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February 23, 2006


Kablooey is not a word you're likely to find in any of the mainstream media, certainly not associated with the destruction of (yet another) 'holy shrine' in Iraq. And my deliberate choice of that word shows how subtle is our understanding of each other as Americans and how difficult it must be to actually understand such subtleties in Iraq.

I am not under any false illusions, as I believe the Left and Pacifists are, concerning our ability to understand Iraqi passions. We can never really know exactly how holy that Mosque might have been or to whom it would actually be holy. It could be holy like Graceland. It could be holy like the Statue of Liberty. It could be holy like Crater Lake. It could be holy like Wrigley Field. Depending upon which Americans you talk to under what circumstances, the loss of any of those places in America might be cause for War or yawns. As we speak, there are men burning down churches in the American South, and we've been through this before. Nobody could ever say that it would be appropriate to judge America based upon the angry reactions some foreign journalist captured of those people closest to the tragedy. Of course that's all we've got, and in relation to Iraq, it's probably the best we are ever going to get.

This is bringing me to some interesting preliminary conclusions about the nature of war, and I think everyone is finding this war to be less satisfying than anyone may have imagined. Perhaps we are wrong to think of war in Rumsfeld's 'advanced technological' terms. Maybe war is best done as war.

What hasn't happened in Iraq is that the Iraqi people have not sued for peace. So when I think about the insurgency in Iraq and the inability for anyone to stop it there is a simple reason for this that was not the case in WW2. The nation has not been pacified. Understand that I am talking pacified in the harshest terms, ie we have destroyed their ability to carry out any war. I believe this is what we did to Germany and to Japan. We crippled them so badly and killed so many of their men outright that we left them nations of devastated women, fatherless children and wandering dogs. They begged us to stop. All they wanted was an end to the slaughter and the chance for a normal life. But we have attempted in Iraq to decapitate a despot without making war on the nation and society. It is what we have done. We have left so many Iraqi men standing that they retain the energy, capacity and desire to continue the destruction. Enough so that the question of Civil War is viable, enough so that other holy shrines are vulnerable, enough so that we ask the question seriously, 'Do Iraqis truly want peace?'.

The same total pacification hasn't happened in Palestine. As ugly as the Israelis may have been to the Palestinians, they have left enough of them standing to fight back for 30 years. Nobody sues for peace. Small weak nations, subnations, radical anarchists, and all manner of irregulars, looneys and splinter cells have somehow merited standing as combattants in War. They aren't, and we aren't really making war on them. We're battling them with slaps. We have entered an era in which the sound of war is 'Kablooey'.

Somehow, this New Agey combat has our respect and admiration. It certainly makes sense to a global capitalist neocon such as myself. Let's not devastate Iraq, I'd say. Let's get rid of the problem militarily. But there is perhaps finally only one thing militaries are good for and that is Total War. Beat them down until they sue for peace. And perhaps this Gulf War One and Gulf War Two are the proof, especially if there are enough men in Iraq to be humilitated but not broken, and that sustains an Iraqi Civil War.

I give GWBush all the credit. He has rightfully decided to use the military instead of the CIA to destroy the enemy. The enemy was clear - it was Saddam. And he rightly decided to stand in front of the world and say, we're going to do this, ready or not. And he rightly gave everyone a chance to get in on the action. But perhaps what Old Europe knew that we neocons didn't know was that nothing less than total destruction would lead to total peace.

The world over, foolish and superstitious muslims believe that they are in a position to challenge the might of the US and the West. They should not make that mistake believing that American neocons will play the footsie of surgical war with the next rogue state that crosses our path. We have taken the battle to the enemy and we have attempted, bravely and morally to give people in the land of the enemy a shortcut to democracy and Western partnership. But if Iraq falls into civil war, no matter what the reasons, and we walk away with a black eye for trying, there will be no moderation next time. The old conservative line about 'nation building' will have won the day, and the Wilsonian dream will be considered the exception rather than the rule.

So let us hope that the DoD retains some anti-neocon skepticism and keeps those nuclear sub contracts open. Because if the dreams of neocons go kablooey in Iraq, the next foe of Uncle Sam will not be met with the Rumsfeld Doctrine, but with the Powell Doctrine.

