we become modern day Alexanders who will not rest until the ancient slight is remedied by utterly destroying the Arab and Persian empires?

I want victory. I know what that means to me. A ME that isn't a powder keg. A ME that is more open and less than just the gas tank of the world. A ME that is more likely to use lawyers than suicide bombers or armies to settle their int'l disputes. A ME where the Crusades weren't yesterday and briming with a desire for revenge over it. I'm starting to wonder if my def'n is synonomous with the rest of y'all.

I may not like this supposed plan, I don't think it'll work, but I'm willing to try it. I'll take a cheap partial victory over a several orders of magnitude total one(3x or 10x I'd hold out for the whole pie, but not 100x or 1000x). Not when there are other issues to be dealt with. (China, Cartman Jong-IL, resurgent Communism in S. America, 'Losing Africa' to militant and agressive Islam bent on attacking The West). It's a Long War folks. There will be set backs. Don't abandone the people in the civilian gov't who are most likely to get the job done when they're forced to shake hands with the devil by reality(Nixon goes to China, paring off the Chinese from to SU, but at the cost of cozying up to some righteously evil people in the process. Was it worth it?).
It's about winning, and not coming out ideologically pure.

And yeah, this plan farkin' blows. But it's what we got. Time to do what we told all those whinning democrats to do after '03. (But, gawd, this proposed plan farkin' blows.)

Masked Menace© briefed on November 13, 2006 02:16 PM

The problem ry is that the sons of beaches that we allied with in the past had something to gain by helping ensure the end we wanted.

Iran and Syria have nothing to gain from a free, stable, democratic Iraq. In fact a free, stable, democratic Iraq is a political/social (if not military) threat to both of them.

If Iran and Syria wanted a free, stable, democratic Iraq, do you think they'd be sending terrorists across the border now?

JimC briefed on November 13, 2006 02:19 PM

Grieves? Play on words?

The armor for the shins is called greaves.

AFSister briefed on November 13, 2006 02:42 PM

I'm still pro-Victory, Ry... but the current Democratic plan to cut and run is NO victory. It's worthless, and cowardly. We have a job to do in Iraq, one our military is behind. If the military believes in the mission... why don't we?

I, for one, have more faith in those with boots-on-ground, than those with stuffed-white-shirts-on-marble.

ry briefed on November 13, 2006 03:34 PM

MM, democratic and free? Everything else and partial to either Theocracy or Baathism? Absolutely. That's why they are sending people/allowing people to cross. They eventually want a stable Iraq(an unstable Iraq creates a buttload of problems for them, problems they really don't want. Same for Turkey not wanting a Kurdish state.). But liberal, democratic and free? Nope. Stable? yes. And that's what we have to convince them they could get for this plan to work(not that I think it's easy or even likely, but that's what it seems, if that's what the ISG convinces The Admin to do.).
You can't forget that an unstable, basketcase, and violent Iraq is also a threat(socially, economically, and militarily to them as well. Bleedover happens. We've seen TONS of that in dinky little wars all over S. America and Africa. They're at least as well read as I am over there and know this too. It will be something they consider. Particularly the possibility of a fractious Iraq where Kurds start claiming bits of Iran and Syria and Turkey as theirs----and the PKK is excellent at guerrilla warfare.).

And what did Pinochet have to gain except being stabbed in the back when we no longer needed him? Noriega? A liberal, democratic and free state? Baloney. They were both vicious, vile, and sadistic son of a beetchs. We shook hands with them and helped keep them in power(more or less what we're handing to the Baathist jagoffs of Syria and the whackjobs in Iran.). Marcos in the Philippines and Sang myun Rhee of S. Korea as well. Chang Kai Check was a fascist in all but name, a man who, along with his wife, essentially raped the nation, and we backed him(no liberal democracy was going to come out of Mr. Check's China). Deng Xia Peng's China? no way did they benefit much from an end state we wanted(as it neither gave them a Marxist-Leninist world nor put them back in the driver's seat they covet, but did leave them 3rd or 4th banana struggling against the US for 1st banana). We shook hands with the Contras--anti-communist but vicious and totalitarian at the time-- as well. None of them got more than the reluctant wink and nod to do as they pleased so long as they opposed the USSR.

That's the short term.

