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The Calm Before the Conflagration

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Posted on Feb 25, 2008
militants
AP photo

A member of a Sunni militia, left, guards two suspected al-Qaida members who were found in a home in central Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

By Chris Hedges

The United States is funding and in many cases arming the three ethnic factions in Iraq—the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunni Arabs. These factions rule over partitioned patches of Iraqi territory and brutally purge rival ethnic groups from their midst. Iraq no longer exists as a unified state. It is a series of heavily armed fiefdoms run by thugs, gangs, militias, radical Islamists and warlords who are often paid wages of $300 a month by the U.S. military. Iraq is Yugoslavia before the storm. It is a caldron of weapons, lawlessness, hate and criminality that is destined to implode. And the current U.S. policy, born of desperation and defeat, means that when Iraq goes up, the U.S. military will have to scurry like rats for cover.

The supporters of the war, from the Bush White House to Sen. John McCain, tout the surge as the magic solution. But the surge, which primarily deployed 30,000 troops in and around Baghdad, did little to thwart the sectarian violence. The decline in attacks began only when we bought off the Sunni Arabs. U.S. commanders in the bleak fall of 2006 had little choice. It was that or defeat. The steady rise in U.S. casualties, the massive car bombs that tore apart city squares in Baghdad and left hundreds dead, the brutal ethnic cleansing that was creating independent ethnic enclaves beyond our control throughout Iraq, the death squads that carried out mass executions and a central government that was as corrupt as it was impotent signaled catastrophic failure. 

The United States cut a deal with its Sunni Arab enemies. It would pay the former insurgents. It would allow them to arm and form military units and give them control of their ethnic enclaves. The Sunni Arabs, in exchange, would halt attacks on U.S. troops. The Sunni Arabs agreed. 

The U.S. is currently spending hundreds of millions of dollars to pay the monthly salaries of some 600,000 armed fighters in the three rival ethnic camps in Iraq. These fighters—Shiite, Kurd and Sunni Arab—are not only antagonistic but deeply unreliable allies. The Sunni Arab militias have replaced central government officials, including police, and taken over local administration and security in the pockets of Iraq under their control. They have no loyalty outside of their own ethnic community. Once the money runs out, or once they feel strong enough to make a thrust for power, the civil war in Iraq will accelerate with deadly speed. The tactic of money-for-peace failed in Afghanistan. The U.S. doled out funds and weapons to tribal groups in Afghanistan to buy their loyalty, but when the payments and weapons shipments ceased, the tribal groups headed back into the embrace of the Taliban. 

The Sunni Arab militias are known by a variety of names: the Iraqi Security Volunteers (ISVs), neighborhood watch groups, Concerned Local Citizens, Critical Infrastructure Security. The militias call themselves “sahwas” (“sahwa” being the Arabic word for awakening). There are now 80,000 militia fighters, nearly all Sunni Arabs, paid by the United States to control their squalid patches of Iraq. They are expected to reach 100,000. The Sunni Arab militias have more fighters under arms than the Shiite Mahdi Army and are about half the size of the feeble Iraqi army. The Sunni Awakening groups, which fly a yellow satin flag, are forming a political party.

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The Sunni Arab militias, though they have ended attacks on U.S. forces, detest the Shiite-Kurdish government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and abhor the presence of U.S. troops on Iraqi soil. They take the money and the support with clenched teeth because with it they are able to build a renegade Sunni army, a third force inside Iraq, which they believe will make it possible to overthrow the central government. The Sunni Arabs, who make up about 40 percent of Iraq’s population, held most positions of power under Saddam Hussein. They dominated Iraq’s old officer corps. They made up its elite units, including the Republic Guard divisions and the Special Forces regiments. They controlled the intelligence agencies. There are several hundred thousand well-trained Sunni Arabs who lack only an organizational structure. We have now made the formation of this structure possible. These militias are the foundation for a deadlier insurgent force, one that will dwarf anything the United States faced in the past. The U.S. is arming, funding and equipping its own assassins.       

There have been isolated clashes that point to a looming conflagration. A Shiite-dominated unit of the regular army in the late summer of 2007 attacked a strong Sunni Arab force west of Baghdad. U.S. troops thrust themselves between the two factions. The enraged Shiites, thwarted in their attack, kidnapped relatives of the commander of the Sunni Arab force, and American negotiators had to plead frantically for their release. There have been scattered incidents like this one throughout Iraq.

