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The Battle for Baghdad 31 October 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, Iraq War.

   Baghdad rooftops

Pepe Escobar has a very very good article up at Asia Times:

[Q]uagmire Iraq is not a 21st-century video game of Arabs playing extras in a slow-motion Armageddon. This is a wrenching story with rivers of real blood and a terrible accumulation of real corpses. The story was engineered in Washington – and the plot would not be advancing were it not for the United States. The US bears all the moral and legal responsibility for the destruction of the fabled former capital of the caliphate and the de facto Western flank of the Arab nation.

It is in this context that the current avalanche of Iraq-related newspeak in the US should be placed.

The recent bloody holy month of Ramadan in Iraq has reflected the hellish mechanism unleashed by the invasion and occupation – the daily, gruesome banquet of death provoked by state-sponsored terror, counterinsurgency, stoked by sectarian hatred or the total collapse of the social contract.

This logic of extermination of a society and culture was inbuilt in the process since March 2003. … Iraq has been systematically destroyed for more than 15 years, non-stop.

And it gets worse, because for the Bush administration all this death and destruction is just a minor detail in the “big picture”.

   Pace Rumsfeld Abizaid

In a perverse replay of what happened in the Vietnamese jungles, the Pentagon lost the asymmetric guerrilla war raging in the Sunni belt. Sunni Arabs are totally alienated. Seventy percent are in favor of attacking the occupiers, no holds barred. No wonder Saddam Hussein is still popular. This month, about 500 Sunni Arab tribal chiefs and former Ba’ath Party officials in the police, army and intelligence got together in al-Hindiya, 25 kilometers west of Kirkuk, to pledge allegiance to Saddam, qualified as “supreme combatant and legitimate president”.

   Forward Operating Base Omaha

It’s true that Saddam’s regime had already started to disintegrate from the inside after the Gulf War of 1991 – a process coupled with the devastating effects of UN sanctions. The resulting loss of civic spirit accelerated the re-tribalization of Iraq. Even as tribal affiliation nowadays is the only way to solve any problem in Iraq, for the silent majority what really matters is security: nobody is troubled by perceived (by the West) Sunni and Shi’ite divisions; and most Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen share plenty of social, cultural and commercial interests. Contrary to Western-propagated myth, Iraqi civil society as a whole – apart from a few factions – abhors civil war.

The coalition of the drilling
World public opinion must switch to red alert. The real, not virtual, future of Iraq will be decided in December.

The whole point is a new oil law – which is in fact a debt-for-oil program concocted and imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This is the point of the US invasion – a return on investment on the hundreds of billions of dollars of US taxpayers’ money spent. It’s not war as politics by other means; it’s war as free-market opening by other means – full US access to the epicenter of the energy wars and the perfect geostrategic location for “taming”, in the near future, both Russia and China.

Very few observers have detailed what’s at stake. In US corporate media the silence is stratospheric.

US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman duly landed in Baghdad this past summer, insisting that Iraqis must “pass a hydrocarbon law under which foreign companies can invest”. Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani was convinced, and said the law would be passed by the end of 2006, as promised to the IMF.


No wonder: the Green Zone US Embassy colossus has always made sure that the US controls – via well-paid Iraqi servants – the Petroleum Ministry, as well as all key management posts in key Iraqi ministries. The draft hydrocarbon law was reviewed by the IMF, reviewed by Bodman and reviewed by Big Oil executives. It was not and it will not be reviewed by Iraqi civil society: that was left to the fractious Iraqi parliament – which can be largely bought for a fistful of dinars.

The Bush administration needs somebody to sign the law. […]

Insistent rumors of a US-engineered coup to replace the hapless current premier Nuri al-Maliki have surfaced of late. Poor Maliki, if he clings to a minimum of integrity, can’t possibly sign the oil law. Enter the Washington/Green Zone-backed strongman a la Saddam: a likely candidate is former interim premier Iyad Allawi, who ordered the destruction of Fallujah in late 2004.

   near haditha, US soldiers being fed by a family  AP photo

No matter what happens in the US mid-term elections next month, this is the post-December scenario: Iraq enslaved by the IMF; Big Oil signing mega-lucrative production sharing agreements (PSAs); “partial” troop withdrawal; relentless guerrilla warfare; further disintegration; open road to partition.

Vast swaths of the US electorate have now understood how the whole Iraqi adventure has been built on lies: lies about the causes of war, lies about the methodology of war, lies about the terrible consequences of war.

Inevitably, the current media-targeted avalanche of Iraq-related newspeak had to be also meaningless.

This includes “phased withdrawal”, “empowering” the Iraqi government, “putting security ahead of democracy” and “partitioning Iraq”.  Surrealism in international relations would reach new highs (or lows) with the US ordering by decree that a sovereign nation must dismember itself.  Compared with it, the current carnage in Baghdad – which is already divided anyway – would be a Disney flick.