In the long term we denied those nations to the Global Soviet(and here we'll be denying Iraq to the great Islamicist Terrorist Collective a high profile public relations tool--as was S. America in my youth for the SU), and once the SU was gone we were able to make right the wrongs we did by dumping these people(or earlier in many cases, like S. Korea and the PI).

That's what I'm saying this plan is trying to do here. Maybe if you treat the Supreme Ruling Council of Iran(the real power in Iran and not Ahminijad(sp)) like rational actors(what they really want is to be The Man of the Persian Gulf and all their actions are steps toward that goal, using the game theory def'n of a rational actor) maybe we can work with them(we did sell the SU wheat and oil after all) and effect a soft kill. We may not have to go all Alexandros Megalos, as Dusty fears we must, but instead integrate them enough into the global economy that future generations of mullahs are more materialistic---Iranian women with eyeliner and western fashion(bites knuckles--checks back that wife hasn't snuck up behind me)? Tough sell, particularly since many of the liberal minded move here to begin with. Not sure I think this will happen. But it is worth a shot. IT is worth an honest effort. The people whose lives are on the line if we do it the other way deserve at least that.
And I'm not saying an unlimited time span either. Give six months for each phase. Fails in either one we go back to what we've been doing, hard as that is.
What we'll be offering them in this kind of deal is an equal, or more than equal for them, shot ot making Iraq a client state. That puts them in a position of having to be a force for order instead of disruption. That gets Iraq fixed and gives us a chance to still evangelize for liberal democracy there. It's not perfect. It's a nibble instead of a full bite of the apple. But it's better than what we have now where they're able to push everything in that they want to screw us and we're unable to stop them for whatever reason(essentially no bite of the apple).

It's not what I would do, but it's worth a shot. A stable Iraq is much better than an unstable one. Both the Baathists and IRC have to know that allowing terrorist groups become popular is a threat to them as well. There's enough carrot here. Like I said, we sold wheat, oil, and computers to Russia. A decade later the USSR was finished. I'm not sure that that outcome will be repeated here; but it has worked and still can.

And let's not forget that there are other tigers out there. We can't afford to remain bogged down. Africa hangs in the balance. We have to have a credible force for dealing with Iran and DPRK. China's feeling uppity right now too(see here). Let's not become myopic. It's a generational battle. We don't have to win this tomorrow or next week, but we definitely cannot afford to lose S. America, Africa, or Oceania and East Asia tomorrow or next week(which we can).

Sorry, not as cogent or concise as I should be MM, but there it is. There is a benefit for Iran/Syria. It is analogous to shaking hands with bastards in the past(like when we put US flags on tankers to haul Iraqi oil or backing someone like Pinochet and Noriega). It is very similar. It is a short term strategy that's a baby step toward the bigger goal. What it isn't is morally or ideologically appealing or satisfying. But then, neither was much of the Cold War. Winning matters.
Baseball analogy: I hate sac bunting a man to third because it chews up an out. But I need to have that little victory to get toward the bigger goal of winning the game. That's where we're at. Put the man in scoring position to take the one run instead of playing for the big inning. It's a close game, geo-politics, and I'll play for the one run.

fdcol63 briefed on November 13, 2006 03:56 PM

The whole fargin' war in Iraq HAS BEEN about trying to use a "carrot" instead of a "stick", to try to change the dynamics in the region, promote democracy and freedom, and ween these people away from the radical, Wahabbist ideology of hate that bit us on our arse on 9/11.

If we'd wanted to use the "stick", we woulda just NUKED or MOAB'd the bastiches, instead of keeping our troops there for 3 years - fighting, sweating, bleeding, and dying while trying to rebuild schools, infrastructure, and other civil institutions.

If we have ANY hope at all of "co-existing" with Islam, we MUST do whatever we can to help the so-called "moderate" Muslims win in their current conflict with the jihadists.

THAT has been the "plan".

FbL briefed on November 13, 2006 04:40 PM

Ry,

What MM said.

Masked Menace© briefed on November 13, 2006 05:43 PM

ry,
If stable was the only objective, we should have left Saddam in power.

The 'stable' Iraq that Iran wants is to make Iraq an Iranian province. That would certainly make Iraq stable, but it wouldn't serve our goals even as a short term strategy at all.