  If the U.S. begins, as promised, to withdraw troops, it will be harder to keep these antagonistic factions apart. The cease-fire by the radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, extended a few days ago, could collapse. And if that happens, a civil war, unlike anything U.S. forces have experienced in Iraq, will begin. Such a conflagration, with the potential to draw in neighboring states and lead to the dismemberment of Iraq, would be the final chapter of the worst foreign policy blunder in American history.


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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 11, 2008 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Ron Paul anyone?

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By not provided, March 11, 2008 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Someone should tell McCain (and Obama) that the “surge” isn’t working, our buying off the enemy at $10 per day per head has been reducing the violence.  I’d love to see Obama read a few quotes from the NPR story about this (from military personnle in Iraq) during a debate with McCain, and watch McCain fumble for some lame “explaination”.  The “surge” is a joke, more lies and deception from the Bush administration.

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By Marshall, February 28, 2008 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

<<War means money. War in Iraq means oil.>>

Yeah, war means *spending* money.  The war has cost far more than we’ve made.  Iraq’s oil industry is state owned, not US owned, and they’re producing less than before the war.  So the main problem with your money/oil conspiracy theory is that the facts contradict its logic altogether.

Protecting the oil is of absolute necessity because it’s the engine that supports the Iraqi government, law enforcement, military, and rebuilding efforts.  They would, of course, be foolish not to protect it.

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By 2468, February 28, 2008 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Divide and Conquer has been used in Iraq since the British mandate after WWI. It is still the goal. Let them all kill each other and we will walk in and still get the oil when it is all over. Of course, we will have to stay long enough to do so. The same thing is right now occurring in Kosovo to the Serbs.

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By Conservative Yankee, February 28, 2008 at 7:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

was not doing appreciable business in the Mid East in those days. Our off-shore opps were in South America, (almost exclusively) and we were still doing business with domestic and Canadian producers for the lions share of production. 

If Iraq had ceased entirely doing business with us, it would not have lowered share prices by a fraction of a penny.


If you are going to give us history lessons, the very least you might do is get the names right. In 63 Standard of New York was still referred to as “SOCONY” (Standard Oil Company Of New York)
In 66 it was re-named Mobiloil Company, then in 75 shortened to Mobil.

Before casting disparaging remarks about this entity, in might help you to do some research.  They were concerned with “economy” before this was popular, running the “Mobil Economy run” yearly, and they also invested heavily in culture and safty being the first Oil company to mandate doubled hulled tankers for their hauling vessels.

The merger between EXXON and Mobil was not good for consumers as Mobil was a forward looking company, and Exxon is much more wed to traditional fuels (See Sable Island) Before the Merger Mobil was moving toward Hydrogen production from sea-water (Not fuel cells) When Hydrogen is burned, the by-products are oxygen, and water pure enough to drink… Think about that..

The Hydrogen program was killed by Exxon

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By THIRD, February 28, 2008 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse!  Chris Hedges account of the outcome possibilities of paying and arming Iraqi extremist factions is bone chilling to say the least.
To say the most is to conclude what this will, undeniably, mean for our troops.  Just this morning, the news showed a lottery winner, a twenty year old young man, who had recently signed on for another stint in Iraq.  Not having read this essay of Hedges, I thought the young man must have lost his mind.
How much more outrageous can our commander-in-chief get?  Did he learn nothing from Afghanistan?  It all boils down to one thing: insanity!

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 28, 2008 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

Maani, Thats your opinion.

This country needs fresh ideas and faces as the old ones such as Hillary promise more of the same old government with the same old lobbys in charge.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 28, 2008 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

I agree.  If Rons name is on the ballot I’m there for him.

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By jangelique, February 27, 2008 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How about a dose of TRUTH here! Dubya and company COULD have done something when this mess first began to go sour, but they hid their heads in the sand like a bunch of ostriches pretending nothing was wrong. The window of opportity to correct this mess has long closed.

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By Daniel Barker, February 27, 2008 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Does anybody care about Iraq? Do you drive an SUV?  Do you eat too much meat?

As long as we drive SUVs, eat too much meat, live in oversized homes and in general not give a damn about the consequences of our actions our government will act accordingly. 

Does anybody remember Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey?  Why is Mrs. Sheehan forgotten?  What have the Democrats done since ‘Regime Change day’ Nov. 7?