Posted by mbowen at February 23, 2006 05:01 PM

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Cobb, have you read Victor Davis Hanson. He explains beautifully how wars have to be won and how the western war differs from other styles. We don't go to war easily. But once we do we fight to eliminate the other sides ability to wage war. One problem in Iraq is that we have not been mean enough, which sounds strange and horrible. But it is obvious that from the start of the invation the iraqis did not fear american troops. And I know why. We're trying to win hearts and minds. But the fact that we are not as ruthless as they would be in the same situation earns us some contempt. On top of that our media has no loyalty to the country so they would put everything in the worst light possible.

Something else, the japanese and the germans had cultures that enabled them to form nations of people that could act in a way conducive to peace and democracy. they could maintain peace and nationhood over wide areas. arabs and muslims and alot of the world's people have two modes: a foot on the back of their neck or anarchy. it used to be the same in the west a long time ago. continuous infighting, then a tyrant would impose peace for a while, then return to the fighting.

Posted by: Anita at February 23, 2006 06:47 PM

Well, problem A is that many of the Iraqis do want peace and they are not fighting us. The Iraqi police recruits being blown up by car bombs, for example, are not our enemy. The Iraqis who risk their lives getting those purple fingers when they go to the polls are not our enemy. We and the Iraqi people have the same enemy and beating down the Iraqis won't accomplish a damn thing. Because problem B is the people coming in from outside Iraq because the borders aren't sealed. Our troops, and the fragile democracy the Iraqis are trying to birth, are a magnet for every terrorist in the Middle East. Beating down the Iraqis won't solve that either.

Posted by: Laura(southernxyl) at February 23, 2006 06:56 PM

We can never really know exactly how holy that Mosque might have been or to whom it would actually be holy. It could be holy like Graceland. It could be holy like the Statue of Liberty. It could be holy like Crater Lake. It could be holy like Wrigley Field. Depending upon which Americans you talk to under what circumstances, the loss of any of those places in America might be cause for War or yawns.

It makes absolutely no sense for Sunnis to bomb Shia mosques; this would be akin to Baptists bombing Catholic churches. Sectarian violence, dividing Iraqi society, does not serve Iraqis, either Sunni or Shia. It does, however, serve the occupation forces and also begins to realize the plan sketched out in Oded Yinon’s “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” (the balkanization of Arab and Muslim society and culture), an objective shared by Jabotinsky Likudites and Straussian neocons.

Askariya Shrine Bombing: Black Op?

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2006 01:56 PM

"It makes absolutely no sense for Sunnis to bomb Shia mosques..."

Do you know absolutely nothing about the history of that region?

And how in the hell can you work this around to be the Jews' fault???

Posted by: Laura(southernxyl) at February 24, 2006 03:57 PM

There has been no time in the 58-year history of the State of Israel that has been other than crisis time. This is certainly true now, when the Palestinian war against Israel has taken on a fundamentally new character. The landslide victory of Hamas, the Muslim zealots, in the Palestinian parliament has turned the conflict into an almost purely religious war, based on militant Islam and deeply entwined with both the regional Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and the Shia ayatollahs of Iran. President Ahmadinejad knows what he wants, and he knows that the Europeans won't stop him. Which leaves only Israel and the United States.

Put the religious revolution in Palestine and the victory of the ultras in Iran into the context of Muslim upheavals around the world on the pretext of the Danish cartoons, and you have a whole new strategic and ideological framework for the struggle between two peoples. Khomeiniism is at the gates of Jerusalem.

Martin Peretz
The New Republic

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 25, 2006 04:40 AM

Truly a moment to relish when the profound hypocrisy and solipsistic idiocy of good old White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, national chauvinism hangs itself by its shrivelled little petard.

the whole flap about Dubai World Ports providing security at USA ports is Carlyle Group style binnis colliding head on with Rovian base manipulation - and nary shall the two happily co-exist.

the thing is, red-blooded Murkans don't like the idea of a *foreign government*, especially if the foreigners are Arabic, and hold a different religion, taking care of your security. the security of your valued treasures and goods. your possible public safety, too.

what if they do a bad job and your stuff gets jacked?

