Sunday, June 26, 2005
JOURNAL: The Great Game.
A great game worth tens of billions of dollars in profits is now in
motion ("a Soros moment" in hedge fund parlance). The key to the
pay-off: predict when, where, and how global guerrillas will strike
next. The game is...
JOURNAL: Baghdad under Siege.
The New York Times reports that Iraq's global guerrillas have begun a
siege on the systems that support Baghdad. Again, global guerrillas
proves to be the best source of insight into this unfolding conflict.
Insurgent attacks to disrupt Baghdad's supplies...
War News for Sunday, June 26, 2005
Bring 'em on: .... War News for Sunday, June 26, 2005
Bring 'em on: At least four Iraqi policemen killed in a suicide bomb attack on police district headquarters in Mosul.
Bring 'em on: At least five Iraqi policemen killed and two wounded in suicide bomb attack on a police patrol in southern Mosul.
'em on: Two civilians killed after three bomb attacks is followed by a
battle involving U.S. tanks and helicopters that lasted about three
hours in Tal Afar.
'em on: Suicide bomb attack and insurgent gun attack on the home of a
special forces police officer kills at least nine in Samarra.
Bring 'em on: Three Iraqi policemen killed by armed gunmen 75km south of Amarah.
Bring 'em on: Body of a uniformed Iraqi policeman found in Baghdad.
Bring 'em on: Firefighters continue to battle a huge fire on a crude oil pipeline near Yussifiyah.
Bring 'em on: One truck driver killed after insurgents launched a gun and RPG attack on a convoy in northern Baghdad.
Bring 'em on: Five Kurdish rebels killed by the Turkish military near the Iraq/Iran border.
Peace Talks or Therapy?:
After weeks of delicate negotiation involving a former Iraqi minister
and senior tribal leaders, a small group of insurgent commanders
apparently came face to face with four American officials seeking to
establish a dialogue with the men they regard as their enemies.
talks on June 3 were followed by a second encounter 10 days later,
according to an Iraqi who said that he had attended both meetings.
Details provided to The Sunday Times by two Iraqi sources whose groups
were involved indicate that further talks are planned in the hope of
negotiating an eventual breakthrough that might reduce the violence in
Iraq. I sincerely hope that the wingnuts and the warmongers will not construe this as giving therapy to the terrorists.
Iraq: Two Brothers, Two Deaths
600 extra reservists boosts Britian's military presence in Southern Iraq.
Opinion and Commentary
seemingly endless flow of bad news has sparked deep unease among many
Republicans with an eye on tough mid-term elections next year. It has
also opened up an apparent gap between senior White House officials and
the army. Both Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice-President
Dick Cheney made aggressive statements saying that the war was on track
and the insurgency was being defeated. However, senior generals,
including John P. Abizaid, commander of US forces in the Middle East,
paint a much less rosy picture.
Such developments have
emboldened Democrats to go on a fierce offensive. In a response to
Bush's radio address, Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser
under Jimmy Carter, slammed the President for turning Iraq into a
training ground for terrorists. He said the war had been conducted with
'tactical and strategic incompetence' and made the United States less
America has is finally realising that it has been cruelly misled;
drafted into this war under false pretences. A majority of the
Americans now tell opinion pollsters that the war wasnât worth it.
Nobody seriously believes that the invasion has lessened the risk of
international terror. The CIA warned last week that a new breed of
super-militant jihadists is being schooled in Iraq, much tougher and
more ruthless even than the mujahideen who emerged from the Afghanistan
in 1980s. Well, they were warned.
Pretty soon, American mothers
are going to demand a halt. An exit strategy. But the defence planners
never had one. They believed their own propaganda. They thought that
with smart weapons, stealth bombers and computerised logistics, this
war could be fought from the air. Shock and awe would show that
resistance to American might was futile. Bush thought his boys would be
coming home almost as soon as they arrived.