There’s more: the Shakespearean despair over “Redeploy and Contain” or “Stability First” – newspeak coined by Bush family consegliere James Baker’s Iraq Study Group, staffed with plenty of pro-war neo-conservatives. A notorious casualty of the newspeak war seems to be “stay the course” – replaced, according to Press Secretary Tony Snow, by “a study in constant motion”. Anyway, the winner – after the mid-term elections – will be “Stability First”, which is basically a remix, with a horn section, of “stay the course”.

How can Americans – and world public opinion – be engaged in serious, meaningful debate when the Iraq tragedy is reduced to a mere catch phrase? This incoherent whirlwind, this “study in constant motion”, is the travesty that passes for Iraqi policy debate among educated elites.

   Bridge Euphrates 2003

Another reading is more ominous. It spells the Bush administration and its attached elites losing control – of everything. And that’s how they can become even more dangerous. On October 19, Vice President Dick Cheney once again stated that the only way out in Iraq was “total victory”.

A recent historical parallel is nothing but gloomy. When the US was confronted with defeat in Vietnam, it did not “Redeploy and Contain”: on the contrary, death and destruction were extended to Laos and Cambodia. Baker’s “Stability First” might contain undisclosed subtexts.

“Total victory”, in Cheney’s world view, means that the Bush administration was not, is not and will never be interested in Iraqi, or Middle Eastern, “democracy”.

What matters is control of the lightest, sweetest, most profitable crude oil on the planet, 112 billion barrels of it in proven reserves plus 220 billion barrels still to be exploited, at a cost as low as US$1 a barrel; a cluster of sprawling military bases; the largest embassy/fortress-by-the-Tigris in the world; and the indispensable client regime.

In sum: a “Coalition of the Drilling” secured by the Pentagon’s Long War apparatus. It’s up to ancient and proud Baghdad to spoil the party. Baghdad survived and buried Hulagu. Baghdad survived and buried Tamerlan. Baghdad may as well survive and bury George W Bush.

    Iraq, April 2003

I think about America – and Americans – every day.  In my heart I know we have never stopped being slave owners.



1. JJB - 31 October 2006

That’s a great article. And where is it published? Not in a US periodical. No, here in the Land Of The Free Press and the Bill of Rights, we get garbage like that which Ronald Brownstein just published in the LA Times:

Bush is moving in the opposite direction. As he often does when he’s under political pressure, he’s accentuating the disagreements between the parties and presenting the differences in the starkest possible terms . . . Bush now routinely labels Democrats “the party of cut-and-run.” At a recent Republican fundraiser, Bush went much further. “The Democrat Party . . . has evolved from one that was confident in its capacity to help deal with the problems of the world to one that . . . has an approach of doubt and defeat,” he declared.. . . Even if Bush succeeds, such a result still will measure how much he has retreated from his hopes of building a broad majority coalition.

Billmon has done an excellent job demolishing this line of argument, so I really don’t have anything to add with regards to that. But notice how the elephant in the room (i.e., control of a huge portion of the world’s remaining oil reserves) is never mentioned as a reason for Bush administration policy whenever the war in Iraq is discussed in the American media. For a discussion of what ought to be obvious to anyone with an IQ in excess of 50, we must depend on publications like Asia Times.

2. marisacat - 31 October 2006

I did not want to dilute the Escobar article on Iraq… but ATimes also had a FP piece on how Russia is surpassing the US as the global arms dealer.

I doubt the Boyz in DC are happy about that.

[I]t is within this counter-network warfare that Iran is emerging as a major source of concern to the US. After all, it played a crucial role in the emergence of the Hezbollah in Lebanon as a respectable fighting force. It was largely the transfer of Iran’s military technology and its asymmetric capabilities to Hezbollah that made it difficult for the high-tech-oriented Israeli military to “eradicate” the fighting capabilities of that organization during the 34-day war in July-August.

During that war, America’s war planners also watched the performance of Russia’s military technology in the hands of its adversaries. For instance, Hezbollah’s use of Russia’s RPG-29s made a name for themselves for making a high kill ratio of Israel’s heavily armored Merkava tanks. Those rocket-propelled grenades were transferred to Hezbollah presumably through Syria.

It was not so much the poor performance of the Israeli military as the impressive showing of Hezbollah fighters through the use of Iranian weapons and operational tactics as well as Russia’s weapons that worried the administration of US President George W Bush. In this context, the 2006 CRS report makes some interesting observations regarding Russia’s sale of weapons to developing countries. Russia’s two leading clients were China and India. In addition, it continues to seek expansion of its trade in the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia. [snip]

I also read an early report, within a year or so of the invasion… and might have been Arkin, not sure anymore…. that our tanks in the field were displaying a weakness in construction. And Russia was developing a weapon tailed to taking out the Abrams.

It may take a long time, but it just seems we have bought our own destruction. As we destroy others.

3. marisacat - 31 October 2006


That is a really good post from Billmon. Someone had sent me the “hate editorial” but i did not know Billmon referenced it.

Agree on what he says about the Rovian plan.

