Great statesmen and great fools are both bold; what distinguishes them is a practical understanding of the world in which they act. In that light I am very interested to know the fallout from Ibrahim al-Jaafari’s recent press conference in Cairo.
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Reaching out to the Sunni Arab community, Iraqi leaders called for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces and said Iraq’s opposition had a “legitimate right” of resistance.
If this obvious olive branch in the direction of the Sunni resistance plays out as intended then we could very well pull out and win, in the sense of leaving behind a state that’s capable of managing its ethnically pluralistic affairs without us. If the Pentagon plays along as well this move could effectively sever the al Qaeda anarchists from the anti-occupation nationalists, making the counterinsurgency a whole lot easier. Or will he embolden the insurgents by calling their resistance ‘legitimate’? John’s torture post below suggests that trust will be hard-won between the Sunni and Iraq’s Shiite leadership. Stay tuned to see how the primary target audience and the secondary target audience, respectively the Sunni insurgents and the Pentagon, react.
Via Juan Cole, al-Hayat reports that the Americans asked the Iraqis to ask the Americans for a timetable. If true, that’s one way to advocate for a withdrawal and still attack those who do so publicly.
I saw an announcer (just a regular annoucer, not a news anchor) on TV this morning, and she made a good point to me. She said that just because the Sunni’s are “resisting”, and are not in power at the moment, it doesn’t mean they have the right to blow up women and children in this quest for power. She thinks it’s strange that political resistance can legitimately mean blowing regular people up and lots of people think that’s okay. Heck, the Democrats aren’t in power right now, and even THEY don’t go around blowing up Republicans. Well, not yet anyway.
Pop quiz jack:
Who’s missing in this statement?
well, bush DID say when iraq wants us to leave, we will leave. so . . .
As an aside, over at Slate today, Hitch coined a new term to describe the pro-war side: “sympathizers of the intervention.”
Saying it’s time to bring the troops home is demoralizing to them.
Saying they should stay in Iraq where the government feels that it’s citizens killing them is no big deal is supporting the troops.
I just don’t get the nuance…
It’s funny to see how people read into that declaration exactly what they already believed.
At Daily Kos, it’s “The Iraqis want us out NOW!!!!!”
For the Bush-Backers, it’s “The Iraqis want us to stay the course.”
Neither side is particularly good at picking up nuance and reading the declaration as a whole–which clearly indicates that (A) the US needs to have the Iraqi military ready to take over before it leaves; and (B) that the US needs to communicate to the Iraqis its specific plan for leaving.
What? Iraq’s opposition has a “legitimate right” of resistance? Adelman told us were only three elements in Iraq: candies, flowers and foreign jihadists.
Where did this “opposition” come from?
Noted without comment: Americans Feed Withdrawl Talk to Conference.
Cowards. They just want to cut and run back to… er Iraq.
“Where did this opposition come from?”
Presumably from where Dershowitz claimed the Palestinians came from: nowhere. A figment of arab propaganda, full of phlogiston and elan vitale.
You and that woman both need to learn to read, scs. The agreement does NOT contend that insurgents have the right to attack women and children.
That is the first paragraph of the story Tim links to, so unless you didn’t bother to check it, I’m not sure where you get off thinking that ‘the announcer on TV this morning, made a good point’. Her point is irrelevant.
“Cowards. They just want to cut and run back to… er Iraq.”
and surrender to themselves
I think al-Jaafari’s role as President is less important to him as a leader of the Kurds.
By turning Iraq into a late-term abortion, an independent democratic Kurdistan with close ties to the US is viable.
Pop quiz jack:
Who’s missing in this statement?
“Though resistance is a legitimate right for all people, terrorism does not represent resistance. Therefore, we condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing and kidnapping targeting Iraqi citizens and humanitarian, civil, government institutions, national resources and houses of worships,” the document said.
That would be members of the United State Armed Forces in Iraq to provide security for these sleazy weasels. They can justify their “right of resistance” (against us?), but can’t condemn attacks on the U.S. military. They intentionally did not mention U.S. soldiers. Our young people die for them and this is the best they can do?
I’m not sure if I’d rather see them hang together or hang separately. Doesn’t matter.
Quite plausible that we fed them the timeline. Nov. 2007 gives the GOP a year to run for the White House without our being in Iraq.