This has been shown
to be the USâs biggest military miscalculation since Vietnam. It
isnât quite the same scale of disaster as the war in Indochina, but
it is going the same way. Donald Rumsfeld conceded last week that there
could be no timetable for troop withdrawal. His exit strategy is âone
As in Vietnam in 1965, America is now facing a
difficult choice: escalate or get out. But it will take many more
deaths and many more billions to sort out Iraq â if indeed it can be.
it must surely be clear, even to Bush, that this is simply not
possible. The only safe withdrawal would have been not to go in in the
Now, there are many who argue that â whatever the
merits of the invasion â the allies have a moral obligation to remain
in Iraq âuntil the job is doneâ�. Itâs our mess, and we should
clear it up. We owe it to the Iraqi people to restore law and order and
essential services before we clear off.
It is highly likely now
that there will be some kind of civil war in Iraq once the Western
armies finally leave. This is now a heavily militarised nation, where
violence is endemic and weapons are plentiful. Society has been
shattered, essential services â electricity, water â have still not
been restored, and the economy is in ruins.
This is true.
However, it is hard to see how peace and order can be restored while
the country is under foreign military occupation. The nominal
government is only able to function so long as it remains in the
US-protected Green Zone. It can have no legitimacy when it appears to
be held hostage by the US.
As far as civil war is concerned, we
may only be delaying the inevitable. A timetable for withdrawal might
at least force the rival factions to the negotiating table. It could
get the international community to re-engage with the problem. The
longer the war goes on, the more it will divide the West and sour the
climate of international relations.
Indeed, it is arguable that
Iraq has been at least partially responsible for the breakdown of this
monthâs EU summit. The enmity between Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac
dates from the war of words over the second UN resolution, which we
almost accused France of opposing because it wanted to win contracts
from Saddam. The attempt to divide the continent between âoldâ� and
ânewâ� Europe was also a result of the desperate diplomacy before
The enmity will not be far below the surface at
Gleneagles. However, instead of sniping at each other, world leaders
should use this G8 to agree on an exit strategy from Iraq, complete
with a UN- sanctioned timetable for withdrawal. America needs to be
saved from itself.
The presence of Christian occupiers in a
Muslim country not only makes Iraq a magnet for every Islamic extremist
on the planet, it also prevents there being any reconciliation of the
antagonistic cultures within Iraqi society. America is the problem, not
There comes a time when you have to realise that if you want to stop breaking eggs you need to abandon the omelette.
Cheney's response, in a CNN interview, was to insist again that the
insurgency faces defeat and that its attacks reflect its desperation.
Such wishful insistence poses at least two perils.
is that if the administration believes that the present course is
leading to imminent victory, it won't take necessary steps, such as:
increasing pressure to make quick progress toward a new Iraqi
constitution and elections; improving recruitment and performance of
Iraqi security forces, and sealing the porous border between Iraq and
Another is that if the American people decide that their
elected leaders cannot face or tell the truth, they are likely to
become more pessimistic than even the current challenges warrant. That
could lead to disastrous political pressure to withdraw U.S. forces
Before the war, Mr. Cheney and other administration
chiefs blithely shrugged off warnings about the difficulties of a
postwar occupation and predicted that Americans would be welcomed by
Iraqis as liberators.
They were laughably wrong then. They're wrong now, but there's nothing to laugh about.
Krugman: Hold Bush Accountable:
this former imperial capital, every square seems to contain a giant
statue of a Habsburg on horseback, posing as a conquering hero.
founders knew all too well how war appeals to the vanity of rulers and
their thirst for glory. That's why they took care to deny presidents
the kingly privilege of making war at their own discretion.
after 9-11, President Bush, with obvious relish, declared himself a
"war president." And he kept the nation focused on martial matters by
morphing the pursuit of al-Qaida into a war against Saddam Hussein.
November 2002, Helen Thomas, the veteran White House correspondent,
told an audience, "I have never covered a president who actually wanted
to go to war" - but she made it clear that Bush was the exception. And
she was right.
