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The Five Iraqs

Posted on Dec 30, 2007
AP photo / Dusan Vranic

By Scott Ritter

(Page 2)

The fourth Iraq is the Iraq of the Sunni. The first three years of the American occupation were dominated by violence emanating from the Sunni heartland as those elements loyal to Saddam, and those opposed to Shiite domination, worked together to make the American occupation, and any affiliated post-Saddam government derived from the occupation, a failure. To this extent, elements of the Sunni of Iraq, drawn primarily from the intelligence services of the Hussein regime, facilitated the creation and operation of al-Qaida in Iraq. The work of this Iraqi al-Qaida has been successful in destabilizing the country to the point that the United States has been compelled to fund, equip and train Sunni militias in an effort to confront al-Qaida, as well as to make up for the real shortfalls of the central Iraqi government when it comes to security and stability in the Sunni areas. The newfound relationship between the Sunni and the United States, especially in Anbar province, is cited as a major factor in the success of the surge.

The fifth Iraq is that of the Kurds. Long hailed as a poster child of stability and prosperity, the fundamental problems inherent in post-Saddam Kurdistan are coming to a head. The inherent incompatibility between the “sanctuary” created by the United States through the northern “no-fly zone” and post-Saddam Iraq is more evident today than ever. The Kurds, pleased with their status as a “special case” in the eyes of the Bush administration, have made no honest effort to assimilate into a centralized system of government. Furthermore, the false dream of an independent Kurdish homeland has not only poisoned relations with the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad (witness the conflict over oil deals in Kurdistan and the Iraqi national oil law), but also between the U.S. and its NATO ally, Turkey. The Iraqi Kurds’ ongoing support of Kurdish nationalist groups in Turkey and Iran has led to increased instability, the most current manifestation of which are the ongoing cross-border attacks into Iraqi territory by the Turkish military. And, given the high level of emotion attached to matters pertaining to Kurdish nationalism, the likelihood of the situation de-escalating anytime soon is remote.

Five Iraqs, and one Iraq policy ill-suited to the reality of any single situation, yet alone the whole. The success of the surge is pure fantasy, a fancy bit of illusion that would do David Copperfield proud, but not the people of Iraq or the United States. The surge addresses events in Iraq based upon short-term objectives (i.e., reducing the immediate level of violence) without resolving any of the deep-seated, long-term issues that promote the violence to begin with. It is like placing a Band-Aid on a gaping chest wound. The pink, frothy blood may not be visible on the surface, but the wound remains as grave as ever, and because it is not being directly attended to, it only gets worse. Eventually the lungs will collapse and the body will die. This is the reality of Iraq today. Thanks to the surge, we do not see the horrific wound that is Iraq for what it truly is. As such, our policies do nothing to cure the problem, and in doing nothing, only make the matter worse.

History will show that this period of relative “calm” we attribute to the surge is but the pause before the storm. Hillary Clinton is correct to label the surge a failed strategy. But her motivation for doing so rests more with her desire to position herself politically on the domestic front than it is a reflection of a thoughtful Iraq policy. So long as American politicians, regardless of political affiliation, seek to solve the problem of Iraq from a domestic political perspective, then the problem that is Iraq will never be resolved, either “quickly” or “responsibly.” Iraq is an unpopular war. There are, therefore, no “popular” solutions, only realistic ones.


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The five-dimensional problem embodied in post-Saddam Iraq cannot be bundled up into a neat package. America, and its leaders, must do the right thing in Iraq, not for Iraq, but for America, even when doing so requires making some tough decisions. Narrow the problem set from five dimensions to two, and the problem becomes more manageable. For my money, I choose working with the Sunnis and al-Sadr to create a viable coalition, and then cutting a deal with Iran that trades off better relations in exchange for encouraging the current failed Iraqi government to step aside in favor of new elections. And the Kurds? Autonomy or nothing.