Judging by the Iran's actions they would rather see an unstable Iraq than a stable democratic Iraq. This is a perfectly "rational" action if the threat from instability is less than the threat of a stable democracy. And since they view democracy as Satanic, good luck convincing them that democracy is "an acceptable loss" to gain stability.

I've no problem with making short term alliances with bastards if they are needed to reach desirable goals.

The problem is that our goals and Iran's are mutually exclusive.

cw4(ret)billt briefed on November 13, 2006 07:23 PM

The Iraqis of both Sunni and Shi'a persuasion need to clean their own stables, ASAP. If it takes a Night of the Long Knives, so be it, so long as the survivors make a pact to act in unison against any resurgence of the terrorists.

I have a TINS about some folks who finally got fed up with terrorists and being terrorized -- and contrary to all the leftover hippies' rose-colored view of history, the VC (and their NVA advisors) *were* terrorists, plain and simple.

Some day, I'll post it, but you won't want to read it on an empty stomach.

Or a full one, come to think of it...

Cassandra briefed on November 13, 2006 08:01 PM

We did not just lose over 2000 American lives and wound over 10000 more to set up a regime that hates us and will foment and export anti-Americanism, stable or not. Let's not forget to whom Hezbollah owes allegiance, gentlemen.

And asking a government that openly defies the UN and talks of driving the Jews into the sea to "help" us pacify Iraq is no improvement on deposing Saddam. We have just traded one monster for another.

You're taking your eye off of the ball, big time. The goal isn't stability. It's changing the dynamics in the region. This doesn't accomplish that, and with our typical American case of ADD we're about to shoot ourselves in the foot.

That said, isn't it a bit early days to decide that the White House has bought into this? Of course they're listening. What else can they do. They "listened" to the 911 Commission too. How much of their recommendations have been implemented?

"Listening" costs nothing.

Instapilot briefed on November 13, 2006 08:56 PM

A couple of points:

Color me crazy, but I don't think the election was about getting out of Iraq. I don't think the American public, by and large, wants a precipitous withdrawl. I do think they wanted to see what the other side of the aisle wants to try that's different from the current plan. Ironically, the current plan may be a good one, but the information campaign to promote it...well, sucks. Then there's the GOP's inordinant number of "Sideshow Bobs" (for you Simpson fans) at this particular juncture that pushed the mushy middle into the Blue camp. In any case, I think the current Old Bulls in the Democrat Party may be on the verge of another major gunshot wound to the foot vis-a-vis their reputation on national defense, especially if the GOP has the brains to replace the current leadership with a Pence, or a Shadegg.

As far as "jaw jaw" versus "war war" goes, I think you miss a fundamental point, Ry. I think the Iranian regime is institutionally crazy--not certifiable, as in ready for the loony bin--but as a collective body MUCH more irrational, to us as Westerners, than most people like us appreciate. Pinochet was Mother Teresa compared to Madmood AmaOhMyGod. This can lead to significant miscalculations on the mullahs' part, one of which is a nuclear fission/fusion detonation on US territory that can be traced to Iranian enrichment facilities (they may not have delivered it, but gave it to someone who did). In other words, I think the holocaust train may have left the station and all remains is witnessing the flash and bang...talking is probably useless at this point. Shite, we've been doing that, in one form or another, since the Ayatollah took over and now what do we have? Nutters.

Nothing is inevitable, but my money's on fried human flesh inside the CONUS in the not-too-distant future and my Plataean analogy refers to nothing more than a more devastating response than Plataea and Salamis combined, by several orders of magnitude.

These are bad, bad, bad people. Just like the Nazis. More frightening, even. I think your path will be taken (talking, hoping they'll see the light) but my money's on the classic WW II scenario--truly devastating attack on the US followed by a response that erases Persia as a significant threat for generations. And that's the best case scenario. Worst case is the response is more introspective, self-loathing, and lack of will to fight back and a dark world for all for a long time to come.

And another thing...you're assuming the political leadership of this country, on both sides of the aisle, will put aside their differences at the water's edge to pursue a coherent counter-strategy to Iranian mischief (aided and abetted by China and Russia). Can't say that I see that (see Murtha, Levin, Biden, Kennedy, Conyers, Rangel, Kos, Atrios, Moore, Sarandon, Maher, et al.). Remember, to a third of the American people, America is the principal source of evil in the world and millions believe 9/11 was a government plot. No, we don't have the brains right now to finesse the Iranians into cooperating. Too many Americans WANT us to be "punished" for being who and what we are.