Surely no one thinks that military, not political, necessities would motivate such a timetable?
Okay, I think I misspoke (or miswrote). Of course we all condemn terrorism (well mostly), but even to blow up military targets is not really a “legitimate act of resistance” in my opinion. The Sunni’s are not just fighting us, they are engaged in a power struggle with a rival group of their own countrymen. And somehow, people are over the world, even in civilized countries like ours, seem to think this is defendable act of resistance by the Sunnis. When it comes to Sunnis and Shias, it’s a political struggle, not resistance. No one should think it’s in any way “legitimate” to solve political struggles with bombs, even if it’s “just” against soldiers and politicians. It would be a whole lot more legitimate if they learn compromise.
You mean like a Bush would do?
On that I couldn’t agree more.
Which was why I was against this war to begin with.
When I say political struggles, I’m talking about internal political struggles like the Sunnis and Shias. Political power struggles, not foreign wars. Bush hasn’t bombed any Dems yet, has he?
I’ll say it again. Bush had only two options:
– Increase force size, which would mean a Draft.
The Draft option is not politically expedient. The Withdrawal option can work to their advantage if they can convince Democrats to jump and shout and yell for it. Just think of it… for the next 30 years they get to blame the Democrats for cutting and running, despite the reality being Republican piss poor planning.
These guys are like arsonist fire fighters. They set things on fire, and then try to rush in to put it out and get all the flame and glory.
Works great, until everything goes wrong on ya, and you’re caught holding a bottle of lighter fluid and a match.
For instance, I could almost understand the Sunni resistance agsint the US. But more Shias have been killed than US Troops, and that’s probably even after you deduct all the Shias that were killed as collateral damage while Sunnis were trying to kill US soldiers. And somehow, this is still thought of as “legitimate”.
You may have confined the intent of your statement, but I think it has broader reaching implications.
This foreign war with Iraq was largely based on political power struggles – on many fronts. And while Bush hasn’t ‘bombed any Dems’ yet, he has certainly sent many a shot across their bow with his tireless rhetoric.
Like I said, bombing shit is NEVER a way to get what you want, whether it’s internally or externally (figuratively or literally).
I do not condone the violence, but unfortunately that is what happens when you get involved in a blood feud between the
HatfieldsSunnis and the McCoysShiites.
I wonder where Davebo is?
Anyway, I just skimmed the Juan Cole piece and he said:
Sounds like a dig to me. Does anyone know if Juan’s been pushing for a withdrawl?
Okay, scs’s new rule. Bombing shit is okay, if you are bombing to save the life of people and that’s the only way to do it. Also if you are bombing to save the physical life of people in the future (potential development of threat, ie. WMD) But not okay to bomb shit cause you are greedy and you want to run the country and build really big palaces. Maybe we can put this one up there with the Hitler reference rule.
This is absolute rubbish. I don’t buy into the ‘taking lives to save lives’ meme. Sorry. I think that all lives are equally sacred. And incidentally, bombing Iraq was NOT the only way to ‘save life’.
Again, taking lives does not save lives. And as far as the potential of threat goes, who gets to decide that? Why exactly is America so special that we can make unilateral movements that others cannot? And what happens when you destroy physical life but do not save future life because the threat potential was non-existent?
Well, that pretty much sums up the American position – just replace palaces with military bases.
Anyway, your rule stinks, scs, because it has too many caveats and conditionals that make it impossible to apply uniformly. That is why my rule is better:
Bombing shit is NEVER a way to get what you want.
Juan Cole has been pushing the idea that a rapid withdrawal would have too great a chance of leading to a full-scale civil war, which in turn would disrupt the oil industry and depress the world economy. That doesn’t mean he’s a stay the course guy either. I think he summed it up well in a post entitled “Sometimes You Are Just Screwed.”
I don’t know John S. I’d settle for “John’s Rule” if it were more like this:
Bombing shit is almost NEVER a way to get what you want.
Unless you want shit all over the place.
Why waste bombs on shit anyway? Get a shovel nimrod.
Okay, for those less inclined to absolutism, I can go with:
Bombing shit is NEVER* a way to get what you want.
*Except in the event that the threat to humanity is real (not imagined) in the form of an imperialist dictator that posesses actual military might (see: Hitler, Napoleon) and is intent on world domination.
Finally some glimmer of sense here. Bombing shit is a damned fine way to get what you want, if what you want is “Hitler to stop invading countries.”