4. marisacat - 31 October 2006

Can someone pull Kerry off the campaign trail? Whatever it takes.

He is not a candidate, he is not over tired, fatigued, there is no excuse. It is all over the cables, all over talk radio.

5. JJB - 31 October 2006

Yes, it’s obvious the GOP wasn’t the least bit interested in seeking accomodation after Bush took office, hell, the way they got him into the White House how could anyone think otherwise?

6. marisacat - 31 October 2006

They don’t mince words. They are public that the plan is the destruction of the Democratic party.

But Dems insist on missing the point of Bush V Gore. And everyhting else that has followed.

For one thing, I think they agree with the R on most things. And certainly some even agreed with Bush v Gore.

At that point, you effectively do not have a party. You have a vehicle of agreement for the dominant party.

7. marisacat - 31 October 2006

The Kerry remarks are moving to the ABC World News.

Meanwhile all the Right does is call the rest of us traitors. And then indicate they don’t really mean that, we are “confused”… but aiding the “enemy”.

Tell Teresa to send the car for Kerry. Take him home. Any of the 7 homes.

8. JJB - 31 October 2006

Actually, from what I’ve read, Kerry is fighting back the way he should have 2 years ago.

And even if the public doesn’t accept it, the truth is finally being told by someone with a high enough public profile for it to make a difference.

9. christian - 31 October 2006

i wish kerry was able to nail his jabs, but what he clearly meant was education would lead to less iraqs.

the right is chewing on this like a bone with a scrap of meat.

but i loved kerry’s smackback to snow etc. at least he’s standing up. finally.

10. Madman in the Marketplace - 31 October 2006

Kerry only stands up now when the attack is on HIM. Like usual, personal pique, that’s all. I have absolutely NO belief that he gives a fuck about any of the rest of us.

11. marisacat - 31 October 2006

I saw the tape of his ”fight back”.

Try and catch if you can. They can use that too.

He needed to be direct. He was not.

Teresa, TAKE HIM HOME. Get him to stop running for anything and to RETIRE.

Let any Dem in the House move up. It does not matter.

12. marisacat - 31 October 2006

Coburn running for governor challenging Lynch the Dem in NEW HAMPSHIRE is running as 100% “Pro Life”… opposes abortion for incest, rape and LIFE OF THE MOTHER. (I am listening to the debate, it was laid out to him that is his position, on the record, he ducked it and there was no follow up)

And we plan to elect how many “Pro Lifers” to the House and Senate?

And they will all vote with the “Pro Life” {Republican] members. On all sorts of issues. Abortion is just the rallying cry. And some undertone of “kill gays”.

13. NYCee - 31 October 2006

From the Political Punch link:

So, the rightwing is making much over this Kerry comment:

“You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well, and if you don’t you get stuck in Iraq.”

Over which this conclusion is drawn:

Uh…. so our brave fighting men and women in Iraq aren’t smart? Is that the implication??

LOCAL REPORTS SAY the line was received with a mixture of “laughter and gasps.”

But then there’s an update

UPDATE: I’m told that conservative talk radio hosts are going to town on this. I’m also told that Kerry meant to be impugning President Bush’s intellect, not that of U.S. soldiers, which I suppose makes more sense given that Kerry enlisted in the military …

Sigh, it just strikes me… isnt that such the way with Kerry? He couldnt CLEARLY and DIRECTLY state that it was Bush he was talking about… not for polite company to name the name, I guess. Polite party people expect ultra-nuanced inferences to be drawn. Ahh, but the rightwing will bulldoze and bullshit all over them. And then Kerry must do damage control. And now the gloves are off! (Now wow?… after so much time, all the opportunites he squandered and mismanaged. No, no wow from me. Cannot drum up a wow.)

I agree with you on Kerry, Marisa. He is damaged goods to me after his miserable performance on Iraq. (And I had thought he would be my candidate – that is, until his IWR vote and all that followed from him on that issue… it just got worse.) Im finished with him as leader material or spokesperson on anything concerning this miserable war (EXCELLENT piece, btw, from Asia Times, and ditto to JJB on disgust over our media’s ultra complicit sins of OMISSION… just can NOT go there!).

14. marisacat - 31 October 2006

Sirota on the coming Democratic blast furnace

All I can say is the party will work – like the devil himself – to keep a lid on it. Blahhgers will see openings to go High Thug.

let it blow. It is already a burning cancer.

15. NYCee - 31 October 2006

In fact, I chimed in on my sentiments about Kerry on a DK rec diary up now, lauding Kerry for his “tough” fightin words in response to the RW smear assault.

Here is the diary:

Kerry Smacks Down Snow, “Right Wing Nut-jobs”

(It seems the troll gunners were quick to jump into the mix.)

16. NYCee - 31 October 2006

One more before I hit the road, topic Kerry.