My loyalty is first and foremost to the United States, and when we look at the situation in Iraq from a genuine national security perspective, there is no threat worthy of the continued sacrifice being asked of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. As such, the only policy option worthy of consideration is that which brings our troops home as expeditiously as possible. Politicians who embrace a different policy are simply using the sacrifice of our service members as a shield behind which to hide their ignorance of Iraqi issues, and their personal cowardice, which manifests itself any time brave young men and women are allowed to die in order to preserve someone’s political viability.

As we in the United States celebrate this holiday season, let us not forget those who serve overseas in uniform, and the sacrifices they make in our name. And as we approach the coming election season, let us never forget those politicians who would have these sacrifices continue in order to safeguard their individual political fortune. This applies to all who seek the nomination for the office of the presidency, even those like Hillary Clinton who claim to embrace an anti-war position but whose words and actions strongly suggest something else.

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By hetzer, January 6, 2008 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

I guess they just want us to stay as a Zionist shield.

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By Veryl Young, January 5, 2008 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no official draft but, whatever the reason his nephew joined, it is obvious the Uncle wasn’t too happy about it.  The propaganda machine in the US is alive and paid for by tax-paying citizens. Ever been to the movies lately?  The military has very long and well produced advertisements that are geared to psych out young people to join. I always look away, and plug in my ipod, in disgust of what they are displaying on the screen until the advertisement is over. I pay $10 per person to have to watch and listen to this stuff?

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By Elie Elhadj, January 4, 2008 at 3:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Three recent developments in Iraq are noteworthy.
1. U.S. success in arming 70,000 Arab Sunnis, named “Awakening” units, to stop shooting at U.S. soldiers and to fight Al-Qaeda.
2. The cease-fire in August 2007 that Muqtada Al-Sadr ordered the Mahdi army militia to observe for six months, later extended until further notice.
3. NIE report of November 2007, which found with “high confidence” that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not restarted it. This NIE conclusion reversed the findings of a similar NIE report in 2005.
How is one to read these events?
Today, Washington is happy; U.S. casualties dropped enough to hastily declare success. Tehran is happy; the threat of a U.S. attack has receded. Iraq’s Arab Sunnis are optimistic; the “federalism” clauses in Iraq’s constitution might be amended and de-baathification reversed.
Al-Maliki government is uneasy. Its defense minister stated on December 22, 2007: “Iraq will not allow US-backed neighborhood patrols to become a ‘third force’ alongside police and the army.”
If the Iraqi government acquiesces to Sunni demands, Shii/Sunni reconciliation would follow. If it rejects them, the sectarian violence would return.
On the long-term, the prospects for maintaining the calm are dim. Tehran and Washington are in conflict over who would control GCC oil. Washington, being 10,000 kilometers away relies on military bases to support tribal Arab rulers. Iran is next door.
Iran has become the region’s major power, thanks to U.S. destruction of the Wahhabi Talibans and Saddam’s regime.
Iran has superseded the U.S. as the most influential power in Iraq (Chatham House report, August 2006). Most of Iraq’s 15-million Shiis live Southern Iraq. Shiism’s holiest shrines are there. The prominent families of Najaf and Karbala trace their roots to long lines of marriages with the leading clerics families of Iran. Ayatollahs have cross-country followings. From Najaf and Karbala, Iranian clerics often led the Shii world.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani is obeyed by millions in Iraq and Iran. Born and in Mashhad, Iran, he would not accept Iraqi citizenship. Through his disciples, he has been heavily involved in the American designs on Iraq. While consolidating Shii control, Al-Sistani has refrained from fighting the occupation.
Abdulaziz Al-Hakeem is the head of SCIRI and the Badr Brigade. Badr is a militia of thousands; created and sustained by Iran. Al-Hakeem spent most of his adult life in Iran. He is the leader of the largest Parliamentary bloc. When his older brother was assassinated in August 2003, Tehran declared three days of mourning.
Al-Sistani and Al-Hakeem may be described as Tehran’s instruments to institute clerics’ control over Iraq.
Muqtada Al-Sadr may be described as Tehran’s instrument to remove U.S. forces from Iraq. His father and uncle were Grand Ayatollahs. His uncle founded in 1958 the Islamic Daawa Party (IDP). IDP received big support from Tehran. Its leader, Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, was Iraq’s transitional prime minister. Al-Jaafari lived for years in Iran. Nouri Al-Maliki, IDP’s second in command, became Iraq’s first full-term prime minister. Al-Maliki spent two decades in Iran and Syria.
The two parliamentary elections in 2005 handed Iraq’s 60% Shii majority governmental power and with it a central role for Tehran.
The Shiis in Arab lands look to Iran for deliverance from Sunni subjugation. To Sunnis, the Shiis are heretics. President Mubarak declared recently that, Shiis in Arab states were more loyal to Iran than to their own countries.
The notion that Iran might encourage GCC Shiis, who all live in the oil areas, to demand their human rights sends shivers in GCC circles.
Thus, the recent lull in American casualties could be temporary. It’ll end once Washington annoys Tehran.