Leading the nation wrongfully into war strikes at
the heart of democracy. It would have been an unprecedented abuse of
power even if the war hadn't turned into a military and moral quagmire.
And we won't be able to get out of that quagmire until we face up to
the reality of how we got in.
Let me talk briefly about what we now know about the decision to invade Iraq, then focus on why it matters.
administration has prevented any official inquiry into whether it hyped
the case for war. But there's plenty of circumstantial evidence that it
And then there's the Downing Street Memo - actually the
minutes of a prime minister's meeting in July 2002 - in which the chief
of British overseas intelligence briefed his colleagues about his
recent trip to Washington.
"Bush wanted to remove Saddam," says
the memo, "through military action, justified by the conjunction of
terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed
around the policy." It doesn't get much clearer than that.
U.S. news media largely ignored the memo for five weeks after it was
released in The Times of London. Then, some asserted, that it was "old
news" that Bush wanted war in the summer of 2002, and that WMD were
just an excuse. No, it isn't. Media insiders may have suspected as
much, but they didn't inform their readers, viewers and listeners. And
they never have held Bush accountable for his repeated declarations
that he viewed war as a last resort.
Still, some of my
colleagues insist that we should let bygones be bygones. The question,
they say, is what we do now. But they're wrong: It's crucial that those
responsible for the war be held to account.
Let me explain. The
United States soon will have to start reducing force levels in Iraq or
risk seeing the volunteer Army collapse. Yet, the administration and
its supporters effectively have prevented any adult discussion of the
need to get out.
On one side, the people who sold this war,
unable to face up to the fact that their fantasies of a splendid little
war have led to disaster, still are peddling illusions: the insurgency
is in its "last throes," Dick Cheney says. On the other, they still
have moderates and even liberals intimidated: Anyone who suggests that
the United States will have to settle for something that falls far
short of victory is accused of being unpatriotic.
We need to
deprive these people of their ability to mislead and intimidate. And
the best way to do that is to make it clear that the people who led us
to war on false pretenses have no credibility and no right to lecture
the rest of us about patriotism.
The good news is that the
public seems ready to hear that message - readier than the media are to
deliver it. Major media organizations still act as if only a small,
left-wing fringe believes that we were misled into war, but that
"fringe" now comprises much if not most of the population.
Gallup poll taken in early April - that is, before the release of the
Downing Street Memo - 50 percent of those polled agreed with the
proposition that the administration "deliberately misled the American
public" about Iraq's WMD. In a new Rasmussen poll, 49 percent said that
Bush was more responsible for the war than Saddam Hussein, versus 44
percent who blamed Saddam.
Once the media catch up with the public, we'll be able to start talking seriously about how to get out of Iraq.
Exit: The Best Option:
general was right that growing public opposition to the Vietnam War
pushed President Richard Nixon to pull the plug on that conflict. By firstname.lastname@example.org (Friendly Fire).
was wrong to imply that being guided by voters to set firm deadlines
for withdrawing from a foreign quagmire was a bad thing for either
side. An estimated 3 million Vietnamese and 58,000 American deaths
later, Vietnam is run by the same Communist Party that was our enemy
It now seems to matter not at all. Weâre perfectly happy to see them open their cheap labor markets to the West.
sad irony is Iraq â unlike Japan or Germany during World War II â
also wasnât a viable threat to the U.S. when we pre-emptively invaded
Once again, weâve been reminded that violent intrusions
into other peopleâs history have unforeseen consequences, usually
negative. First among these effects is the inciting of insurgencies,
united only by common hatred of the occupying foreign soldiers.
as Vietnam, likely will experience serious problems after the American
withdrawal. These problems, however, will be Iraqâs, destined for
Iraqis to sort out.
Simply put, the best thing we can do now to
encourage stability in Iraq is to stop serving as a recruitment poster
for the insurgency.
[Today in Iraq]
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7/1/2005; 6:38:12 AM.