Do you remember, anyone, when Time or Newsweek did a portrait of each Dem candidate for 04, one of their choosing? It was like a defining thing, what they wanted to communicate about themselves. (I think Dean was in a field, catching a ball.) Kerry’s was like lord to the manor born, sitting in some well-appointed drawing room, in a lovely armchair, with Teresa perched, lady-of-the-manner-like, on the arm. It screamed remote elitism. Yet they were blissfully ignorant of the image they were projecting. Deaf.

I also recall a caller to Cspan, Republican, iirc, whose negative comment about Kerry stuck with me, unlike all the others that got flushed away. It was because it really did, I thought, hit the nail on the head in further defining this ultra political player Kerry had shown himself to be, on an issue as crucial as the war on Iraq. She said that she heard Kerry say that when he was at the bedside of his dying mother the last words she said to him were: “Integrity, John. INTEGRITY!”

Now Kerry chose to share this, I am sure, so as to show what wonderful values his mom had, and thus, the apple doesnt fall far from the tree, ie, mom and son both highly value integrity. But the caller interpreted it differently, and I found hers had a ring of truth to it. She said that to her it highlighted his lack of integrity, as in, who knows a son better than a mother, and why did she choose to drive this word about integrity home to her son at this crucial moment, on her death bed? Perhaps because she knew he, unfortunately, was in great need of such a reminder. Such a push. Perhaps she feared where he would go. Due to his tendency toward political gamesmanship. Due to his lack of …


That was the conclusion the caller drew, and I had to agree, the shoe fit.

17. NYCee - 31 October 2006

Oh, and thanks gong, on your thumbs up on my rant a few threads prior, re the Jerome diary on DK rightwingerishness.

That was a very good diary. Really had to be said. THERE. Luckily, the main players couldnt avoid it getting into recommend, given it was by a popular contributor. 🙂

18. marisacat - 31 October 2006

I’ll tell you something… I never bought the death bed story. I sincerely doubt his mother cared. And I am not being nasty.
It never sounded authentic.

Oh I remmeber that photo essay. And I remember the ‘Ralph Lauren ad like’ photo essay after the selection of Edwards. Photgraphed at her PA estate – of the two families. They FED the damned snide running “gay” joke the Repubs kept running for months. It was a TERRIBLE photo essay of candidates. So fake elite. It was offensive in everyway. It was Gatsby-esque. And the Repubs pounced.

AND I remember the film of Teresa Heinz Kerry at the convention. And I did not really mind her, she was what she was and they/Dem operatives, did not plan via advance work for the type of campaigner and woman she was… they should have done so much better. They LET the Republicans trash her. Maybe they foolishly thought there was osme honor about Repubs. Geesh.

But at the Dem convention, the film of her, intoducing her. Pure white colonialism. And they celebrated it.

SO many missteps. From sheer ignorance of people.

19. christian - 31 October 2006

well, i think kerry is a typical sagittarius — a master of foot in mouth disease. i speak from experience.

but his comment was obvious and clearly not abut the troops.

if kerry could simply parse his words he could be out of this but now we got another fight.

kerry did show integrity by putting himself into a war he didn’t have to attend. and if you watch the devasting 1972 documentary “winter soldier” you’ll see how brave and powerful a speaker kerry used to be.

i bet angelides is thinking, shit, this was s’posed to be my rally!

20. TustonDAZ - 31 October 2006

Howdy Pardners!

Looks like the varmints are invading the “old pueblo” this week:

Former President Bill Clinton will make his way to Tucson Thursday for an event aimed at boosting support for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Pederson.
The event is one of two high-profile visits planned this week on Pederson’s behalf. Clinton’s visit will be preceded by a Phoenix fundraiser on Wednesday featuring his former vice president, Al Gore. Unlike the Clinton event, the Gore visit is a private gathering, said Mark Bergman, Pederson’s spokesman.
This will be Clinton’s second trip to Arizona for Pederson, who is running against incumbent Republican Jon Kyl. In June, the former president raised $500,000 at a Phoenix fundraiser.
Celebrity politicians are also popping up in the Congressional District 8 race. Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, of Illinois, is dropping in today for a luncheon with Randy Graf while New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador and energy secretary, is here on Thursday stumping for Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, who will hold a public rally with him at 3:30 p.m., at a location yet to be announced.


We also have Foley drying out at Sierra Tucson, which is a very upscale “psychological hospital”

I prefer the rattlesnakes and coyotes to these desperadoes, so I’m grateful they’re just visiting…

21. Madman in the Marketplace - 31 October 2006

I just can’t wait for this bad kabuki to be over. Same bad parts, performed badly, lines fumbled and mumbled and delivered poorly. The Dems are doing everything they can to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, like normal, and they can’t help but do so because they don’t actually believe in or fight for anything, other than keeping their wealthy butts in their expensive fancy seats.

22. marisacat - 31 October 2006

There is a really telling thread over at MyDD about the final “closer” ad for Duckworth… THREE fucking million dollars. People are displeased… and you can pick out the Duckworth/Rahm acolytes/ioeratives/whatevers.

Honestly, I don’t expect her to win. Antoher fake Republican. But apparently a fav rave of Rahmbo.