No, I think this time we're gonna re-learn the "freedom isn't free/there are alot of people out there who want us dead" lesson all over again...and this time, the Nazis WILL have the Bomb.

fdcol63 briefed on November 13, 2006 09:48 PM

I think Instapilot is right. Whatever dim hopes remained of being able to "deter" or "persuade" Iran from going nuclear were completely eliminated by this election. Iran and its terrorist proxies see the Democratic victory as a clear sign that Americans don't have the stomach or the will to stop them.

How anyone could ever believe that Iran and Syria could be "peace partners" in Iraq and the Middle East is beyond me. It's almost as if we really are in some kind of upside-down "Alice in Wonderland" fantasy world.

This election - and the loss of American will in Iraq - have made much more likely a pre-emptive Israeli nuclear attack on Iran.

And from there, the situation just gets worse.

ry briefed on November 14, 2006 04:32 PM

Well, I wrote something in answer to MM last night but sat on it. I'm trying something new. Restraint. Glad I did. Now people have more fully articulated their positions.

Cassie brings up something I truly dislike. Classic example of all or nothing type thinking. Not only must we win but we must win in a way that is ideologically satisfying is how I read it. That and confusing what I mean by stability for what Pelosi means by stability.

We shook hands with much worse than the Iranians(matter of fact, we did shake hands with the Iranians! Iran-Contra, ask that old Marine Ollie North.) back in the day for much less than getting control of a country in which we've already planted the seeds of liberalism.

We didn't see 2000+ die just to toss it all aside. That's why we cement the change we have made and leave ourselves room to capitalize in the future by doing this. It is absolutely something to turn one's stomach, having to shake hands with bloody handed bastards like the Iranian Ruling Council. But going for the whole enchilada right now makes all 21000+ casualties for naught a real possibility when we wind up having to leave Baghdad like we left Saigon(not having lost on the ground, but between the ears of the leadership in Washington). That's why we have to try. Not only to keep our people in it but to keep the people over there, not just the Iraqis too, in believing we are a reasonable people and a force for good---which many are not seeing right now. We've paid to much now to lose by being bullheaded and holding out for victories that leave us with clean consciences.
Pinochet and Noriega were royal bastards. So was Syngman Rhee (borderline fascist). As I said before, CKS was a fascist in all but name. They accepted our money and military assistance and then talked a very anti-US game to their people. We've done it before and we may need to do it again. Winning is important here. I'd rather take the incomplete victory with the chance for more than losing it all, thereby making all of that sacrifice in vain.
I'm seeing that it is in fact that we're juggling right now and not playing baseball. We're having to pay attention to five balls and not just one. I'm saying that there's a 'ball' of the short term and a 'ball' of the long term. Screwing up the handling of one ruins the other as well. Going all or nothing on the short term ruins the long term. We've tolerated supporting anti-American spouting thugs in the past to achieve a brick-by-brick long term plan. Same thinking applies here. Brick by brick. 'Small ball' in that we bunt, the least optimal approach, to ensure we stay in the game instead of playing for the big inning(winning it all right now while also potentially losing it all right now too). The goal is changing the whole region and not just Iraq. Iraq is a means to an end. Focus on the near term and you easily miss the long term ball.

Stability in Iraq does not translate into leaving the entire region alone. That path lead to the nonsense we're dealing with now. Stabilizing Iraq is simply cementing what gains we have now and conserving the momentum of the change we started. It's a whole hell of a lot harder to overcome inertia of an object at rest than one already in motion, so to speak. Stabilized thru hand shaking with Iran leaves Iraq largely still in play. Sure, they're competing with us for the final outcome, the end state of Iraq.

But can't you see that having Iraq stop its slide into failed state status helps us in the long term? It does. A continuation of this slide into failed state does not. The non-moderates can point to the dysfunction and say, 'Look, this is what the Infidel Americans brought us. Death. Murder. Chaos. Destruction. Haditha.' If we do what it takes to start some type of stability to take root there the moderates can use their own version of that line against the rabble rousers.
Stabilizing Iraq gives us something with which to win the hearts and minds of Iraq and the whole region.