Where it’s deeply problematic is when the shit being bombed belongs to a country that didn’t attack us and is full of people who will bomb our soldiers right back. That shit sucks.
Seems like scs’ rule would include a caveat that her ass is nowhere near the line of fire when the people whose heads the bombs are landing on get pissed off and bomb back-oh,sorry,I’ve just been informed that’s one of the rules for College Republicans.
Its nice to see the Iraqi gov’t is getting more serious about taking over security responsibilities. Of course we’ve always said we would leave when they asked, and we were always planning to leave eventually. The question has always been: do we leave on U.S./Iraqi gov’t terms, or do we leave before that, essentially running away from the battle with the insurgents? Attacking those who advocate the latter is not hypocritical by those who advocate the former
But people on both sides have to remember something:The insurgents have not won a platoon-level or higher engagement with U.S. or Iraqi forces in over a year.
As long as U.S. air support is available (which I’m guessing it probably will be indefinitely), the insurgency is basically nuisance-level militarily. They can inflict casualties on passing convoys, but they can’t win an engagement and therefore aren’t much of threat to take over the country, though they can make life very difficult in areas they control by default due to lack of coalition/Iraqi gov’t presence. As the clear-and-hold operations continue in Anbar, the territory they can freely operate in is getting smaller and smaller. Given the growth of level II battalions and overall ISF forces, it’s not unreasonable to think the Iraqis could take over and our ground forces could be out in 2006 (except for some embedded advisers in the Iraqi units) and still meet all of the benchmarks the military has set, esp. when you consider there are already more ISF troops today than there have ever been US coalition forces in Iraq, and they continue to grow by 5,000 – 10,000 per month.
I guess all you guys with the bombing quips opposed the Iraq, Serbia, and Sudan operations Clinton did, too.
And here I thought even TallDave could understand the premise of such a simple rule as:
I guess I was wrong.
Actually, I think it needs several more restrictions, if it’s ever to become a slogan. Bombing shit is great, for example, if what you want is a lot of property destroyed or people killed.
Juan Cole says al-Hayat says … yeah, there’s reliable sourcing.
Pentagon document that identifies WP as a chemical weapon. That is, at least back when Saddam used it …
As hard as it may be for TD to accept, I have a funny feeling that anyone who is a pure pacifist opposes the dropping of bombs by Democratic presidents, too. Yes, it’s fun to claim that half of the country is motivated by nothing other than Bush hatred, but one shouldn’t forget that it’s not actually true.
Damn right,Charlie-what kind of moron would think a guy who gets paid for his expertise on the Middle East and reads original sources in their original languages knows what the hell he’s talking about.And no doubt you asked the guy servicing your furnace about that funny lump on your neck.
Here are some more damn lies about our beloved president.
I understood what you said, but I’m pretty sure you didn’t. You think genocide and terrorism should go unpunished, as long as the leader doesn’t profess dreams of world domination? I think RSA had it about right.
Juan Cole is the “expert” who said 9/11 was in response to Jenin… which happened after 9/11. Then he tried to pretend he never said it, but was later forced to admit he had.
Ah, so you’re saying Iraq did have WMD.
No, TallDave, as usual you did not understand. You prefer to state preposterous positions that you fancy I have in order to obfuscate something that is so painfully simple.
I phrased a litmus test for when I think waging war is acceptable. Our presence in Iraq fails that test, which does not mean that I ‘heart’ terrorists and genocidal maniacs.
But by all means take it upon yourself to contine channeling the Amazing Kreskin and tell me what I’m thinking.
Which is probably why they don’t employ these tactics, and instead rely upon guerilla attacks.
What is with people who claim “If you are fighting using our rules, which are designed to give us the greatest advantage, then you really aren’t trying.”? This is the same damn stupid shit that got David Hackworth pissed off during Vietnam.
It’s clear you don’t want to win. So why are you so opposed to withdrawal?
Whatever your take on this news the funniest reaction has to be Rich Lowry’s over in The Corner. I’m paraphrasing but he says: “Iraqis agree that they want US troops out and that the insurgents have a perfect right to kill US troops. What good news. Iraqis are agreeing with each other. Fantastic. Oh and the substance of what they’re agreeing on is largely symbolic; pay no attention to it.”