23. gong - 1 November 2006


(“I left the Republican Party in 1992… I was a Libertarian Republican in a party already moving toward its present authoritarian foundation.”)

24. marisacat - 1 November 2006

Dontcha love it. He and his wife both come from hard ass right Republicans. Classic sort of immigrants that seem to think [and sadly are more right than wrong] that America herself is the Strong Man.

I am so unimpressed. I love how everyone thinks that all of this nastiness is SO DAMNED NEW.

But for the classic so called liberal Repubs (who pretty much always did go along with what it took to hold power, once the Birchers and Nixon then Goldwater then Reagan rose to power, IMO) none of this is new, but for the super glue applied to the religionists, Holy Rollers and snake charmers.

IMO what the Repubs did, above all else, was awaken a really crazy base. Mean vicious and white with some brown some black. But above all esle mean.

Pity the Dems are pound for pound as dumb as the Repubs are mean.

25. marisacat - 1 November 2006

Madman, I was just catching up at TAPPED. LOL Ezra thought Kerry meant it just how Bush is using it: That Ivy Leaguers don’t end up in Iraq.

[O]n the Kerry comment, my understanding is that this is a lower-middle class war. After Vietnam, the military began requiring a high school diploma, so you cut out really poor or really uneducated recruits (this always struck me, incidentally, as a bad idea: So long as we’re going to have an army, it may as well offer upward mobility and discipline to those who can most use it). [snip]

There’s 45 comments so I assume someone, several someones defended Kerry.

Sorry, Kerry as the great mumbler back on the scene just put ice in my blood.

26. gong - 1 November 2006

Pity the Dems are pound for pound as dumb as the Repubs are mean.

I think I may find myself stealing that line. 😉

27. marisacat - 1 November 2006

… be my guest… 😉

28. bayprairie - 1 November 2006

scorecard and libretto please.

— in one of the more bizarre twists in this campaign — Shaw (Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr., R-Fla.) has turned to another president to inoculate himself against attacks that he has marched in lockstep with Bush. Last week he ran a radio ad touting his cooperation with former president Bill Clinton, who was on his way to the state to raise money for Shaw’s opponent, Democrat Ron Klein.

“The greatest moments of the Clinton years came when Democrats and Republicans worked together,” the ad said. “Like welfare reform. . . .

might soon become difficult to keep those fucking mods’ party memberships straight without the card.

29. marisacat - 1 November 2006

Ugh. It all smacks of some hideous move coming from Unity 08 in advance of Disunited 08.

There is all sort of soft mumbles out here that Arnold faking being so “liberal” and interested in the “environment” is the lead in for 08.

What ever, a big snow job moving into place.

The parties may have been scamming with lots of fake moves for a long long time, but feels recently as tho they have just plain old MERGED. Leveraged B/O. Arbitraged to death. and so on…

30. wu ming - 1 November 2006

it would be a relief for all the so-called mods and centrists in both parties to just up and form their own gang of 14-esque party, and put the haggling out in the open.

it maddens me that everyone buys ahnult’s “moderate” line, hook line and sinker. proof of the center having been defined extremely far left, anything right of frothing mcclintock and mountjoy is officially reasonable. idiocy.

31. wu ming - 1 November 2006

d’oh. defined extremely far right, that is. pity.

32. marisacat - 1 November 2006

Elections mess in Ohio

hmmm I don’t know what to make of that. Goes over my head at a quick read… but I have liked articles from Fitrakis and Wasserman before.

33. aemd - 1 November 2006

The GOP has been searching for a way to get their dispirited base to the polls. They know, in an off year election, GOTV is everything. The entire Bush team has been out fighting to find a way to win back the base they had in 2004. Kerry handed it to them. He just made 2006 all about him. Just like 2004 and look how well that turned out for the Dems in Congress.

The GOP is gonna hammer this all weekend and Kerry will be out there pouting and spouting. Somebody in the Dem party better grab the hook and pull that egotistical asshole off center stage. What an idiot.

34. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 November 2006

Kerry uses language the way a handless man spins pottery on the wheel. You can make what he says mean whatever you want it to mean … god knows HE doesn’t ever make it clear what he means.

Go away John, please.

35. JJB - 1 November 2006


I saw that Kos statement about being a Libertarian GOPerative at about 5:30 AM EST, and damn near tossed my breakfast. The essentially thuggish/reactionary direction of the GOP was apparent long before 1992, and what was Bush the Elder but a somewhat less incompetent version of his son who liked to send US troops wherever he fancied? Bush Daddy gave us Gulf/Oil War I, brought about largely because the first BushCo. was too stupid to realized that Saddam was hinting that he’d invade Kuwait in the summer of 1990 and they gave him a frivolous answer that inadvertently convinced SH that he had a green light and that never adequately explained attack on Panama that probably killed several thousand poverty stricken residents of Panama City. Then after his electoral defeat, he sent US troops into Somalia as a nice little stink bomb to plague the incoming Clinton Administration.