I really do have to fall back on Lidell-Hart here. Rather than attempt some Aikido, make it in their interest to have a stable Iraq, a lot of us seem to want to continue to pit strength on strength in a Greco-Roman wrestling match against five wrestlers(Baathists, indig Sunni, indig Shia, trans national terr types, Iranian and Syrian sponsored groups like Sadr). Dumb.

A stabilized Iraq(again, don't any of you f'n dare say I mean 'stabilize the region' ala that f'n bwitch Pelosi because that's NOT what I'm saying) is in our interest. Right now a destabilized Iraq is more in Iran and Syria's interests. We can't stop them. We simply cannot. We've tried closing the western desert and the paths thru the hills for three years(at the cost of many Marine lives)
and haven't succeeded. Do we have to be Custer? 'Another charge!' Balls. Aikido time. Cement what change we have been able to create and make preparations for more. Don't fixate on Iraq qua Iraq as that leads to screwing the Long War.

"The goal isn't stability. It's changing the dynamics in the region." Actually, the long term goal is stability. It's a stability locked in on our terms, but stability non-the-less. A free and democratic Iraq does change the dynamics. A chaotic one with groups pouring their proxies to keep us tied down does not. A stabilized Iraq is in our best interests. It is a shift of the pile from what it was to something else. Maybe not entirely in the direction we originally hoped, but still a change. A bit of momentum we can continue to capitalize on at a later time. Summed up: staying locked down in Iraq, doing it the long and hard way, leaves us a day late and a dollar short because Iran's already making moves, DPRK is already making moves, and al Qaeda and trans national terrorism is already trying to establish itself in Africa(Somalia for instance). Iraq stability is in our best interests when you remember all these other threats we face and stop being fixated on Iraq as the only front in the Long War.

Having them have a stake in Iraq doesn't change the dynamics of the region? Having them tie up THEIR resources, capital, honor, and reputation doesn't work in our favour at all? Baloney. Every buck they send to reconstruction in Iraq is a buck they aren't sending to Hezbollah. Every joker who doesn't spend his entire day holed up in his family compound to evade the violence and sees what our forces and democracy are doing in his country is a little tick in the ledger toward a positive outcome. Old story from the Cold War is that Sov spies didn't last more than six months. They typically defected when they were awed by what was available to them. But, hey, can't get convince people of the benefits by giving them a taste, right? Gotta beat it into their heads instead.

And you're totally right, Cass. Talk and listening is cheap. IF we give Syria and Iran six months to bite on the deal we're offering it costs us nothing. How does THAT translate as a betrayal? It's worth the risk because we risk nothing until there's a firm deal in place. Talk is cheap. All it costs is the breath of the negotiator(okay, just to prove I'm not an idiot I do know that going to Paris and talking to the Ho Chi Minh representatives gave them heart---it isn't so cut and dried in either direction). It's a calculated risk, but one whose pay off is big enough to be worth emboldening the Iranians(what are they going to do? Send fighter to Iraq? They're already doing that. It can't get much worse.)

Dusty, thank you for honoring me with a reply, o' Great Death Giver From Above. John has no choice but to play with me(adopted cat syndrome), but you certainly do. Thanks for taking time out of your day to push this along constructively. But...I disagree with you argument some.

remember, I didn't say that the Iranian Ruling Council wasn't 4 star crazy, they certainly are, and irrational. I did say that from a game theory perspective they were utterly rational since they're ultimate goal is to re-establish some kind of renewed Persian, but oddly Islamic, empire that controls the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula. The pursuit of nuclear weapons is totally in line with that. Thumbing their nose at the US and UN is in line with that. From the standpoint of 'are they consistent between stated goals and actions?' they are utterly rational. And now that I think about it, I wouldn't call them crazy. I'd call them evil, cruel, and a force to be opposed; but not crazy. My enemies are all utterly human and not mythical beasts(an odd take off of an old Heinlein quote).

Stabilizing Iraq with their help is definitely in their interests. But it's also serving some of ours. Like shoring up support for the War in Iraq(I don't know what numbers you're looking at Dusty, but those even on FNC show support for a continuance is hovering around 1/3. People want out because they're seeing death with little moving of the scrum to some type of tangible positive outcome.).