To say “The insurgents have not won a platoon-level or higher engagement with U.S. or Iraqi forces in over a year.” is a meaningless distinction. Look at the war in Vietnam: the North Vietnamese and the Cong nearly always sustained heavier casualties than our side in serious skirmishes. Hell, even in the Tet Offensive (in which the North basically cleaned our clock), there were a lot more dead “theirs” than “ours.” Which is, as Steve S. says above, why they preferred guerilla-style attacks designed to strike fast and hard, as does the Iraqi insurgency. It’s less about “winning,” as it is “driving the enemy fucking nuts”… nibbling away at the opposition like termites, rather than charging them like a tiger. It has been said that Ho Chi Minh was inspired to use this strategy by studying the tactics of George Washington – evidently, his knowledge of American history was quite impressive.
The reason the North Vietnamese could sustain a far heavier body count is simple enough (and holds equally true for the war in Iraq): it was far, FAR more troublesome and expensive to replace a fallen American fighter than a Vietcong one. Think of what it takes to prepare a U.S. fighter for action, from boot camp to war zone. Furthermore, “theirs” outnumbered “ours” by a considerable margin. Just as, in Iraq, Special Ops estimates that 500,000 Iraqis are currently working for the insurgency.
That figure should give us pause… because there was never a single moment throughout the Vietnam War where the U.S. was winning, even with more than half a million of our men in the field. Why? Because we never had the North anywhere near the point of surrender. Not even close. We had the might, they had the will.
Which is why I’m pessimistic about the prospect of peace in Iraq anytime soon.
It isn’t meaningless. We lost hundreds of platoon-level engagements in Vietnam, and ultimately S Vietnam was conquered by a single NVA armored column… because American air power and military aid had been taken off the table.
The Iraq insurgents are like the VC without the NVA: no armor, no industrial base, no free areas to operate in, and no hope of winning. And they have support from a much smaller segment of the population. (The VC were later rounded up and killed by their erstwhile NVA allies; so much for the “invincible guerrilas”).
because there was never a single moment throughout the Vietnam War where the U.S. was winning,
Ridiculous. What about the time of the Paris Accords?
Which is probably why they don’t employ these tactics,
Wrong, they do, and continually lose.
I was pointing out your litmus test allows for genocide.
Also, if you accept there are 500,000 Iraqis working for the insurgency directly or indirectly (that being 10% of the 5 million Sunnis), you must also accept there are at least 2 million Iraqis working against them (that being 10% of the 20 million non-Sunnis), and probably a lot more. The pro-democracy Iraqis also have tanks, body armor, training, and $2 billion in oil money every month. It’s not an even fight even before you toss in the American support on top of that.
And I was pointing out that you are full of shit because you do not seem to know how to decipher what a ‘threat to humanity’ is. So I’ll try this again and spell it out for you:
Last time I checked, genocide was a real threat to humanity. Saddam Hussein qualified in 1991 because he HAD been commiting genocide, he HAD military might, he WAS intent on domination (in his part of the world) and he WAS an imperialist dictator.
By 2002, all he had left going for him was being an imperialist dictator.
TallDave,I’m aware of the episode you point to-so what?Juan Cole is one man who blogs daily,in addition to his full time employment-he made a mistake,subsequently corrected(without benefit of editor or proofreader),in the larger context of making a point about anti-American hostility being fueled in part by Israeli behaviour,which was seized on by the right as evidence of his lack of credibility.Read him critically(as I do,from his left),or don’t read him because he challenges your paradigm,but to continually point to that single mistake(as his detractors do)as reason to dismiss him altogether has more to do with your politics than his reliability.You might benefit from holding the administration and the military to the same standard of veracity you expect from Professor Cole.
That might have been an optimistic analysis two years ago. Today I just have to let the fact that your imaginary opponents of the insurgency have not come any closer to winning yet speak for itself.
BTW who are these pro-democracy Iraqis? DAWA? SCIRI? The Badr Brigades? The Mahdi Army?
“But people on both sides have to remember something:The insurgents have not won a platoon-level or higher engagement with U.S. or Iraqi forces in over a year.”
Welcome to the Mekong Delta.
Charlie says “al-Hayat says … yeah, there’s reliable sourcing.”
As opposed to CNN with Wolf Blitzer, who is a former Washington correspondent for the Jerusalem Times and a fomer AIPAC executive?