Funny that Mr. Zuniga posts this rubbish so soon after Jerome a Paris’ recent diary over his realization that a lot of right-wing views are espoused on Big Orange Slop under the label of “progressivism.” Either the boy lives in a bubble where he’s isolated from such things, or he simply doesn’t realize the implications of what he writes. Probably both, with the latter more in the mix than the former.

BTW, there’s an article over on Salon.com about how the Dems seem finally to have stumbled onto a wedge issue they can use very effectively against the GOP — stem cell research. This link should take you to the article, where you can watch the little commercial that will give you the whole story. Interesting read. For once, the Dems are taking advantage of something that resonates with voters. Maybe it’s the start of switch in philosophy that will end up bringing about real progressive change.

And I feel safe in predicting that Kerry’s malapropism won’t make the slightest bit of difference in next week’s election. OTOH, it may very well torpedo his chances for 2008, which is fine by me at this point. It’s a win/win situation, on other words.

36. TustonDAZ - 1 November 2006

SYFPH or if “we” lose its your fault:

Now, I understand that we are a week from an election and as such everyone is working hard and on edge. And our paranoia and anxiety are high.

But people.

Shut up.

At this point, only we can beat ourselves. If we don’t work hard or vote because we are convinced even our victory doesn’t matter in changing America, then we lose.

ecetera, ecetera ad infinitum aud nauseum
Delaware Dim(wit)

Perhaps we should all genuflect before the Orange Lord and start praying for penance…

37. marisacat - 1 November 2006

Well apropos of the Republicans flying as Dems …

Listening to Wash Journal… a polisci prof on to discuss Kansas politics. As he discusses that several Republican office holders swtiched to Dem this year (the Great Sibelius Adopt a Repub plan… LOL) he mentions that they are social conservatives and that none of the “Kerry-like Dems” will be visiting to campaign.

So the host says – and I am not kidding:

Is anyone running there as a Dem? Or all they all moderate Repubs and conservative Republicans?

And Aistrup the polisci guy says just what you would think:

“They were losing running as moderate Repubs, so they just moved over… run as a Dem”.

I do think that sums it up. And Blogger Boyz are so shocked shocked shocked at all the conservative Democrats crowing.

Sooooooooooooo shocked.

The party is lousy with Trojan HOrses… and IT IS NO SURPRISE!

38. JJB - 1 November 2006


Del Dim(wit) knows whereof he speaks, since he was the author of a diary that said John Edwards was possibly a Communist. One guesses that might have been flushed away, but maybe not.

Anyway, he’s a prime example of someone who should STFU but never does.

39. JJB - 1 November 2006


It appears Del Dim(wit) did delete his “John Edwards Is A Commie” diary, but another poster copied all the text and posted it in a diary of his/her own. You can find it here. Stuff like this shouldn’t be allowed to vanish down the memory hole.

40. colleen - 1 November 2006

Del Dim(wit) knows whereof he speaks, since he was the author of a diary that said John Edwards was possibly a Communist.

Years ago, when I posted on political groups on usenet, the right wingers used this ploy and particularly when anyone tried to express some concern for the poor. Indeed I was once compared to Pol Pot when I expressed opposition to that obscenity of DLC/Republican social policy called welfare reform. Now, in less than a month I’ve seen two DK ‘leaders’ employ the same reasoning (the other being Meteor Blades’s pathetic insinuation that I’m sympathetic to maoists because I don’t buy his increasingly thin liberal persona.) Three actually if we count thereisnospoon’s rant on booman where he decided ‘redistribution of wealth’ and ‘equality
between the sexes’ were earmarks of the ‘authoritarian left’.

some big tent

41. marisacat - 1 November 2006

Don’t forget thereisnospoon, the Dem strategist/consultant with Bowers and Bonddad… who says Dems have commies as a voting constituency.

and remember, thereisnospoon front pages at more than one so called Liberal Blog [but they are not] and is – it seems – always on the Rec List at the Libertarian Republican Orange Site.

Oh yeah and the Boyz are SO SHOCKED at all the conservative Dems crowing. Talk about the two right hands claiming not to know each other.

Three Blind Mice.

42. colleen - 1 November 2006

Oh yeah and the Boyz are SO SHOCKED at all the conservative Dems crowing.

I agree that their shock is entirely manufactured, most of them just aren’t that stupid. Indeed, Adam Smith has been crowing about the new ‘business friendly’ Democratic party around here in my (and RonK’s) territory and expressing his satisfaction that the ‘business community’ is coming around sucking up like they used to.
Perhaps they’re looking to the future when a good many people connect the dots and what these assholes mean by ‘idealistic pragmatism’ becomes obvious in RealPolitik terms and they lose credibility.

Dana will have to spend weeks deleting and purging the blog.

43. JJB - 1 November 2006

I know there’s a new thread, but this seems the most appropriate place to post the following three items.