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By Pragmatist, February 27, 2008 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They don’t want the civil peace within Iraq. War means money. War in Iraq means oil. It’s not a coincidence that they ran piplines into the Caspian Sea as soon as they moved from Afghanisan to Iraq. Now they’re building bases in Iraq to lauch war against other non-reformed oil producing countries.

I have been working between Saudi and Iraq for the past seven years and all I see over there is the protection of gas and or oil wells/piplines.

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By Maani, February 27, 2008 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Felicity:

Hmmm…Isn’t Obama the one being compared with JFK? Can’t say as how your little history review here does him any favors…

Peace.

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By Marshall, February 27, 2008 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Louise, February 27 at 7:21 am #

The fact remains, the better choice is to see this through.  We *may* pull this off.  That’s as good a chance as we get, and it’s the best chance we have, so the choice is clear.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, February 27, 2008 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

Don’t worry.  In spite of all the democratic rhetoric about ending the occupation whomever becomes president will, in no way, precipitously withdraw US troops from Iraq——the US will be there until a stable Iraqi government is established and proves itself capable of maintaining order.  McCain is right——the US will be in Iraq for a looooooooong time.  Ain’t presidential campaigns great——-why you could float several very large hot air balloons simultaneously!!!

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By felicity, February 27, 2008 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

In 1963 the Kennedy Administration backed a coup overthrowing Iraq’s existing government and replacing it with the Baath Party.  Armed to the teeth, courtesy of us, provided by the CIA with lists of thousands of suspected ‘lefties’ the Baathists (including Sadaam) carried out its bloodbath.

Iraq was again on our ‘page’ and American, UK and other interests, including Mobil, Bechtel, and BP were free to conduct business. Who says history doesn’t repeat itself.

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By Jack, February 27, 2008 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If the most powerful military that the world has ever known can only keep the peace by paying off the insurgents, how do we expect the Iraqi Police and Military to keep the peace when we leave.

The only way that they could keep the peace in Iraq is for them to have a military as powerful as the United States.  Is that something that we really want? Beacuse their civil war will likely end in the establishment of a dictator which rules similarly to Saddam Hussein, and he will probably not have a friendly view towards the United States.  (Better the devil we did know, than the devil we don’t)

It is truly amazing how big this blunder by Bush was.  I am not sure that the United States will ever be able to regain our credibility again, especially in the Arab world.  This is what happens when you have an interventionist foreign policy and feel you have the right to meddle in the affairs of others. We have stirred up a hornet’s nest but those in power feel that the only course available to us is to keep doing what we are doing, because it is working so well.

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By Chuck Norris, February 27, 2008 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Told You This Would Happen.

A year from now don’t blame me: I’m voting Ron Paul.

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By Louise, February 27, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

There is no better choice. We’re damned if we do, and we’re damned if we don’t!

Maybe that’s what millions of people around the world who marched in protest against this war were trying to tell us ... before we proved we are indeed, the fools who rush in where angels fear to tread!

So here we are. Stuck between a bad choice and a possibly worse choice. And either choice can be described with either adjective.

Were we all as capable of removing ourselves from the immediacy of pain and sorrow as the politicians who debated then chose this war, we could comfortably continue on, comfortably choosing to decide not to decide. But we’re not.

Yet, in spite of everything, we still seem content to let the politicians who by their action, daily assure us they are grossly incompetent, continue on ... continuing on.

Come to think of it, there is one other choice. Mr. Bush and his friends knew full well when they created the marketing of this war, our military was unprepared to handle World War Three. But they and their corporate buddies already had a functioning plan in place to cover the gap. Their private Mercenaries, affectionately referred to as “The Private Contractors.”

Well here’s a thought. Since they love war, let them fight it. Bring our military home, to defend the homeland.

Oh, but there’s one catch. Who will pay them the ten to twenty times more than we pay our military? Well, who pays them now? WE DO! So it comes back to the same thing. We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

Obviously there is only one solution. The private Mercenaries have to find “private” funding.

How long would the Greed and Oligarchy and Perversion that typifies our self-righteous, right-wing folks on the right side of the GOP stand for that? Not for one minute! They are in the business of making profit by looting the Treasury, not from raiding their own reserves!

So it really doesn’t matter, because we really have no choice in the matter.

This is one of those I want to scream but I cant moments!

