Maliki Turns Towards Iran: Will We Yet Lose in Iraq?

BY Herschel Smith
11 years, 7 months ago

I have been following the political machinations in Iraq, and warning against a government ruled by Maliki.  Amir Taheri outlines the sheer magnitude of trouble brewing in Iraq as a result of Iran’s influence.

Last week, he (Maliki) concluded an accord with the Sadrist bloc — whose leader, firebrand mullah Muqtada Sadr, has been living in the Iranian holy city of Qom since 2008. The two men pretend to have forgotten, if not forgiven, the bloody battle for Basra that broke Sadr’s Mahdi Army (trained and led by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard).

To clinch the deal, Maliki has dropped his “Iraq first” rhetoric in favor of a pan-Shiite approach. He has agreed to stop legal proceedings against the fugitive mullah, who’s wanted in Najaf on a charge of murder. Maliki even has dropped hints that the remnants of the Mahdi Army, which fled to Iran, would be allowed to return with impunity.

Yet the Sadrists demand more: key posts, such as ministers for oil, the interior, defence and education. If they succeed, the key policies of Iraq’s government could be made in Tehran.

Tehran helped the deal by ordering its oldest Shiite clients, the so-called Supreme Islamic Assembly of Iraq (and its armed wing, the Badr Brigades), to back Maliki. Another Iran-sponsored Shiite group, under ex-Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, has also thrown the little weight it has behind Maliki.

Even then, the math doesn’t work. Maliki’s bloc, The State of Law, won 89 seats in the 325-seat National Assembly. Adding the Sadrists, the Badrists and the Jaafarists yields 156 — still seven short of a majority. But Maliki’s advisers claim that he can seduce enough independents to secure a bare majority.

Forming such a government would be bad for Iraq and the region — and for Maliki’s place in history. It would be based on less than 40 percent of the votes in the election. And more than 90 percent of those votes came from only nine out of Iraq’s 18 provinces.

An estimated 30 percent of Shiites didn’t vote for the four parties in the proposed coalition. In five provinces, the coalition parties didn’t draw even 1 percent.

No government in Baghdad would be able to run Iraq without the support of the secular bloc of Sunnis and Shiites led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, which came first with 91 seats. And any new government must also win over the Kurds, some 20 percent of the population.

The three Kurdish parties, with 60 seats, could give Maliki a strong majority. But their price is too steep. They want a third of the Cabinet and insist that no key decision be taken without their approval.

They also want a free hand to exploit oil resources in their three autonomous provinces — and to annex oil-rich Kirkuk, where Kurds are 40 percent of the population.

There is a host of problems associated with the current U.S. engagement in Iraq, not least of which is the highly restrictive Status of Forces Agreement which has Soldier’s under virtual house arrest, unable to do anything without Iraqi permission.  The tactical capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces is still highly questionable, and in one recent engagement called the Battle of Palm Grove, the ISF couldn’t handle even the basics of small unit fire and maneuver warfare.

But even within the current framework, there are still missteps by the administration that are making the problem far worse.  Continuing with Taheri’s assessment:

Maliki’s advisers tell me that he decided to turn to pro-Tehran groups because he believes the Obama administration has no overarching strategy in the Middle East, let alone in Iraq. By constantly apologizing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and talking of leaving Iraq (and the region), President Obama risks reducing the United States to irrelevance in a complex power game that could decide the future of the Middle East.

Vice President Joe Biden’s public appeal to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to intervene in the formation of a new government showed the administration’s failure to understand the desire of most Iraqis, including Maliki’s supporters, to keep the mullahs out of politics — a desire shared by Sistani himself.

Maliki’s ability to hang on is not limitless. By the end of this year, as the term of the annual budget ends, his government could run out of money. His accord with the Sadrists suggests that he’ll announce a new government before then. Such a government, however, might prove unstable, making a political crisis, leading to fresh general elections, a possibility.

The Obama administration appears to have no plans to deal with the situation — even though, for all the talk of leaving, America still has 55,000 troops and perhaps as many civilian workers in Iraq.

Desperate to secure a government in Iraq – any government – the U.S. administration has done exactly the opposite of what is needed, and continues to send exactly the wrong message.  China continues to violate the trade embargo with Iran, weapons are still being interdicted from Iran on their way to fighters in Afghanistan, and the administration continues to pretend that diplomacy is accomplishing forward progress with Persia.