Stabilizing Iraq does several things. It improves the war's image domestically. It improves the wars image in Iraq(or don't you see the Iraq press complaining about how they can't go outside at night, and largely how they blame America for this?)It gets the reconstruction efforts, a major plank in the campaign for hearts and minds, off the ground because we're no longer means having to keep repairing the same stuff over and over. It means Moqtada al Sadr has his bosses tell him to knock it off and co-operate with the IA/INP(and if they don't we have reasons for going after stuff in Iran now don't we?).
Baby steps. Get things working. Then we start the evangelism.
And let's not forget that the majority of Iraqi's have no real love for the Iranians. Even Moqtada al Sadr's people fought against Iran in the Iraq-Iran war. It's just that the small group that fears the US and the opposing sect that's clinging to Iran(and Iranian money/arms/training) that's helping keep chit TARFU. Would or would not having the Iranian and Syrian backed groups out of the game help in stabilizing Iraq and moving our H&M campaign?
Sure, maybe the Iranians see that and so don't bite(which is why MM and I are in agreement in why this plan won't ultimately work). That's a distinct possibility. But it also has a chance of working since the Iranians also have to worry about us partitioning Iraq and giving the Kurds their own state(which means an uprising of Kurds in Turkey and Iran, a major fight that Iran would rather not have right now). There are many factors in play here. Factors some people are either not bringing up or dismissing out of hand. Let's not forget that the Baathist powers(Iraq and Syria) went to war with the Iranians not to long ago.

And getting onto a point on which I see a lot of people seem to be getting hung up on: talking them into seeing the light. Bullshit. I never said that. You guys are trying to force my round arguments to fit into the square that are the democrats/anti-war types. There is a difference to be seen when you stop and look.
I'm not saying cough up the whole region. I'm saying toss them a bone on Iraq. That's it. End of line. Anything else is you building a straw man. Is giving them security guarantees that we won't attack from Iraq giving them a bone? Sure. Why? Take a gander at the geography(Proceedings has a great article on that from last summer. Tanks don't get around well in soft sand or mountains(Western Iran).). Attacking on the ground from Iraq is stuuuuped for a mechanized force like we have. Better to come in from Turkey, or, better still, from the sea into a couple of the ports that are connected to road nets. But we tantalize them with the illusion of something and eliminate an antagonist(in the Iraq sense only) in the process. Never did I say or even imply we accept them going nuc. Don't be taking liberties with what I said. We tantalize them with a potential stake in the outcome of Iraq and then work real hard to win the hearts and minds to our side(instead of filling Iraqi morgues because the Iranians can keep things in disarray on the cheap).

Again, I think you're confusing 'using Aikido' vis Iranian/Syrian influence in Iraq with ceding the region to them/Pelosi def'n of stability. It isn't that, at least it doesn't have to be. There's some thought behind this plan that doesn't go in that direction. I'm saying look at it again so you can see those easily identifiable elements. Make those elements the points you push in letters to CongressCritters and in conversations when talking about Iraq. Holding out for our druthers right now is doing the obstructionist bs the dems did from the '00 election, and look where that got us? Marcinko's rule(#?, I can't remember right now): You don't have to like it; you just have to do it.
Take the single run. Kick the extra point and go for tie instead of the tpc and the win. It's the reality we have. Accept it.
(and how you guys are getting from what I'm talking about, Iraq alone, to Iranian nuclear warfare I don't get. Projection maybe? talking about your fears more than what i actually have written maybe? I dunno.)
We've got five years(2-5 is the number I keep seeing from sources I trust) before Iran has enough for a nuclear weapon. Do we have the forces to do spit about it? Not beyond heavy raids to disrupt. To truly stop the Iranians would take an invasion, for which we have BUPKISS. Does stabilizing Iraq make sense now? Does accepting a sub-optimal short term sol'n there give us the ability to deal with Iran BEFORE it goes nuclear(sorta stabbing them in the back like, giving them something to allow us to get ready for them) make sense NOW? But okay, it's treasonous and stabbing the troops in the back to think about this(okay, you didn't deserve that Dusty. But others around here did.) as I do is it? Fine. Come shoot me.

I'm getting tired of people thinking vertically(oh, reducing trouble in Iraq and keeping the momentum of the Long War going in a two steps forward one step back approach is treason and selling out the Troops). How one problem seems to not have ramifications on the next. How things are nicely cordoned off from each other like food in a tv dinner. In reality it's more like one problem definitely having major ramifications on ten other problems. It ain't fair for me to talk to most of you like this, but it wasn't fair for you to essentially accuse me of treason or terminal stupidity either. This is a mosaic problem. If you're thinking about this in any other way you're going to miss things.