Elie Elhadj; author: The Islamic Shield

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By hetzer, January 3, 2008 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

Many many Americans smell the rat in 911.  I’m certainly one of them.  The coverups are the best evidence that something truly vicious occurred.  The only question for me is the extent.  Keep speaking.  I would guess that about 50% have real questions now.

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By Bill Blackolive, January 3, 2008 at 10:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hokay.  How long do we put up with this pretense.  The 9/11 coverup is the major crime in the US celebrated ignorant citizens’ history.  Either we accept this, or instead we push for facts.

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By Expat, January 3, 2008 at 4:06 am Link to this comment

Um, there is no draft, so didn’t your nephew sign up?
By the way, I like your post and agree; I just don’t understand about your nephew.

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By Nabih Ammari, January 2, 2008 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Due to his experiences as a United Nations Inspector for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Saddam-Iraq,Mr.Scott
Ritter has developed a profound understanding of the
Iraqi political structures and demographic mosaic.

His analytical paragon of current Iraq is difficult to match.In fact,his analysis of “Five Iraqs” is absolutely brilliant.It is one of the best,if not the best,political analysis I have ever read,so far,about present-day-Iraq.

Furthermore,he really hit the jackpot when he made
the following statements on page (2):

For my money,I choose working with Sunnis and Al-Sadr
to create a viable coalition,and then cutting a deal with Iran that trades off better relations in exchange for encouraging the current failed Iraqi
government to step aside in favor of new election.
And the Kurds? Autonomy or nothing.


The choice of Mr. Ritter has not come from a vacuum.
It is not whimsical or capricious.It has come from
a profound knowledge and critical understanding of
the real political undercurrents which will eventually prevail in Iraq.Yes,sir,I am referring to
the undercurrents whose credentials are not tainted by American imperialism or the Iranian domineering
theocracy.The Iraqi People know all of that.Just give
them a chance-a clean chance-to score.

Thank you,Mr.Scott Ritter,for a superb article and
an outstanding analysis.A job well done,indeed.
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By hetzer, January 2, 2008 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

The Neocon scum, the Israeli scum, and the Saudi scum want us too attack Iran so we can do their wars for them.  We have to pay all three back for engineering 911.