on the other hand, 8 time zones away...

the ever perspicacious Murkans DO expect that a foreign government, one where the foreigners are Arabic--Iraqis to be exact--and holding a different religion, are supposed to be totally glad that Americans are guarding their ports, their cultural treasures dating back 5000 years
[all that Mesopotamian junk], and taking care of their security and public safety, too.

trust us, your Murkan leaders tell them. we'll take care of you.

never mind that their stuff has gotten totally jacked, as when the Baghdad museum was looted, or the Oil Ministry was looted, or when one of the holiest Shi'ite shrines in Samarra gets blown up. and the public safety of over 100,000 Iraqis has ended in their, well, their ignominious [shades of Abu Ghraib] death.

it's not hypocrisy you see. it's just good old
Jingoistic, Nationalistic, Fascistic Chauvinism at work.

next venue: Murka protecting the security of Iran, its ports, its Oil Ministry, Persian cultural treasures dating back 3500 years, etc...

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 25, 2006 04:53 AM

When DP kicks the US Coast Guard, US Customs and the DEA out of the port security business, you let me know. When they start replacing American union employees with darty-eyed Hammas operatives, send me an email. Meanwhile I'll set my alerts to the ILWU press releases.

It's all pretty simple to me.

Thoroughly screen all vehicle drivers and riders at every port terminal gate (CFR 105.265(b)(3)).
• Check seals on cargo containers upon their offloading and entering dockside storage (CFR
• Identify containers accepted for temporary storage in restricted areas before they are picked
up (CFR 105.265(a)(5)).
• Restrict cargo from entering terminals that does not have a confirmed date for loading (CFR
• Create and maintain a continuous inventory of all dangerous goods and hazardous substances
from receipt to delivery (CFR 105.265(a)(9)).
• Routinely check cargo, transport units and storage areas within a terminal for evidence of
tampering (CFR 105.265(b)(1)).
• Check that information on cargo, containers, and trucks carrying them matches their delivery
note (CFR 105.265(b)(2)).

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 25, 2006 10:36 AM

Cobb, you get a 102.13 for that performance..., deft skating, all kinds of commentator dap, but like Sasha Cohen, falling Kerblooey on that monkey azz. Hope you had on your felt-lined chinos....,

Skate and pose as hard as you wanna brah, but no amount of posing and gliding will be sufficient to get gracefully around that insurmountable PR turd. OG Bushwa, (Baker, Carlucci, Poppy-style Bushwa) global capital Bushwa, got beef with little pants-all-saggin, on-the-block Shrubco. Lil-Shrub out there slangin on the block, serving that BASE to kool-aid drinkin strawberries coast-to-coast. Somebody's fixin to get punked. I don't for one instant believe it'll be the elite OG end of the Bushwa clique....,

What say you? ROTFLMBAO!!!!!!

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 25, 2006 04:40 PM

Cnulan paints an interesting conspiracy theory. Here's mine:
a) Five unarmed guards at the Golden Mosque are captured at gunpoint by approximately 10 other men wearing uniforms conformant with an elite unit of the Iraqi army. They are not killed; they are ordered to leave.
b) The uniformed men set explosive charges and destroy the mosque.
c) A bunch of imams from both sides inflame the situation further, even as others, along with the Coalition and the Iraqi government, call for calm.
d) What appears to be a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites begins breaking out. No word in our media about the Kurds (who are Sunnis) -- they appear to be saner than the rest of Iraq. This unfolding war shows the powerlessness of both the Coalition and the Iraqi government to calm tensions when they are inflamed by the imams.
e) The imams "make peace", thus defusing the crisis.

How all this could have been orchestrated by the "neocons" or the "likudites" escapes me -- given we have 5 men, still alive, who can identify the perpetrators as anyone they wish. That those men are still alive makes me think the orchestrators of this were Shiites. Does the name "Sadr" ring any bells here?

And Cobb, I'm with you on the Customs/CG thing. The Dubais won't have any real say on port security, just port management. But I'm not sure we should be rewarding them with this contract after their business in Afghanistan with binLaden.