Pols and anti-American Americans? They existed in the Cold War. We won anyways. They're no worse now then they were then(speaking as someone who ran in those circles way back when). We pursued policies that they were able to get all indignant about (anyone remember SOA (School of the Americas)? So what if they exist. We don't have to descend into anwie(I forgot how to spell it John. Even though you showed me how a couple of months ago.). [ennui, Ry. -the Armorer]
Fighting Iraq as we are is not going to put us in a position to do anything about Iran. Fighting it in a way that most of you will accept as not selling the troops out will have us pinned down fighting Iranian and aQ proxies in Iraq long after Iran has a proven nuclear capability; and what effect does that have on the equation?

Take the tie. Go to over time. Keep the chance to win alive. Going for broke has the chance of leaving you broke.

Menace: sorry about leaving you to last. My patience is frayed now and that proll'y means I'll be the most unfair to you. Not intentionally though. I'm just getting tired and annoyed.
But there is something heinously wrong with you argument. America being serious about war equates to genocide? When did that happen? That's probably not what you really meant or really think, but that's what you said here: 'If we'd wanted to use the "stick", we woulda just NUKED or MOAB'd the bastiches, instead of keeping our troops there for 3 years - fighting, sweating, bleeding, and dying while trying to rebuild schools, infrastructure, and other civil institutions." I hate to break it to you, but the same logic could be applied to WW2---since we weren't firebombing every Japanese, Italian, and German city we were really mollycoddling the crazy farkers(and what is with rebuilding the place after destroying it, the nerve!). This is a logic employed by a famous Italian air force general that technology can win every contest, and it's been disproven time and time again. Real political change requires planting boots in the mud, fighting, dying, coming home with nightmares for the rest of their lives, and doing it for a prolonged period of time. That's not me. That's many military historians and professionals starting with Col. Hackworth and Col Fehrenbach(and maybe even including Maj Donovan?).

Nor is war about revenge. War is about, believe it or not, securing peace. MOABing everything doesn't do that. That's just genocide. That's just showing the millions of Moslems in Indonesia and the terrorist Moslems in the Philippines(known as MILF, the Mindanao Islamic Liberation Front) that they need to attack us harder(or do we go and blow all of that up too?). There's too many to kill MM. Better to find a path that kills the least and gets a real peace instead of the silence of all our enemies being in the grave.

Again, people are trying to turn me into Nancy Pelosi(If stable was the only objective, we should have left Saddam in power.). Stop it. Quit making me your stress relief doll(pushing pins into me doesn't make her feel any pain, the cold hearted beatch).

Is stabilizing Iraq, however it's been done, in our interests? yes, it absolutely is. It's the end result of politics by other means. It's always been a goal---stop trying to turn what I'm saying into Pelosi's words gawd damit because they're NOT---since we invaded and decided to put Paul Bremer in the provisional authority head slot. Stability is in our interests. It just has to be stability of a certain type. Why not accept nibbles, a brick by brick approach to attaining that end state? It's a marathon people. not the 100m dash.

Why are you all so opposed to a short term sol'n that gets us much of what we want?

Col63, I don't live in Alice's Wonderland. Just the world that saw us accept the Sov Union as an ally when it served our purposes. That's all I'm saying we do now. Accept the reality, however unsatisfying it is, feed the f'n bulldog, and get on with winning the Long War instead of letting Iraq be the stumbling point for the whole farkin' campaign.



John of Argghhh! briefed on November 14, 2006 06:42 PM

Ry - in your last, you conflated Fdcol with MM. It was Fdcol who talked about nuking and MOABing, just to get that straight.

The key point about this debate is that there is much wiggle room in it between the players. Which is the place we find ourselves in as a country, too.

I read through all this and see valid points in all of the posts, and I don't totally agree with any single person.

But I think enough ink has been spilled on this topic at this point! Let's wait and see what comes out of the White House... and especially in response to the new Congress.

ry briefed on November 14, 2006 08:49 PM

You're right. I can't believe I missed that. Appologies MM. I have wronged thee, sir. Gramercy?