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By srelf, February 27, 2008 at 12:31 am Link to this comment

Here’s a scenario for ya…

Shiite and Sunni forces clash and US not able to get between them.
Violence spreads out of control.
US forces fighting Shiite and Sunni militias to protect Green Zone.
Saudi and Iranian forces get involved to turn tide of battles.
US bombs inside Iran.
Russia involved in air battles with US Air Force.
Region erupts.
World War III.

Elect your way out of that!

PS: Here Here JimM72

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By Marshall, February 27, 2008 at 12:22 am Link to this comment

True to form, the conspiracy theorists on this thread see their theories as logical explanations of events instead of the counterintuitive messes that they are.

If the administration could’ve calmed the fires in Iraq with as much alacrity as you seem to think they have now, it’s fair to say they’d have done it long ago.  There’s been nothing beneficial in allowing Iraq to descend into violence.

Your desire to twist events to fit your view of administration as evil incarnate is obvious and, well, lame.

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By Marshall, February 27, 2008 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

If we stay, we may or may not avoid the conflagration.

If we leave, we guarantee it.

Which sounds like the better choice?

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By weather, February 26, 2008 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In keeping w/your post on matters of trust, pls. consider too the media’s full cooperation in choreographing these profound crimes w/such a nonchalance, that one might somehow think this sickness was acceptable.

Often in criminal law it is the mens rea, the thought, or the conspiracy to commit the crime that deserves more punishment that the crime itself - here we see a screenplay and story board of darkness.

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By Louise, February 26, 2008 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

“In Dante’s Inferno the innermost Circle of Hell, the Ninth, where the punishments are most heinous, is reserved not for murderers and their ilk but for those who have betrayed a trust.”

And no greater trust can be betrayed than the trust given when one man puts his life in the hands of another. If there is a Hell, I suspect the line waiting to get into that innermost circle will be long and full of recognizable faces.

The pools of blood. The pounds of flesh. The drops of oil. The war profiteers and now the “bribe” money. All stand as silent testimony to the absolute betrayal of our sons and daughters sacrificed in this pointless evil war of greed. And almost worse. The betrayal of the million or more dead Iraqis who were told we were coming to liberate them. Perhaps that “liberation by death” is the only close to true reality in this fools war.

From the article:

“If the U.S. begins, as promised, to withdraw troops, it will be harder to keep these antagonistic factions apart. The cease-fire by the radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, extended a few days ago, could collapse. And if that happens, a civil war, unlike anything U.S. forces have experienced in Iraq, will begin. Such a conflagration, with the potential to draw in neighboring states and lead to the dismemberment of Iraq, would be the final chapter of the worst foreign policy blunder in American history.”

***

But if we stay, how likely is it anything will change? The reality is nothing will change except it will probably get worse. And in the final analysis, that conflagration Chris Hedges speaks of will still come. It’s just a matter of time. Remember, if our sons and daughters are still there when it does come, They will be the line mowed down in the middle.

There can be no forgiveness for those political leaders who put us in this situation. There puffed up egos and their empty heads deserve no more than a trial by law. There can be no excuse for those civilian supporters of this evil who cheer it on. Even joyfully send their children off to become human sacrifice in the name of democracy.

Bush and his administration and his congress and those dems who were equally enthusiastic about becoming aggressors in an immoral war deserve no excuse. There is none.

Accountability, long overdo, must be swift and certain! Remember that when you go to the polls!

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By Louise, February 26, 2008 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

What a strange dilemma. You stand so firm in defense of a man whose name you have used so many times in an effort to demean Obama. I am truly nonplussed.

“Meanwhile Clinton and sadly her so-called supporters continue on creating ‘boomerang issues’ and ‘negative mental images’ and ‘hearsay verbal bashing’ that can only hurt her in the end.”

“With supporters like these, she doesn’t need to worry about her opponent.”

What, no response to this?

Accountability ... then peace.

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By felicity, February 26, 2008 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

if and when people realize that people, no matter their stations in life, their bank accounts, their intellectual accomplishments are, finally, just like the rest of us - human.  Bush, Cheney and fellow thugs are merely covering their historical asses, going out of office with… benevolent leader(Africa), problem solver (Israel/Palestine), Iraq war (won)...

Until we quit bestowing on our presidents some super-human quality, we’ll continue to take it in the neck from the crap they leave us to deal with. Maybe we’ll then realize we have to stop their self-aggrandizing tendencies before the crap can happen.

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By Maani, February 26, 2008 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Louise:

“I think it’s nothing short of sad that you seem quite unable to focus on the value of bringing someone with contemporary experience into the equasion.”