Posted by: UncleSmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 25, 2006 11:00 PM

Conspiracy? heh..,

I paint nothing.., Coalition false flag ops in Iraq are a matter of fact. Oded Yinon’s “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” (the balkanization of Arab and Muslim society and culture.) also a matter of record and fact.

Confirmation of such a plan was issued by Leslie Gelb, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, in a New York Times editorial on 11-25-03. Gelb stated:

“For decades, the United States has worshipped at the altar of a unified Iraqi state. Allowing all three communities within that false state to emerge at least as self-governing regions would be both difficult and dangerous. Washington would have to be very hard-headed and hard-hearted, to engineer this breakup. But such a course is manageable, even necessary, because it would allow us to find Iraq’s future in its denied but natural past.”

Spin whatever yarns from whole cloth you require in order to sustain the fractious internal consistency of your neocon rationale du jour. These just-so-stories for the political Base are an amusing diversion for those of us who relish pointing out the madcap hypocrisy of this administration, it's puppet masters, and its sundry addle-brained adherents.

“The only viable strategy, then, may be to correct (Iraq’s) historical defect and move in stages toward a three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south” Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations; from “Three-state Solution” NY Times 11-25-03

“We are facing a major conspiracy that is targeting Iraq’s unity.” Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

There’s no telling who was behind the bombing of the al-Askariya Mosque. There were no security cameras at the site and it’s doubtful that the police will be able to perform a thorough forensic investigation.

That’s too bad; the bomb-residue would probably provide clear evidence of who engineered the attack. So far, there’s little more to go on than the early reports of four men (three who were dressed in black, one in a police uniform) who overtook security guards at the mosque and placed the bombs in broad daylight.

It was a bold assault that strongly suggests the involvement of highly-trained paramilitaries conducting a well-rehearsed plan. Still, that doesn’t give us any solid proof of what groups may have been involved.

The question now devolves to the simple one of "who most stands to gain" from the chain reaction the bombing has unleashed.

Whose Bombs were They?

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 26, 2006 09:09 AM


Once again I ask, "Why are the unarmed guardians of the mosque still alive after facing the attackers?"

The living guards can determine the accents of their attackers -- many Iraqis (like us Americans) can pinpoint via accent the area a person is from if they are Iraqi, or whether they are foriegn. The only reason I can think of that they are still alive is that the attackers had nothing to fear from the guardians, and the guardians had nothing to fear from the attackers.

And, given the and newly arranged truce, I state that the Shiite imams have gained the most -- they have demonstrated the weakness of the secular government and their own strength, both in terms of flooding the streets with protestors and later in quickly clearing said streets with merely a few words.

You can spout all the New York Times editorials you want, but they won't go anywhere near where I've just gone. It would offend their friends too much. And you've just restated your own conspiracy theory (or the NYT's -- I can't tell the difference) again.

Posted by: UncleSmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 26, 2006 04:54 PM

Once again I ask, "Why are the unarmed guardians of the mosque still alive after facing the attackers?"

uh, because they were out back having a smoke?

assuming that this piece of straw by which you seem so taken is not merely a figment of your own imagination, could the fact that the guardians were unarmed have any bearing on their survival?

In any event, it seems as if the Sunni and Shia are not falling for this false flag operation.

Attacks push Iraq to brink

Sunday 26 February 2006, 20:00 Makka Time, 17:00 GMT Escalating sectarian violence risks plunging Iraq into civil war

At least 15 people are reported to have been killed and dozens more injured in a mortar attack on a southern Baghdad neighbourhood in the latest incident of violence pitching Iraq to the brink of civil war.

According to one report, the mortars fell on two predominantly Shia neighbourhoods in southern Baghdad at around 5.30pm (1430 GMT).

The attack comes as a wave of violence sweeps Iraq following last Wednesday's bombing of the al-Askari shrine in the city of Samarra, one of Shia Islam's holiest sites.

Earlier on Sunday, a bomb killed five people at a bus station in the town of Hilla south of Baghdad, while in Basra, a bomb in the washroom of a Shia mosque caused minor injuries, police said.

The bomb in Basra went off shortly after a rally in another part of the city by visiting Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The Hilla bomb destroyed a minibus as it drove out of a bus garage.