Maliki knows better, and he is laying his bets on Tehran to prevail.  It is estimated that fully one quarter of U.S. deaths in Iraq were at the hands of Iranian fighters.  Even more came from Iranian-backed fighters.  Their ghosts demand justice, but instead find that the U.S. and Iran may even be colluding to invoke power sharing in Iraq.

And thus this administration may yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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  1. On October 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm, Diggs said:

    Ahmedinijahd is a stronger, more reliable leader than Obama?
    Knock me over with a feather.

  2. On October 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm, Mo said:

    This administration is traitorous. Not Maliki, the Obama admin. It gets clearer by the day. Examples too numerous to mention, but making sure our soldiers’ sacrifices will have been in vain will be one of the most egregious examples, but only one of many.

    Of course, if/when things go further downhill in Iraq, it’ll all be blamed on Bush. But just like Vietnam, it’ll be the fault of the Left. Sad.

  3. On October 19, 2010 at 1:15 am, Blacque Jacques Shellacque said:

    Of course, if/when things go further downhill in Iraq, it’ll all be blamed on Bush.

    Some of it can be. Fallujah should never have been allowed to turn into Insurgent Central, and Muqtada Sadr should have been promptly turned into worm food the day he poked his fat little head up and started trouble.

  4. On October 19, 2010 at 1:16 am, Fen said:

    Pakistan is making the same deal. What OBL said about strong horse rings true. The only thing American allies can count on is that Obama will throw them under the bus.

    This is the “smart diplomacy” we were promised.

  5. On October 19, 2010 at 7:18 am, KP said:

    Toonces has no vision, no wisdom and no insight into world and regional politics. He and Biden make Carter-Mondale look like world class geniuses.

    I think Toonces gets up every day, admires himself in the mirror then decides if it’s a vacation, golf, tossing someone under bus, or driving off a cliff. Personally, I think option 4 is best and it would be a crying shame if there were empty seats on the bus to Obamaville!!!

  6. On October 19, 2010 at 7:20 am, KP said:

    PS – Ad Hominem? Let the facts in evidence speak.

  7. On October 19, 2010 at 7:36 am, craig said:

    It was doomed to be thus from the start. Arabs will always side with fellow tribesmen against neighboring tribes, and with neighboring tribes against non-Arabs; Moslems will always side with other Moslems against infidels. The only exception is when they are bribed to do otherwise. Any dreams Westerners might have had that we could forge real, and not temporarily rented, alliances were foolish delusions all along.

  8. On October 19, 2010 at 7:43 am, jbrookins said:

    The American Politician and at times the military brass simply don’t know anymore what victory is or how to achieve it. Because we can’t define it or our enemies we are going to have continued low grade warfare and failure.

  9. On October 19, 2010 at 8:49 am, Brock said:

    There could be peace in Iraq if the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds were able to agree on that. But they can’t, so there won’t be. Maliki must turn to Iran because the Sunnis and Kurds will not turn to him (and he won’t turn to them). Obama sure isn’t helping, but ultimate peace vs. civil war is a local decision, and the locals bear the greatest responsibility.

  10. On October 19, 2010 at 12:27 pm, TS Alfabet said:

    To Mo: agree. Do Obama’s actions rise to “high crimes and misdemeanors.” I think an argument could be made.

    To Craig: true in general that all humans (and not just Arabs) will side with the ones most like themselves against “outsiders.” Even so, it does not follow that the Middle East is a hopeless place for the U.S. to involve itself. To the contrary, a great nation takes all factors into account including local prejudice and then forges a grand strategy that works in its best interests. If you want to really feel hopeless, then keep looking for anything like a grand strategy from the knuckleheads in the White House.

    To Brock: yes, locals are ultimately responsible, but, again, great nations do not wash their hands of difficult situations like this and walk away. Like it or not, the Middle East affects the U.S., here and now, in critical ways. Unless you are Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan, we cannot leave it to the Chinese, Russians and Islamofascists to decide the fate of the world’s oil supply and take our interests to heart. They won’t. Pardon the over-used historical analogy, but we are seeing the 1930’s all over again in the Middle East where we are allowing a mad-hatter (Ahma-dinner-jacket) to build up nuclear and conventional forces and fundamentally alter the balance of power in this region. (Not to mention the growing presence of Iranian-backed terror cells in Latin America). We could have taken action against Iran any number of times since 1979– we have had every kind of provocation imaginable from this fascist state– but we have done NOTHING. We always have an excuse to do nothing. But, as my Marine Corps brother used to say, “Excuses are like armpits: everyone’s got ’em and they all stink.” If we had ever stood up to the Iranians, 90% of the troubles in the Middle East would resolve. You name it: Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Turkey, the Gulf States.. Iran is at the bottom of every crisis. One day— soon I predict– our interests will be attacked or so threatened that we will have to act. And there will be an awful price to pay in blood and treasure. And, just like WWII, we will look back and say, If only we had acted boldly sooner. If only.