I suggested nothing of the sort.  I was responding SPECIFICALLY to the continued stubbornness of your claim re Power from a single source, despite all the evidence to the contrary from dozens of other equally credible sources.  It says alot about you that you have now changed the subject - which is a tacit (and thus cowardly) admission that you were wrong.

“Far more determined to prove, to yourself anyway, that you will go down swinging to defend an issue that is possibly the least important in the campaign.”

The relative positions of ZB and SP on Obama’s team is NOT unimportant, since his foreign policy will be shaped by one or another or both of them.  And foreign policy (despite the focus on the economy right now) is THE issue of our time.

“...other than the fact that Power is smart and informed and experienced and credentialed and current and contemporary.”

Until very recently, Power was primarily a journalist.  And although she is a “scholar” of foreign policy (according to her resume), those are her only “credentails.”  She has DONE NOTHING.  Nor does she have BROAD knowledge and experience in foreign affairs - particularly not when compared with someone like ZB, who has DONE things (both good and bad) and has credentials up the wazoo.  Nor is foreign policy something you do in a vacuum; i.e., Power may or may not be a scholar of history, whereas Brzesinski IS himself “history” in the sense of having lived it.  This is of a piece with your claim of her having “contemporary experience.”  She may have contemporary KNOWLEDGE, but she has LITTLE “experience,” contemporary or otherwise.

“I brought up the name of Samantha Power because I thought you might find it interesting.”

Trust me, I do my homework, and have known about Power LONG before you brought her up.  Which is why I know that, compared to ZB, she is not just a lightweight, but a flyweight.

“The fact that Obama has reached out to someone who is closer to the current situation. Has more first-hand experience with the real time issues we all face right now.”

Again, given her lightweight resume, her young age and her lack of any PRACTICAL experience, how can you possibly say this when compared with ZB?  What makes ZB “less close” to the current situation, or (you must be kidding!) have LESS “first-hand experience with the real time issues?”

You are truly confused, Louise.  Because while bringing new perspectives to things is certainly a good thing, “youth” is NOT always an asset, particularly where foreign policy is concerned.

Peace.

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By nrobi, February 26, 2008 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

American foreign policy has always been about someone else doing the dirty work, then having those people our government paid turning on us. It must be a brain block that is causing the current administration to pay for men involved in sectarian conflict, to police themselves and those around them.  Proxies have been used by the government of the US for a very long time, must we now pay for more, so that they can turn on us the same way Osama bin Laden turned on America after the conflict between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union.
The maxim is, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  I seem to remember, that Bush 1, was instrumental in the process of accepting and recruiting both Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. You would think that the current administration would gladly learn from those who have committed such blunders in the past. Yet, we know from results that the Shrub will not learn and will not concede any of the lessons of the past.
We must, as Americans, demand an accounting of the past almost 8 years and with the truth told, if need be prosecute and imprison those who by reason of those acts they have committed and the laws they have contravened, deserve the big house.

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By Louise, February 26, 2008 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

August West:

Thanks for that astute observation. Good food for thought.

Douglas Chalmers:

“That’s OK, Louise, but you can expect that BO is keeping up with Hillary’s monthly periods (even if she’s no longer having them, uhh)......”

***

That is so, oh I don’t know ... adolescent?
Certainly tacky ... even for you!

***

“Sorry honey, this kind of gamesmanship is NOT what the American people are looking for…...”

***

Then quit doing it!
duh ...

Maani:

obtuse:
:Lacking quickness of perception or intellect. Characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity:

:Slow to understand or perceive something:

Which may explain a level of stubbornness that can eventually cause discomfort or pain to the stubborn.
So having said that, I think it’s nothing short of sad that you seem quite unable to focus on the value of bringing someone with contemporary experience into the equasion. Far more determined to prove, to yourself anyway, that you will go down swinging to defend an issue that is possibly the least important in the campaign. Well other than the fact that Power is smart and informed and experienced and credentialed and current and contemporary.

And that I suppose could be viewed as a threat.

I brought up the name of Samantha Power because I thought you might find it interesting. The fact that Obama has reached out to someone who is closer to the current situation. Has more first-hand experience with the real time issues we all face right now. Could bring a perspective that would raise the level of discourse. I thought that was a good thing.

Raising the level of discourse. Something I emagined you would agree is a good thing.