Hilla is a mainly Shia town surrounded by Sunni villages. The attack there came two days short of the anniversary of the bloodiest single al-Qaida bombing, which killed 125 people there a year ago.

Overnight, after a round of calls to Iraqi leaders by US President George Bush, Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari made a televised appeal urging Iraqis not to turn on each other following the Samarra bombing.

Al-Jaafari, under US pressure to forge a national unity government after an election in December, said he hoped that Iraqis would step back from sectarian strife.

"The Iraqi people have one enemy - it is terrorism and only terrorism. There are no Sunnis against Shias," he said.

Al-Jaafari was speaking after a three-hour meeting which produced a commitment from the main factions to speed up efforts to form a unity coalition.

However, Sunni leader Tariq al-Hashimi said he was not ready to end a boycott of the US-sponsored coalition talks.

Four days of tit-for-tat reprisals have left more than 200 dead and mosques damaged despite a daytime curfew on Baghdad that went into its third day on Sunday.

The defence minister has warned that the violence risked developing into a civil war that "will never end".

Speaking at Sunday's rally in Basra, Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for Muslim unity against US occupation and urged his many followers to hold joint prayers next Friday at Sunni mosques, especially those damaged in the past days' violence.

Shortly afterwards, journalists heard a loud blast nearby that turned out to have been in a Shia mosque.

Though al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army militia have been accused by officials of taking part in attacks on Sunni mosques, al-Sadr himself denies ordering violence.

However, the Shia show of force after the destruction of the Golden Mosque in Samarra has exceeded any sparked by earlier attacks and may strengthen the rival militia leaders' hands in negotiations with Sunnis and with fellow Shias.


Posted by: Anonymous at February 26, 2006 06:08 PM


Read the LA Times. I rest my case.

Posted by: UncleSmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 27, 2006 10:48 PM

What case is that? You still haven't refuted my "smoke break" assertion.

As for the frontpage Iraq article in today's LATimes, it says that troop drawdowns will now be indefinitely postponed. Seems in keeping with the mission objectives to me.

Control of that sweet light crude is still the fundamental priority, and, enlargement into Iran - even aerial and naval enlargement is going to necessitate boots on the ground in a forward position. There's no intention of drawing down or doing anything other than pushing forward with the project for muslim balkanization and energy appropriation.

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 28, 2006 08:20 AM

It doesn't matter who makes the bombs, it matters who detonates them, where and why.

But here's an interesting angle. What indeed are the possibilities of ulterior motives with regard to Arab or Muslim disunity. As a neocon, I would say that there is certainly a distaste for the Arab Socialism as represented by the Baath Party. That's a threat that waits in the shadows. Given the example of Syria, it's difficult to say that Arab nationalism is going to moderate islamic fascism. I personally have to get a better grip on the various faces and stances of the various emerging parties.

But I'm not certain the broad generalizations can be made. For example, nobody is talking about AQ in Indonesia or the Phillipines. So the connections are tenuous (or extinguished). Surely Iranians are going in a different direction than say Turks, and the stability of the Kurds in northern Iraq contrasts with that of the Palestinians.

If ends up partitioned like the slavic states, then that's the way of the world. It may not be fair that the tribes sitting on top of what the world wants are incapable of sustaining the kind of nation the world wants them to have, but that's the price of being an oil nation. The Iraqis may yet have to learn the hard way that their chaos and disunity is going to fragment them even further.

I think that perhaps it is time to say that the experiment in pan-Arabism is a failure and that they cannot sustain unity without dictatorship. If so, the future of the middle-east is the same as the past. Tribes.

Look to Dubai and Kuwait. There lies the future.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 28, 2006 09:03 AM

"I think that perhaps it is time to say that the experiment in pan-Arabism is a failure and that they cannot sustain unity without dictatorship. If so, the future of the middle-east is the same as the past. Tribes."

Isn't that what Lawrence of Arabia was forced to conclude? But I'm not convinced that it's inevitable forever and ever.

Posted by: Laura(southernxyl) at March 1, 2006 10:23 AM

Actually, the UAE is something of an interesting model. You really do have some kind of federation there that works. And Dubai is a really sweet place - most of it's GDP is related to tourism.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 1, 2006 11:27 AM

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