The first is an article by Michael Lind from Counterpunch:

The third and final act in the national tragedy that is the Bush administration may soon play itself out. The Okhrana reports increasing indications of “something big” happening between the election and Christmas. That could be the long-planned attack on Iran.

An attack on Iran will not be an invasion with ground troops. We don’t have enough of those left to invade Ruritania. It will be a “package” of air and missile strikes, by U.S. forces or Israel. If Israel does it, there is a possibility of nuclear weapons being employed. But Israel would prefer the U.S. to do the dirty work, and what Israel wants, Israel usually gets, at least in Washington.


The Democrats taking either or both Houses of Congress, if it happens, will not make any difference. They would rather have the Republicans start and lose another war than prevent a national disaster. Politics comes first and the country second. Nor would they dare cross Israel.


What I fear no one forsees is a substantial danger that we could lose the army now deployed in Iraq.. . . Well before the second Iraq war started, I warned in a piece in The American Conservative that the structure of our position in Iraq could lead to that greatest of military disasters, encirclement. That is precisely the danger if we go to war with Iran.

The danger arises because almost all of the vast quantities of supplies American armies need come into Iraq from one direction, up from Kuwait and other Gulf ports in the south. If that supply line is cut, our forces may not have enough stuff, especially fuel, to get out of Iraq. American armies are incredibly fuel-thirsty, and though Iraq has vast oil reserves, it is short of refined oil products. Unlike Guderian’s Panzer army on its way to the Channel coast in 1940, we could not just fuel up at local gas stations.


Unfortunately, no one in Washington and few people in the U.S. military will even consider this possibility. Why? Because we have fallen victim to our own propaganda. Over and over the U.S. military tells itself, “We’re the greatest! We’re number one! No one can defeat us. No one can even fight us. We’re the greatest military in all of history!”

It’s bull. The U.S. armed forces are technically well-trained, lavishly resourced Second Generation militaries.. . . They can be defeated by strategy, by stratagem, by surprise and by preemption.. . . If the U.S. were to lose the army it has in Iraq, to Iraqi militias, Iranian regular forces, or a combination of both (the most likely event), the world would change. It would be our Adrianople, our Rocroi, our Stalingrad. American power and prestige would never recover.

In a similar vein, the German debacle at Stalingrad is also on Billmon’s mind as he discusses a piece by Col. Pat Lang:

Col. Pat Lang is worried that Shrub’s stubborn refusal to consider any alternative to “total victory” in Iraq is preventing the Pentagon from planning for less favorable outcomes — including some potentially catastrophic ones:

From talking to people involved, I perceive that “planning guidance” from our national leadership to the military focuses altogether on excluding any thought that there is a possible outcome other than a complete victory in Iraq, “victory” being defined as complete achievement of President Bush’s goals in that country and in the region.

Planning guidance like that effectively prevents contingency planning for future events that would be severe reverses. An interruption of the lines of supply would be such a reverse. A hostile entry into combat of one or more of the Shia factions would be another.

There is an extremely Godwin-unfriendly precedent for this sort of behavior. In the autumn of 1942, the German general staff looked uneasily at the fronts north and south of Stalingrad, which were held by a thin crust of Axis satellite troops (mostly Hungarian and Romanian) stiffened with a sprinkling of German panzer units. The generals pleaded with Hitler either to call off his offensive towards the Caspian oil fields and pull the attacking force (Army Group A) back to the vulnerable areas, or to shorten the front by pulling Sixth Army back to the Don River[.]. . . Hitler categorically refused to do either.. . . Both offensives, he decreed, must continue, even though the Wehrmacht simply didn’t have the strength to achieve both objectives. All his generals could do was watch and worry — until the Russians smashed into the weak fronts north and south of Stalingrad and bagged the entire Sixth Army.. . . Even after the Russian encirclement, Hitler still refused to allow Sixth Army to fight its way free. Nor would he even allow his generals to plan for such a breakout.

Finally, there’s Juan Cole:

Sunni Arab guerrillas near Tikrit north of Baghdad set up checkpoints, stopped minivans, and asked the passengers if they were from Shiite villages such as Balad. When the answer was yes, they kidnapped 42 persons.

Patrick Cockburn suggests that such actions are not random violence, but rather are part of a Sunni Arab strategy of surrounding and cutting off Baghdad.

Cockburn is correct. The Sunni Arab guerilla movements have been attempting to cut off Baghdad for some time, and have at times successfully imposed a fuel blockade on it. So far the blockade has been stacctto and not very successful. But if they really could blockade the capital, they could deprive the Iraqi police and army of fuel for their vehicles, and then execute them. This step could only come, of course, once the US begins withdrawing. Once that process starts, the Shiites had better start negotiating with the Sunni guerrilla groups, or else it wouldn’t be long before the Green Zone fell.