  11. On October 19, 2010 at 4:54 pm, craig said:

    TS Alfabet, my point was not a general one but specifically that this culture considers “don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family” its prime imperative. Three myths have crippled the West going all the way back to the Victorian days of the Great Game.

    The first myth is that great powers only need to contend with the ambitions of other great powers. This is what led to Lawrence’s Arab nationalism, America’s support for the Saudis against Britain’s for the Hashemites (and vice versa), the Suez incident, the nationalization of Western-developed oilfields, France’s asylum to Khomeini, and America’s support for the Afghans against the USSR. In every case, anti-Western rulers have profited and strengthened from the West’s dismissals of their threat potential.

    The second myth is that of economic determinism. This Marxist-derived idea is what leads us to propose ineffective “war on poverty” strategies to counter the jihad, ignoring the data that indicate that Islamic anti-Western action increases with wealth. It is also what leads us to expect roads, bridges, and schools to win the allegiance of tribesmen who are far more concerned with what their neighbors think.

    The third myth is the secular academic idea of multicultural equivalence. This causes us to accept all our enemies’ premises, insist on the compatibility of Islamic morality with Christian morality despite all evidence, display ritual fealty to Islam even in our own actions (white gloves??), and foolishly entrench Islamic pre-eminence in law into the constitutions we are able to assist in creating.

  12. On October 19, 2010 at 8:33 pm, TS Alfabet said:

    Your recitation of “myths” seems very solid, Craig.

    Allow me to be picky here, nonetheless as to what you call your “general” point about the culture’s “prime imperative.” This may be too strong a descriptor. We have certainly seen instances where tribes have sided with an ‘outsider’ against their own tribe. The Anbaris in 2006-2008 are one example. Perhaps the better formulation is that your “prime imperative” is actually one of simple, self-interest. Where an outsider can show that opposition is not only futile but decidedly against self-interest, the culture permits and even encourages alliances against the “family” (as you call it). Or perhaps, “family” gets defined much more narrowly, as in those Iraqi sunnis who are siding with Al Qaeda are no longer “family” and, thus, it is permissible to side with the Americans against them.

  13. On October 19, 2010 at 10:01 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque, as regular readers know, I wore Bush out for his failures too. I’m an equal opportunity critic.

    Craig, looks like you’ll get along well here. I appreciate the discussion with TSAlfabet. But I want a legitimate e-mail address to be posted along with comments.

    Thanks to everyone else for their comments.

    TSAlfabet, as always, thanks for the clarity and great comment(s).

  14. On October 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm, Warbucks said:

    Craig, You bring to the table what seems to be a robust and enlightening classical understanding of middle eastern attitudes and propensities. But I do not understand if you are leading up to a strategy or if you are serving as a critic making counter point. “It was doomed to be thus from the start,” rings true in my ear, but then what? You seem to be describing a US national strategy vision between Muslim and the rest of the world? Or do I miss your point?

    I’ve personally come to the point that we pull the troops out and bring them home. I think we’ve achieved a sufficiently important point, real or imaginary.

  15. On October 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm, Taking Tokyo said:

    TS-Love the comments…

    You just made a great almost Churchillian warning about the future. I will give you credit for this. But you never look at the antecedents. I don’t buy your solution.

    A. Take Iran. “The Devil”. I was there in 1972 and saw the Shah’s police arresting and beating people right on the street. Just like we see now. Before they were our BEST Friend. Now, our worst enemy?

    B. Iraq. We supported Saddam Hussein against Iran in the 1980s. Not a great friend, but from the the 1950s a member of SEATO. We all know the invasion right, wrong, or indifferent was based on hyperbole and false analysis to say the least. Now we have Muqtada Sadr, and Maliki in Qom. Going are way is it? The Captain saw through this pretty well again.

    C. Egypt, our Friend. Since Sadat we have armed them to the teeth and allowed them to evove via the successor regime to the most corrupt and hated regime since Iran. Whats next there? Mubarak’s son or a revolution?

    D. Saudi Arabia. Say no more. Friend? or Foe. Another great success.

    E. Syria; Never talked to them since 1972, since they were a Soviet Ally. Since then didn’t talk to them since they were against Israel. Friend or Foe, but strangely enough do not hate us quite as much as the other countries we have been greatly involved in.