Seems I was wrong ...

Meanwhile Clinton and sadly her so-called supporters continue on creating ‘boomerang issues’ and ‘negative mental images’ and ‘hearsay verbal bashing’ that can only hurt her in the end.

With supporters like these, she doesn’t need to worry about her opponent.

Accountability. wink Then peace.

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By JimM72, February 26, 2008 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are too many insults on this site. Is there no more respect for others?
Can we disagree with each other in a civilized manner without the insensitivity and rancor?
If not, we are no better than the neocons we detest.

JIm M

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By August West, February 26, 2008 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

By extending the Madhi Army’s cease-fire for an additional Friedman Unit (i.e., six months), Muqtada al-Sadr is now a power broker in the U.S. Presidential election.  Depending on how the effect of all hell breaking loose in Iraq just before our election might be viewed and which candidate might be more beneficial to the Shia majority, there might be major bloodshed this fall or the cease-fire may be extended for yet another Friedman Unit.  My money says it Iraq remain relatively quiet until after our election.

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By Maani, February 26, 2008 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Louise:

I never realized just how willfully obtuse you really are.  Just because ONE person puts the word “senior” before the phrase “foreign policy advisor,” that makes it so?  That goes being willfully obtuse to hopelessly in denial.

Amy Goodman can say whatever she wants; it doesn’t make her right.  Indeed, how you can suggest the opinion of ONE source, however “credible” that source may be, negates DOZENS AND DOZENS of other equally credible sources (and no, not ALL of them are “mainstream”) is truly bewildering.  Power may or may not be the “public face” of Obama’s foreign policy team, but she is NOT the most senior advisor.

Again, to suggest that a 30-something Harvard grad with little practical experience in foreign policy is going to be “senior” to a 70-something foreign policy LEGEND (and such he is, whether or not I am a “fan”) with more than three DECADES of practical and APPLIED foreign policy experience flies in the face of logic, common sense and truth.

You need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Peace.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 26, 2008 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

By Louise, February 25: “Cant hardly expect a Clinton supporter to be on top of everything in Obamas camp…”


That’s OK, Louise, but you can expect that BO is keeping up with Hillary’s monthly periods (even if she’s no longer having them, uhh)......

Obama: Clinton “periodically… attacks to boost appeal” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qNpeGPdhEw

Sorry honey, this kind of gamesmanship is NOT what the American people are looking for…...

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By Louise, February 26, 2008 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

“He is senior to her in EVERY regard.” (?)

I had no idea you were such a fan of the guy!!!

http://www.democracynow.org/

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/2/25/barack_obamas_senior_foreign_policy_adviser

I’ll take Amy’s sources over any and all mainstreammedia sources ... any day!

Accountability ... then peace!

[I just remembered ... we’re running out of honey. Sorry if that sweet stuff offends you. smile Personally I love it]

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By Tosh, February 26, 2008 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for the reply.

The bearded guy in the pictures with Zbig looks like some Pakistani or Indian paratrooper rather than OBL as the caption implies.

Keep on.

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By DennisD, February 26, 2008 at 8:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only true “surge” has been the $urge of national debt which no one in the District of Corruption is willing to address. Oh sorry, they have forwarded the “address” to the next five generations of tax slaves.

Appearing to buy positive results that haven’t actually been realized is what it’s all about. Don’t look behind the curtain or expect the MSM to expose how the results are being achieved - that would be real news reporting that would get people fired.

It’s an “election” year and as usual everything in America is for $ale including the voters expectations of a real change of direction that neither the D’s or R’s are willing to make.

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By Maani, February 26, 2008 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

Louise:

Are you DELIBERATELY being obtuse?  What is YOUR source?  How many sources can YOU cite for YOUR claim?  I would be willing to list over two dozen sources for mine, including the Harvard paper (Ms. Power is a Harvard grad, so one would think that, if she were the “top” advisor, it would be noted so), and at least four major foreign policy websites.

No, “honey,” it is not just about age.  He is senior to her in EVERY regard.

Peace…“honey”

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By Louise, February 26, 2008 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

Well, if you’re talking about age ... I agree Brzezinski wins!

So I repeat, sorry honey, you’re wrong.
But that’s OK. Cant hardly expect a Clinton supporter to be on top of everything in Obamas camp.
 
Maybe you need to check a dozen more sources. smile

Accountability ... then peace.