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By Faruq Ziada, January 2, 2008 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is a very good assessment by Ritter of the situation in Iraq. The US committed a grave mistake from the beginning when it imposed a Sectarian Political Process on Iraq based on the faulty Iranian and Zionist instigated so called “20-80%”solution.This Sectarian policy claimed that 80% of the population was 60% Shiite,20% Kurd, and only 20% Sunni. It claimed that the Sunni “minority” ruled dictatorially the poor Shiites and Kurds for the past 80 years and thus should be marginalized and ignored completely. This policy was imposed on Iraq through a Sectarian Constitution, and imposition of Iranian bred clergy and politicians on the political system. It led to the destruction of Iraq, and its social fabric, the squandering of more than 150 billion of its revenues. The killing of 1,200,000 civilians, and according to the UN and the Iraqi government, the displacement of 4.5 million Iraqis (2.5 million of to Syria and Jordan), and 5 million orphaned children, the abrogation of all Woman’s Rights, etc etc .The facts are:
By Nationality
- 83 % of Iraq’s population is Arabs.
-17 % are Kurds, Turkumen, and Assyrians etc.(95 % of Kurds and Turkmen are Sunni)
By Religion and Sec:
-97 % Moslem
-3 % Christian and others.
-  60 - 62 % Sunni , (42 % Arab Sunni, 18 – 20 % Kurd and Turkmen Sunni)
-  38 – 40 % Shiite
I refer all readers to the statistics of the official Independent Iraqi Electoral Commission (appointed by the CPA and Ambassador Bremer) Report which announced the Election results (approved by the Shiite government) which clearly show that the Shiites are the minority in Iraq as follows:
The January 31, 2005 National Assembly Results;
Eligible voters:        15,450,000
Votes for Shiite Slate:  4,075,295   26.3 % of eligible voters (although it was a unified Shiite slate, supported by all Shiite Clergy, Iran, and the US, and statements that 90% of Shiites voting).
The December 15, 2005 Parliament Elections:
Eligible Voters:        15,568,702
Votes for Shiite Slate:  5,021,137   32.2% of eligible voters (again with the same support, and rigged elections supervised by the Shiite government. the results were delayed for two months because of allegations of fraud.)
.The situation in Iraq can only be rectified by abandoning the Sectarian Policies and:
1 Scrapping the US imposed Constitution.
2. Scrapping the parliament and government.
3. Scrapping the sectarian Security Forces and Army.
4. Withdrawing US forces in favor of a UN mandate for Iraq and UN forces (not including any of the coalition forces).
5. An interim government of neutral professional bureaucrats for two years.
6. A new modern non-sectarian Constitution.
7. Election of Parliament at the end of the two year interim period. ETC.
Faruq Ziada (Former Iraqi Ambassador)

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willyloman's avatar

By willyloman, January 1, 2008 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

No cyrena, I don’t mean that.
I use “everyman”, perhaps mistakenly so, as a reference to a post modernistic tragic hero in the classic Greek or Aristotelian form.
The Aristotelian tragic hero has to be someone from nobility or some high ranking place.
The post modernistic form of the archetype is more rooted in the common man or “everyman” figure.
An example would be Willy Loman from “Death of a Salesman”. Hence the screen name. And my blog, for that matter.
Sorry for the confusion.

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By hetzer, January 1, 2008 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

The idiocy of occupational colonialism was supposed to be over at the end of World War II.  Only America and Israel were stupid enough to miss the point and to keep missing the point.  My nephew is back from Iraq not thanks to anyone.  My country can just go to hell.

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By joell, January 1, 2008 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

hillary is the leader of the pack of nearly identical candidates.

why waste time discussing the others views when their differences are minimal?

this is implied when Ritter writes:

“she is as shallow as the next candidate”

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By VICB3, January 1, 2008 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The solution to this mess is just to leave. 60 to 90 days and out. Period. No “diplomatic presence,” no “economic support” (hell, they have oil for christsake!), nothing.

We have our own - and ever increasing - problems at home. (No need to detail what those are.) That is our true area of concern, and not the problems of the various regions of the - for now anyway - ex-Turkish Empire that are still in any number of ways backward looking and still stuck in the 16th Century.

This - the sum total of all their political and ethnic and religious problems - is something that they need to settle amongst themselves without a lot of outside interference from people they’ve grown to hate. We - Western European civilization - had our 30 years war and got it all out of our system. (When is the last time you wondered, or even cared, if the guy next door was Catholic?) Perhaps they need to do the same?

“Yes,” you reply,“but we need the gas!”

Look, they need our money so whoever’s finally in charge will be happy to sell oil to whomever shows up. That, and we’re at a tipping point on energy technologies, and so pretty soon we won’t need their oil and they can all go back to being goat herders. Indeed, in just a few years our kids be looking at oil technology the same way we look at the coal fired steam technology of the late 19th century. In a word: “quaint”.

I like analogies, so look at it this way: This region is lika a roof that leaks on a house a few blocks over. You feel for the guy with the leaky roof. But wait! Your roof is leaking too, and your plumbing is shot, and you have termites, and the diswasher is broken, and the lawn has gone to seed, and….