    F. Lebanon. Former Ally 1950s. Turned Hezbollah, which is one kick butt opposition force against Israel. Another mess.

    G. Jordan. Ruled by a King, hated by his population, has not collapsed yet.
    Dubai etc, Emirs and somehow never get attacked by terrorists? Wonder why?

    G. Pakistan. What can you say about this 10 Billion Dollar Aid recipient. Kills our soldiers in Afghanistan, plays dumb about everything in the war on terror. May be overthrown by an Islamic Mullah before or After Egypt collapses.

    Now what you have here is 60 years of failure. Not cultural, but we have gone from friend to foe with all of them. Why? No one wants to talk about that. Can’t be our problem. Can it? You think about it.

    What you are saying is that we need to not wait and just invade them all?

    For whom?



    fear of nuclear weapons(again)?


    They are going to take over the world?

    We are a Great Power we should just do it?

    It is in our national interest?

    We really want to spend the treasure of our lives to occupy every country
    like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    We have enough soldiers to do this?

    Does China and Russia go into the call to action, we should take them on?

    Occupy India later too, if they go rogue on us?

    We are a great nation, we should just do this?

    We need to make them respect us?

    If we just beat up one more country ie Iran then all the problems would be solved?

    In your picture, we ARE in the 1930s, but we are Germany.

    Might makes Right, and damn the torpedoes again, bring it on, just do it?

    Never once trying to figure out how such a pleasant situation got to be such a mess? Just go for it?

    No. I am not buying into this. Give me Ron Paul any day.

    Constant war, neverending war, is not going to do it. I have heard this same line since 2001.

    You bought into the NeoCon thing hook line and sinker.

    It is not patriotic to rubble your own country on hyperbole and false analysis.
    If you love your country you do not get into messes you cannot solve ever.

    Say we do what you say and occupy the whole world? Then what?

    Afghanistan and FOBS in every country and every American male deployed for not 10 years(we have done that now) but centuries a la Rome.

    Sorry, I am not doing this.

    I like General Powell, Get in, get the job done, that you had to do, Get out, Reload and prepare to do it again when and if you must. That and and only that. We had the formula just right, played with it and look what happened.

    No Greater Friend, no Bigger Foe, is the only way to go.

    Screw with me, I screw harder with you, and then I go.

  16. On October 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm, TS Alfabet said:

    @ Tokyo:

    Well, I will give *you* credit. Your perspective is certainly one side of the argument, and forcefully done.

    It is a bit of a straw man (and greatly weakens your argument) when you claim that I am in favor of invading every country and imposing a Neo-Roman empire. No one is in favor of anything like that, so let’s put that one in the dumper.

    Also, your grand tour of the Middle East is interesting, but not entirely on point. Even if we assume that your pithy summaries of each nation are correct, the most that can be said is that alot of stupid policy has been concocted, attempted, and tolerated over the last 60 years. Does that somehow justify a Pat Buchanan or Ron Paul position of, basically, “To hell it with the rest of the world” now? Where does that get us?

    Has the U.S. made mistakes, backed obnoxious regimes and chosen its allies poorly at times? Of course. But is it so much easier to play Monday morning quarterback and forget what our predecessors faced. Come to think of it, I seem to recall that we were allied with and sending billions of dollars worth of war materiel to some guy named Josef Stalin in the 1940’s. All he did was kill about 30-40 million of his own people, sign a secret deal with Hitler and enslave Eastern Europe. Where do you come down on that, or on World War II in general?

    If we subscribe to your theme of “If you love your country you do not get into messes you cannot solve ever” then we had better each retreat into our own, personal bunkers. This world is “messy” with problems that are hard to ever, really solve, certainly not this side of eternity. But we do what we can with what we’ve got, here and now. And sometimes we get it right and make a difference for good in the world. I would venture to say that the GI’s who served in WWII felt that they had accomplished something good in the world when it was over. But, wait. I forgot. We STILL have military forces in Germany AND Japan, more than 60 years after the armistice. Isn’t that messy? Did we really solve that one? According to your formula, it makes no difference whether the Third Reich is in charge of Europe or democratic states (although I am hard pressed, I admit, to argue that the EU is much of an improvement). What about Korea? Mistake? Terrible mess? General Powell would surely say that we should be out of Korea by now, right??? How about the Cold War with the Soviets? Talk about messy and something that could never be solved. Thank God your pack-it-in mentality did not prevail there, though Lord knows the Democrats tried to surrender to the Soviets throughout the 70’s and 80’s. For 44 years the U.S. waged an undeclared but still deadly battle against the forces of tyranny and, in the end, we prevailed.