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By David Wilson, February 25, 2008 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Shi’itesd and Sunni’s united, Baghdad would be another Dienbienphu.

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By Maani, February 25, 2008 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

Louise:

According to every source I checked (over a dozen), Samanatha Power is “an” advisor, not “the top” advisor.  This includes articles that include interviews with Power, who never once refers to herself (nor do the articles refer to her) as his “top” foreign policy advisor.  Every single article and site at which I found both their names puts Brzezinski’s first.  After all, do you REALLY think that Zbigniew Brzezinski - given his history and “resume” - is going to be second-guessed by a 30-something Harvard grad?  Please.

Here is one such entry.  And all the others read similarly:

“Senator Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisers, who on average tend to be younger than those of the former first lady, include mainstream strategic analysts who have worked with previous Democratic administrations, such as former national security advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Anthony Lake, former assistant secretary of state Susan Rice, and former navy secretary Richard Danzig. They have also included some of the more enlightened and creative members of the Democratic Party establishment, such as Joseph Cirincione and Lawrence Korb of the Center for American Progress, and former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke. His team also includes the noted human rights scholar and international law advocate Samantha Power - author of a recent New Yorker article on U.S. manipulation of the UN in post-invasion Iraq - and other liberal academics. Some of his advisors, however, have particularly poor records on human rights and international law, such as retired General Merrill McPeak, a backer of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, and Dennis Ross, a supporter of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.”

Nice try…honey.

Peace.

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By Louise, February 25, 2008 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

Sorry honey, you’re wrong.
But that’s OK. Cant hardly expect a Clinton supporter to be on top of everything in Obamas camp. wink

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By Maani, February 25, 2008 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Tosh:

Yes, Zbig was Carter’s National Security Advisor.  But his service predates Carter.  You might find these photos interesting:

http://www.geocities.com/RepresentativePress/binLadenphoto.html

Peace.

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By Maani, February 25, 2008 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

Louise:

Nope.  Brzezinski is the most senior advisor.

Peace.

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By Louise, February 25, 2008 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

Ancestry:

We have an interesting one. Native American, African, Indian, Roman, British, Scandinavian, Laplander, German, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and Lord knows what else. But not necessarily in that order, and who knows what we might find if we cared enough to follow every line!

Go back far enough and we all have the same root DNA. Unlike some, I celebrate that which makes me so typical of all Americans. The melting pot!

And I might celebrate my various [and I am sure there are many] religious backgrounds ... if I knew what they were!

Why do those with petty minds always focus on the petty? OK, dumb question.

This might be a good time to remind folks, since roughly 650 AD various versions of more or less the same three factions have been killing each other [in the name of God] in the splendid land we now call Iraq.

Now what on earth made any sane person believe a nincompoop like Bush could change the equation?

Actually that four letter name we all love to take in vain most likely knew that, pretty much guaranteeing the chaos his war(s) became. And lets not make the mistake of thinking just because the current version of those three factions seem to be willing to accept bribes, [which is how we have ALWAYS done business in the Middle East] the surge has, or is working.

That thing called The Surge was just a diversion to keep the dim-bulbs at home happy and the guys on the ground getting shot at and blown up believing they really were making a difference.

By the way Maani, Barack Obama’s Senior Foreign Policy Adviser is Samantha Power. You might want to check that out.

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By VillageElder, February 25, 2008 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

Maani

Kafka, Vonnegut and Heller could not have concocted a more bizarre war.

Good comment!!!

Fellini is producing and directing.

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By PatrickHenry, February 25, 2008 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

Give them guns, money for ammo and provide targets for them.

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By PatrickHenry, February 25, 2008 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

Pull the plug, bring everyone home and let them sort it out, they’ve done and redone it since before America was founded.  We would achieve a greater respect from the majority for doing so…..and we could use the money here at home.

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By Tosh, February 25, 2008 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maani said;

“(which, by the way, is EXACTLY how we created the Taliban, Al Qaeda and OBL in Afghanistan - thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of Obama’s chief foreign policy advisor, ZB).”

Is that Zbig?

Thought he was with Carter?

Were they (Taliban, AlQaeda, and OBL) not created during the Reagan admin?

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By writeon, February 25, 2008 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Buying off the enemy would appear to be a delaying tactic. Delaying inevitable defeat until after the persidential election. Almost everything the United States is doing in Iraq has little to do with Iraq in itself, but a great deal to do with the management of perceptions internally, in the United States in an election year. If Iraq was exploding right now, it’s difficult to imagine the possibility a Republican victory. So the lid has to kept on Iraq, by any means necessary, until the election is over, afterwards who knows what might happen?