In a case like that, trying to fix the leaks in the other guy’s roof is foolishness if your own is threatening to cave in. People who see you do it will think you a fool. Well meaning to be sure, but a fool just the same.

Summing up: We have our own problems, and the mess is Iraq and the Middle East is a Tarbaby (as my Mother and Grandmother - sensible women both - like to put it). The sooner we get out of there the better.

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By Eric, January 1, 2008 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m surprised that only one comment and nothing in the article about the one politician that has been against this war from the beginning and is running on the platform of immediate withdraw of U.S forces from the area.

If we had a Ron Paul / George Washington / Thomas Jefferson approach to foreign entanglements we wouldn’t be in this mess which includes the coming bankruptcy of this country since lack of courage keeps us funding these perpetual wars with FED created money.

As Ron has said, our involvement will end one way or another when the currency collapses. How bad it will be depends on how fast we stop the insanity of trying to rule the world.

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By bob, January 1, 2008 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry, all of you folks make some very faulty assumptions

1. The majority of Americans aren’t warmongers
2. Americans can’t be fooled by politicians (again and again).

We have Kucinich & Paul running who will get out of Iraq immediately and they are at the bottom of the polls. Is there a disconnect here?  I’ve got a quote, the truth of which is unassailable…

“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Hermann Goering

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By dihey, January 1, 2008 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

macTN. You hit on an extremely crucial issue. Foreign, especially American civilians must be out of Iraq before any troops are withdrawn. One more Fallujah and our president, current or next, may feel obliged to send the troops back into Iraq. Withdrawal of troops only is a criminal folly. Not one of the wannabes addresses this fundamental issue. Scott is right in this respect. They are superficial. But what does Scott himself have to say about the civilians? Nada so far.

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By dihey, January 1, 2008 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

Dear Scott. Why do you restrict your discussion of what presidential wannabes might do on Iraq if elected to Hillary Clinton? What are Obama, Dodd, Edwards, Kucinich, or Richardson likely to do? Does any of them have a better plan than Hillary Clinton? What does “redeployment of the combat troops” mean? What would you do?

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By CorkExaminer, January 1, 2008 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

A you have said before we (Americans and Brits) shouldn’t be in Iraq, apart from anything else, because we don’t understand it and are making the situation worse.  Our decisions are driven by domestic considerations thousands of miles from the problem.  Not good for us and not good for them.  Whichever way you cut it we should be finding the fastest way out of the situation.

May you have a happy and peaceful (and prolific) 2008.

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By cyrena, January 1, 2008 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

I signed your petition. Hope it helps. Only one question..why do you have ‘everyMAN’ in the URL? Does that mean that women shouldn’t sign it?

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By Michael Metti, January 1, 2008 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with most of what Mr. Ritter say’s, after all he had his boots on the ground in Iraq. But just as he was made to look unpatriotic and was mistreated by the mainstream media at the time, it is happening all over again.

This time the media is black-balling Presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul. He wants immediate withdrawal from Iraq, he never voted for it or for it’s funding. Even more importantly, he voted against the Patriot Act because he read it. He wants to do away with what is the American Empire abroad. We currently have over 750 military bases in over 130 countries. We simply cannot afford to be the world’s self appointed police, judge and executioner. He is the only candidate with this consistant measage, and has a well funded grass-root support to back it up.

I am an ex-Democrat and am so discussed with the single minded, lock step candidates that we are spoon fed with by the mainstream news people. No real issues are being seriously discussed and we assume we must forcefully guide the rest of the world, while we suffer terribly at home with loss of liberty and a degrading infrustucture. We bombed bridges, schools and sewer systems in Iraq and now must repair them, while ours are seriously degrading. When are we going to wake up and choose a leader that understands and follows the Constitution, after all, it is what thet swear an oath to uphold.