    My rather belabored point is this: are we really going to say that these wars, terrible as they were, did not, in the end, advance the good of mankind and save the earth even more terrible suffering? I hope not.

    Rather than argue over whether removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do, or whether we should be tolerating the Saudis’ funding of radical Islam, we should debate what we do now with what we have now. I happen to agree with you that the Saudis and Egyptians are not our friends and we should be actively working toward good alternatives. And, to return to my point in the prior comment, there are many, intelligent people who believe that Iran has been the catalyst for most of the problems we have now in the Middle East. My argument is that Iran is a kind of lynch pin and we let them continue at our own peril, much as we did with Hitler in the 1930’s. We don’t need to invade Iran now (yet), just as we did not need to invade Germany in 1935. A great nation turns to its military only rarely and as a last resort. Obama, for example, threw away a golden opportunity to fully support a popular uprising in Iran in 2009 that would not have required any overt military action.

    So here we are, facing a quickly running clock to a nuclear Iran. I would love to hear your arguments with respect to Iran and Iraq. Maybe you can explain how we can better defend ourselves by retreating back to American shores. What does that look like? What kind of message are we sending to our mortal enemies? What are the alternatives. Enlighten us.

  17. On October 21, 2010 at 9:35 pm, Warbucks said:

    We must take measures to return to participatory democracy while preserving the republic. We are thinking, acting and extending our vast powers without using clear, simple, direct words. When we go to war, we should formerly declare war as was intended by the spirit of the US Constitution. We have been in over 250 armed conflicts and declared war, what 5 times?

    If we can not raise the passions of men to fight in a spirit of the Constitution then so be it. We should refrain from going to war.

    All that we are arguing about above is micromanagement. We should either unleash the dogs of war or stay out of harms way.

    If there now is a point to the war we now fight, it escapes me.

    Close down this war and bring the boys home.

  18. On October 21, 2010 at 11:01 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Well, there are a lot of issues here, too many to address comprehensively in a single comment. I just don’t have the time. Some of my previous posts touch on these issues. To Rich and Taking Tokyo, look, we have talked about OIF 1, and whether or not you or anyone else supported it, there was no question about the need for us to support OIF 2 and 3. 80 – 100 foreign, some or most religiously motivated, fighters, flowed across the Jordanian and Syrian borders each month for a very long time. You simply don’t want those fighters flowing across our porous Souther border.

    OEF is a different story, but for those who believe that the Taliban won’t buddy up with the transnational insurgents again like they did before 9/11, you are naive.

    Not all COIN has to be nation-building, and we don’t have to wage total war (bomb it to glass) for us to wage war. If the nation cannot support the continued displacement of Taliban in another 15 years because of its lack of infrastructure, corruption, and so forth, well, the U.S. Marines can go back in and do it again. The Marines will be around in 15 years. They have been in small wars for the entire duration of the existence of America.

    The founding fathers – who enacted the Marines before even the declaration – knew exactly what they were doing. They knew that Marines are an imperial force, associated with force projection and protection of our interests without having to wage war in the homeland.

    And as for that matter, one specific chapter still stands out as recommended reading for everyone here: the first chapter of Imperial Grunts by Robert Kaplan, entitled “Injun Country.” We have been expanding our borders and fighting our wars on soil that was not the homeland proper ever since the days of the American Indians. It has worked.

    You don’t want to wait until we are attacked. And you don’t want fight our battles in the malls and protecting the water reservoirs and infrastructure. We will lose. For those of you who haven’t read it, I would point your attention to:

    Taking Tokyo, you are educated and interesting, but your view (and that of Paul’s) is naive. Not even Ron Paul wants to pull a full on Ron Paul. During his portion of the presidential debates, he stated that he wanted to befriend and engage in trade with Iran and all manner of rogue states. Understand, he doesn’t. There are those who would kill us because of nothing other than our beliefs. See Michael Ledeen’s book The Iranian Time Bomb.

    We can refuse to meddle, but what we can’t do it practice this in a vacuum. We must also enact a number of other very serious measures, such as stopping all trade (we can’t inspect even a fraction of the shipping containers), stop cross border traffic (note that I didn’t say stop illegal cross border immigration, I said stop cross border traffic), bring almost to a halt any new citizens in the U.S. except by birth, and even then perhaps not), and harden the infrastructure (bridges, roads, commercial fossil power plants, and many other things in the nation would need expensive modifications to mitigate risk and ensure 24-hour security).