My only quibble with that last passage is that I don’t think it will take the withdrawal of US forces for Baghdad to become encircled and isolated from the rest of Iraq. I think it could happen within the next few months, and if we do attack Iran, the Shia south will explode, cutting off our Baghdad-based troops and civilian personnel from Kuwait. At that point, they’d have a choice between trying to survive a seige in a city in which massive numbers of mostly Shia guerrillas would be shooting at them, or attempting a breakout and fighting their way to Kuwait along a very bloody and long route. I’ve been afraid of this nightmare scenario coming to pass for a long time, and as things stand now, it seems to be coming to pass.

Here is a link to the Cockburn article, and the piece by Col. Pat Lang.

44. bayprairie - 1 November 2006

And I feel safe in predicting that Kerry’s malapropism won’t make the slightest bit of difference in next week’s election.

OTOH, it may very well torpedo his chances for 2008, which is fine by me at this point. It’s a win/win situation, on other words.

i’m picturing john o’neill with live ammo. kerry’s 2008 run is as dead as allen’s is. shot himself in the foot with his own mouf.

two down, and how many more assholes to go?

p.s. i love this one from that delawaredim diary.

Vote Democratic. Because you have no choice

45. bayprairie - 1 November 2006

oooops! second blockquote supposed to be bolded!

silly tags

46. christian - 1 November 2006

i wonder what good ol’ republicrat kos has to say about chevron today….

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 — The Interior Department has dropped claims that the Chevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.

The agency had ordered Chevron to pay $6 million in additional royalties but could have sought tens of millions more had it prevailed. The decision also sets a precedent that could make it easier for oil and gas companies to lower the value of what they pump each year from federal property and thus their payments to the government.

Interior officials said on Friday that they had no choice but to drop their order to Chevron because a department appeals board had ruled against auditors in a separate case

47. CSTAR - 1 November 2006

JJB.Good article (thanks for the link) particularly, the demolishing of the CW (espoused by both Dems and Repubs) “We’re the greatest! We’re number one! No one can defeat us. No one can even fight us. We’re the greatest military in all of history”. We can add one more to the list of shared (between Dems and Repubs) CW “No moral equivalency” between the U.S. and its enemies.

48. JJB - 1 November 2006


You’d think that after the Chinese Army drove us from the Manchurian border and overran Seoul this “No One Can Defeat Us!” mantra could have been laid to rest, but no, we had to lose not only a battle but a war in Vietnam (where, so we liked to brag, we never lost a battle and as a North Vietnamese official put it, even if that’s true, it’s irrelevant), and still we refuse to learn the lesson. Back in May 2003, one of my neighbors who was then very recently retired military (he was leader of a Navy fighter squadron), was going on and on about how this was the greatest victory in history and the WaPo was too much of a lousy left-wing rag to give our magnificent military credit for this extraordinary triumph — given the resources available on either side, the extraordinary thing would have been if we’d taken any longer to enter Baghdad. Anyway, he was drunk and in the process of getting drunker, so I declined to point out that the war had only just begun, and that when if finally did end in the distant future it was bound to end badly.

BTW, isn’t it time someone pointed out that while our military is certainly the most powerful in history, it doesn’t actually seem to be much good? Just what is so great about anything the US military has done in the last 60 years? And what’s so great about a great military? Wasn’t the WWII Wehrmacht just about the best army ever to take the field, never losing a battle in which it was evenly matched and frequently winning ones in which it faced decidedly superior forces? Maybe being lousy at military matters is a good thing.

49. marisacat - 1 November 2006

we’re going to be taken down by a dedicated fighter with a AK 47, the bare bones kit for IEDs and some old, some new RPGs. And some of the men who will have trained him, will have been trained by us…

Meanwhile we bleat “greatest”. So fading empire.

50. wu ming - 1 November 2006

the only way to be invincible is not to actually fight, but just threaten.

iraq, like korea, like vietnam, proved that yes, americans are mortals.

to everyone other than the americans, of course.

51. NYCee - 1 November 2006


If the Kerry’s mother’s death bed comment (“Integrity, john, integrity!”) was cooked up (I never saw him utter it, just got it from that caller), it only speaks even more pointedly to his problemo grande, i.e., even when (if) he carefully crafts – nay, concocts – a message in order to reap a positive, it is more easily construed as a negative!

It makes it even more classic Kerry than if it were genuine.

God a mighty!

Anyway, now he has scored another classic hit… hit himself right out of the ball park! Indirectly, of course.

And of course, there is a correct interpretation of his comment that a lot of poor kids go into the military to survive, not out of some high flown, Webb-like uber patriotism. Many of them. (Something we are not to utter in our MIC saluting culture) But in his hamhanded way he made it sound like it is not poverty but slacking off that has them marching off.

He well knows that sorry truth (like the rest of our establishmentarians) but is afraid to say it outright, but it seems to have gotten wormily woven into his message anyhow. He can no longer control his battle with truth and political expedience.

He could have avoided all this by simply making it about Bush. Directly.

But he seems to have long passed that point.

52. hmmm… No. « Marisacat - 28 November 2006

[…] Last month I linked to a Pepe Escobar Asia Times article in The Battle for Baghdad… […]

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