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By Bill, January 1, 2008 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Every American intervention only begets new problems requiring new interventions, while seldom, if ever, solving the conditions of the original intervention.  Our foreign policy resembles heroin addiction.  We need the drug to overcome the withdrawal symptoms, but of course we only become more addicted.  At some point we will have to go cold turkey, accept some negative consequences from withdrawal, but return to normal life. Normal life is not thinking that security depends on global dominance.  The USA alone sees itself threatened by events everywhere on Earth and thus needs a global empire of bases spanning 130 countries.  This costs our children 727 billion a year.  We spend more on military than the rest of the world combined.  But if terrorism be the threat we face these conventional military expenditures do nothing to protect us, and the wars we fight and the proxy regimes we support only increase the hatred that nourishes the ranks of the terrorists.  But if we didn’t spend borrowed money to support the military,what would happen to the American economy?  So our addiction is both political and economic.  We should have heeded Pres Eisenhower when he warned against the military-industrial complex.  So long as it rules our country,we are not free.  We do not have a republic of the people, by the people, for the people, but we are subjects and servants of empire,paying tribute through exorbitant taxes and the taxes on our children for policies that only harm us.  Ron Paul is right.  Take back America.

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By willyloman, January 1, 2008 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

Mr. Ritter;
I agree that if peace is to be achieved in the light of what this administration and their enablers want, we are going to have to “Wage” a campaign for it, like you suggested in “Waging Peace”.

I just listened to your radio address from Truthdig. Unfortunately I have to agree that the recent NIE report will not sway this administration in the least with regard to their plans for a pre-emptive attack on Iran.

If we want them to stop; if we want this country back we will have to take it back.

You said in the radio address “I’m a big fan of the Americn Public letting congress know that impeachment is “on the Table”“.

You also said “It’s time to start holding congress to account for failing to hold the administration accountable. Like Nancy Pelosi…”

Well, I couldn’t agree more. I have written an open letter to nancy Pelosi explaing why she will be replaced as Speaker of the House under House rules IX. She can be. Infact, two weeks ago I put forward a petition to do just that. It has 2200 signatures and is gaining more everyday.

Please read the letter to Pelosi and the online petition.

I thank you for all the work you are doing to help restore this country.

Scott Creighton willyloman

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By cyrena, January 1, 2008 at 3:01 am Link to this comment

Can I just say again, that we aren’t qualified to suggest that the Iraqis never wanted a ‘democracy’, because that isn’t necessarily the case at all.

The issue is that we have NEVER been in a position to decide for, or otherwise shove down their throats, what OUR democracy is.

Democracy, by its very definition, is a system of government DETERMINED BY THE PEOPLE of the society of whom will be governed. It is only the arrogance of the AMERICAN WAY, to presuppose that entire legal systems and political structures can be packaged and transported across all cultures and societies. And of course, THAT DOESN’T WORK.

I personally REJECT the supposition that “Iraqis are not ready for democracy’ because it is an ideological falsehood, based on the arrogant assumption that ‘ours’ is the only form of such. (which sure isn’t doing us a damn bit of good these days). So I’d like to believe that we can divorce ourselves from this ingrained perception of what democracy actually is.

The Iraqis are the ONLY ones who can determine this for themselves, and their own society, based on their OWN cultural and other political traditions. The US can ONLY get the hell OUT of their way, and start paying some restitution that will allow them the resources needed to accomplish this.

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By Douglas Chalmers, January 1, 2008 at 2:28 am Link to this comment

Turkey already has some of the Kurdish region…...

By Blackspeare, December 31: ” that case there may be 7 Iraqs if we include the Green Zone like Ritter does.  Remember the US is building the largest embassy/consulate in the world in Baghdad——all part of the PNAC and which in itself may be a city-state with the US operating above Iraqi law…”

Exactly,  Blackspeare. It is already the pathetic virtual American Dubai of the region and so maybe it could end up as one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) mini Gulf states eventually, ha ha???

The rest of Baghdad will just be the hinterland.  Iraqis hearts will be filled with gratitude, uhh…...

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By William Dalton, January 1, 2008 at 1:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My thanks to Scott Ritter for doing as he always does, providing me with real information about events in Iraq and not just opinion.