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 25, 2008 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Not only ” paying (and arming) insurgents” in Iraq but also paying Al Qaeda as well through their links with the Pakistani military. But the real truth is that Al Qaeda IS part of the Pakistani military, uhh.

Thta’s what Benazir Bhutto meant last December when she said they were being run from Karachi and the Taleban from Islamabad….....

But Iraq is not Yugoslavia and Turkey will ‘clean up’ - and so too will Iran when they have the chance.

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By supersusie, February 25, 2008 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Just testing

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By Maani, February 25, 2008 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

Kafka, Vonnegut and Heller could not have concocted a more bizarre war.

We are paying (and arming) insurgents to ally with us against the “real” terrorists (Al Qaeda) - with no guarantee they will not turn on us when Al Qaeda is routed (which, by the way, is EXACTLY how we created the Taliban, Al Qaeda and OBL in Afghanistan - thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of Obama’s chief foreign policy advisor, ZB).

And we are paying our soldiers $50,000 bonuses to re-up for tours that none of them want because they have already done two or three in a row (and, at least until Hillary stepped in to put the kibosh on it, refusing to pay out those bonuses if the soldier came home before their year was up because, say, they lost both legs).

So…we are paying and arming EVERYONE.  As the saying goes, “you can’t make this shit up”...

Peace. (?)

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By Joe, February 25, 2008 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ocjim-  your comments remind me of the most disturbing aspect of the Bush Presidency: its failure to consider long-term effects of its actions. This applies to every policy or executive action, from demolishing the Alaskan wilderness in a drunken grope for oil to foreign relations to a failure to lead by example and ..the simple common sense to know when it’s time to stop what you are doing.

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By ocjim, February 25, 2008 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Pick the most cynical, the most divisive route to achieving an existing agenda and the Bush thugs will take it. Divide and conquer has always been the approach of the Bush administration. It would rather destroy order, sanity, and unity than give up its control and power over any situation. If you expect this approach you will always know BushCo’s direction.

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By lib in texas, February 25, 2008 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

If we were as dedicated to getting GWB & Cheney charged with their crimes as we are to bringing down Hillary Clinton, those two would be in jail.  Unfortunately, our news media is not interested or maybe we are to blame as we don’t insist.
Another reason to maybe worry about Iraq and Obama is even tho he says he is a christian His father was Muslim, his stepfather was Muslim and Obama did go to mosque tho infrequently.  Since he has converted to another religion he is called a “murtadd” and according to their law he now must be executed.  I can sure see him visiting Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan.

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By G.Anderson, February 25, 2008 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

It’s no coincidence, that we’re paying for cooperation in Iraq. Cause that’s what we do here isn’t? It’s just our style.

Isn’t Washington run by lobbyists payoffs, and the rest of the country by pork?

We have an administration that has hung a for sale sign on everything, from Tax Rebates to re enlistments.

But what happents when the moneys all been spent?
In America we have an infintie Army of greedy lawyers to enforce the fine print, but in Iraq, when the money’s gone it’s back to bullets.

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By Hammo, February 25, 2008 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

The invasion and occupation of Iraq is still a major concern of Americans, despite worries about the coming recession or depression.

The Bush administration has created a mess (and committed crimes?) and they will now hand it to others.

This also impacts the Obama-Clinton contest.

Food for thought in the article ...

Voters may be focusing on the stark contrast of Obama and Clinton on the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the Bush administration ... which is sinking Clinton in the polls and primary voting.

And, voters may be getting past a candidate like Obama whose dad was African.

Food for thought in the article ...

“Obama’s Iraq position, mixed ethnicity are key factors”

AmericanChronicle.com
February 22, 2008

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/53128

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By Conservative Yankee, February 25, 2008 at 7:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s a history here which most seem to miss. Folks might wish to Scroogle Iran’s “Mohammad Mosaddeq”  “Operation Ajax” “Treaty of Sèvres”

those really interested might wish to get a copy of Vanityfair’s “

“Iraq’s Mercenary King”

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By troublesum, February 25, 2008 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

How much of the $100 billion a year cost of the war is going to the insurgents?  There are still people in New Orleans who have no place to live more than three years after Katrina.  The Bush administration is currupt beyond all imagining.

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