    Again, not even Ron Paul understands the implications of his views. Believe me, I understand the emotional draw of military isolationism, but also believe me when I say that military isolationism comes with a price, i.e., complete isolationism in every other way. The country is not prepared for that.

    Isolationism is not a perfect solution, and neither is military engagement of our enemies on non-U.S. soil, so the objection that things can still slip through the cracks is not a valid one for either approach. Nothing is perfect, but something must be done. The issue I am pointing to is that you must fully consider ALL OF THE IMPLICATIONS of your views in order to tell me that my solutions are wrong.

    Let’s be fair in our comparisons.

    Oh, and Rich, one more thing. I don’t apologize in the least for being a tactically oriented web site. I am now and will forever be an advocate for the enlisted man.

    You can take it or leave it.

  19. On October 22, 2010 at 9:46 am, Warbucks said:

    “Oh, and Rich, one more thing. I don’t apologize in the least for being a tactically oriented web site. I am now and will forever be an advocate for the enlisted man.”… yes I deeply respect that. Keep up the good work. Perhaps I should keep my mind in the trenches and not look above the horizon when I comment.

  20. On October 22, 2010 at 10:26 am, Warbucks said:

    “The issue I am pointing to is that you must fully consider ALL OF THE IMPLICATIONS of your views in order to tell me that my solutions are wrong.”

    That is indeed perhaps a great weakness of my input.

    It seems to me that a strong defense is indeed needed for the preservation of the values we hold dear under the Constitution. Why does exercising our muscular abilities in response to attacks, more and more, lead us into projected conflicts of decade lengths?

    It seems to me the Powell Doctrine of measured response was far more in keeping with our national interests and character, than a protracted engagement that seems to be oriented to changing the economic dynamics of the region for the benefit of national hegemony of corporate interests. Are we so fine tuned as a high-tension organization called America,
    that we must shroud our national interests always in the loud industrial noises or our war machinery? When does the pitch ever relax back into an appreciation and celebration of the sounds of silence.

    I can no longer properly assess our national interests of our continued presence in this region of the world, other than to now transform legitimate national defensive response to an attack, a decade later, into the empire building and power extension of corporate America. …. which makes me think and ask the question, are we there still because we were attacked or are we there because the shroud of war noise making always surrounding us, decade after decade, prevents us from hearing when a legitimate measured national response has been completed?

    But I know nothing about tactics and protecting our men and women in the trenches. That expertise seems to be well vested in your hands and the hands of the comments from others on this blog. Please forgive me for alway peering at the horizon and wanting to hear nothing but birds chirping, butterfly wings flapping, and the sound of trout eating flys cast above their waters. Perhaps this is why I am a follower and not the leader of nations.

  21. On October 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm, Taking Tokyo said:

    Great response TS…

    Everyone is pointing out the Ron Paul…I would PREFER that to endless occupations. Also, I think that is the way it is going to be. I am not
    a Ron Paul devotee, neither I am a fan of the last ten years of WOT and
    the way it is going in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    I think I made clear at the end I support a General Powell approach to all of this. That is intervention without endless occupation. Does not mean you never fight, does not mean you do not stay. But you do not stay and wait for things to go to hell on you. Get the job done, and leave. Go back and do it again is all right with me. Never going to cure all ills by staying and sitting on them on the other side of the world.

    If anything, these insurgents have proved in the past several years, that they will fight us, and no occupation is going to be a cake walk.

    Captain was so right, Iraq may not be over yet. In 20 years I do not expect them to be our ally.

    There has to be a better option out there, and that was my main point. It may be a mix of all of the above.

  22. On October 23, 2010 at 10:14 pm, dmouse said:

    Well seeing the news sofar, they just may run faster to iran.

  23. On November 9, 2010 at 4:20 pm, Warbucks said:

    This episode should make entertaining viewing if you happen to be in the neighborhood:

    Catching or Committing Fraud? Analyzing Afghanistan’s Parliamentary Election Results ( )

    November 15, 2010, 10:00 am-12:00pm EST

    U.S. Institute of Peace
    2nd floor
    1200 17th Street NW
    Washington, DC 20036

  24. On November 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Rich, we’ve been down this road before, but we’ll do it one more time. All comments should be relevant to the article. I would rather not have the comments section used for randomized advertisements for other sites and links, even if someone finds them interesting.

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