In light of the facts as he outlines them, however, one piece of criticism does not ring true - that of the Kurds of Iraq.  Why, given that the “government” in Baghdad is so fractured, so baseless, so hopeless of ever even surviving a U.S. withdrawal, should the Kurds be encouraged to bargain away their oil wealth, their God-given patrimony, to cement themselves into this unstable and corrupt Iraqi coalition? Would Scott do this if he were a Kurd? Much better for them, it seems to me, even better than an independent state that would immediately be at war with Turkey, is to forge an agreement which gives them automony within the TURKISH state, in fact would expand their borders to include all of present day Turkish Kurdistan, which itself is the seat of much rebellion within that country.  Kurds get an expanded automonous state in which they can govern themselves, and the Turks get peace within and without their borders and the profit of the Kurd’s vast oil wealth to boot.  Obviously both sides will have to eat some crow and swallow some pride as a dessert, but aren’t the gains to be realized on both sides worth the bargain?  And then, the remaining Iraqis, Shiia and Sunni may decide to get serious about making peace lest the Iranians decide to march in and take the rest of their oilfields.

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By disgusted, January 1, 2008 at 1:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Maybe we should out source this job( president) as these same representatives have been so ready to out source our American jobs.”

The Whitehouse was outsourced to Tel Aviv many years ago.

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By odlid, January 1, 2008 at 12:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

True enough, seabeckR.  Iraqis and Afghans are suffering unbearable misery. Making things right is the discussion I’d appreciate.

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By ocjim, December 31, 2007 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

I have to agree with Scott. The tendency in America, especially among politicians is to emphasize short-term solutions and present the superficial as the deep truth. Especially with the Bush regime, short-term concerns are only considered since everything is politics and nothing is seriously facing problems.

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By FilthyCherry, December 31, 2007 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

If you would all care to find out why there was a reduction then listen to Dahr Jamail during his book launch for “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq”

Here’s a link to the vid of one lecture:

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By purplewolf, December 31, 2007 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Hillary, the last time I heard your comments about Iraq, you would not even consider any slowing down of the war until at least the year 2013 or later, in fact you even were gun ho about starting war with Iran. Now you claim you will go toe-to-toe with the Republicans to end this war. Do you think we the American public, are all that stupid and have such short term memories that affects us like it affects those who run for politics? If you were sincere about ending the war, you and all those unqualified men running for the presidency would not have been wasting all this time and money you have so far on the campaign trail. You and every other person would be doing the job they were voted for and now are somehow managing to neglect, all in the name of greed.

There is no honor among anyone of you running for this position, none of you are fit to be the next president, that is if Bush allows it to take place, otherwise you would be doing the original job you were voted to do and not spend all your time and energy on a iffy shot at the presidency.

Maybe we should out source this job( president) as these same representatives have been so ready to out source our American jobs.

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By Hammo, December 31, 2007 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

It seems that the invasion and occupation of Iraq may continue to be viewed as an effort to grab oil, boost war profiteering and mold the Middle East in questionable ways.

Until the U.S. is again perceived as a legitimate force for good in the world, our efforts in Iraq and elsewhere may be met with limited success.

More along these lines in the article ...

“U.S. global peace officer or corrupt cop? ‘Peace operations’ explored”
December 20, 2007

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By Blackspeare, December 31, 2007 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

“Got it, Blackspeare! Turkey already has some of the Kurdish region…...”

Why thank you and in that case there may be 7 Iraqs if we include the Green Zone like Ritter does.    Remember the US is building the largest embassy/consulate in the world in Baghdad——all part of the PNAC and which in itself may be a city-state with the US operating above Iraqi law!

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By rachel, December 31, 2007 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

Ohhh, Dr. Knowitall, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Admitting that pushing that sham of a democracy on a country that never wanted it from us was stupid (and remedying the subsequent chaos) would be a great solution, but are they actually gonna do it? Pfft. Right. We’ve got children to blow up here.

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By Douglas Chalmers, December 31, 2007 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

The Five Iraqs? Rather the Book of Five Rings…..

By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, December 31: “Here’s the solution:  the Bush administration and congress have to do the right thing, admit their mistake, retreat, get out of other people’s business lock, stock and barrel and promise they will swear off their imperialistic ways…...  And also promise that, when the people speak, they will listen….”

Dai mono naru furuki dogu shojisezu - Never let future generations have an attachment to weapons. From The Dokkodo - “The Path of Aloneness” or “The Way to be Followed Alone”, Japan, 1645, by Miyamoto Musashi….. and then go to next page…....

One way of explaining, ‘In no way act contrary to ones future’ is to become a real human being or to mould a correct human constitution…...

What is correct constitution? It is the accomplishment of our own lives. As children we go to school. We grow up and acquire employment. Then get married, have children and look after them. This is our bright future. Having a good job, getting married to an attractive person. Living in a big house does not always constitute content. Even if we are materially poor our heart and spirit are fulfilled. It is form of happiness. Musashi is saying that life is to break out of ones shell and become independent.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, December 31, 2007 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

Yada, Yada, Yada, etc., Blah, Blah.

American people were sucked into this by a lying administration that lied some more and sucked some more and now we find ourselves at the very bottom of the dirt bag.

Here’s the solution (just about every TDer I’ve read the last several years knows this):  the Bush administration and congress have to do the right thing, admit their mistake, retreat, get out of other people’s business lock, stock and barrel and promise they will swear off their imperialistic ways.  And also promise that, when the people speak, they will listen.  It’s soooooo simple.

What idiot would have the arrogance to think that Iraq would be the least bit interested in adopting our form of government in 2004?  It hasn’t worked all that well for us.  Suck up your own sh*t before you go off trying to sell your Hoover to someone else and make sure it’s a good machine before you do. 

You can accept stupidity by itself. 
You can accept arrogance by itself.
You can accept self-righteousness by itself.
You can even accept delusion by itself.  But when you find all these in the people who are your leaders, it’s time to turn the Hoover on them.

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By Douglas Chalmers, December 31, 2007 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

Do We Need More Iraqs???!!!

By Blackspeare, December 31: “WOW!  I originally thought there were three Iraqs, now there are five——do I hear six…”

Got it, Blackspeare! Turkey already has some of the Kurdish region…...

Turkey takes the North, S.Arabia takes the South, Iran encroaches on the East and Syria chomps up the West. Iraqis will be left with Baghdad as a city state if they are lucky…....?!?!

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By jellyfish, December 31, 2007 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another great article from Scott,

but Hillary’s quote that she

“will not hesitate to go toe to toe with Republicans in the debates to end the war as quickly and responsibly as possible.”

As if right now and the past five years as a U.S. Senator during this farce war was premature.  I hope noone really buys this load of shit.  She needs to be President first before she can help end the war quickly and responsibly?  Hillary should be leading the charge of impeachment and ending the war quickly right NOW.  What a joke she’s been one of the biggest supporters of the Bush administration even compared to some Republicans.

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By SeabeckReserach, December 31, 2007 at 9:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Too bad these sites don’t collect a fine everytime someone makes a personal, ad hominem attack. The issues are tough enough as it is. Why pour oil on the fire except to revel in the flames?

Well, maybe that cosmic karma counter is still registering debits.

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By felicity, December 31, 2007 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

Don’t forget dumping the dollar for the euro.

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By Blackspeare, December 31, 2007 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

WOW!  I originally thought there were three Iraqs, now there are five——do I hear six!

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By Mudwollow, December 31, 2007 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

“Their shallow rhetoric reveals an ignorance of the increasingly fractured and disastrous reality.”

You are joking here, right Scott?

The candidates you refer to include only those who have been hand picked and showered by elite special interest money. Only those who are allowed to participate in “the debates” funded and controlled totally by those same elite corporate special interests.

“Their shallow rhetoric” reveals absolutely nothing.  Nothing beyond the fact that shallow rhetoric is all that will be tolerated by the republicandemocrats (the US Uniparty), the media and their corporate military industrial bosses.

Shallowness does reveal ignorance but none of the candidates are ignorant, are they Scott.  Scared shitless to mention anything beyond the currently sanctioned, contrived and concocted corporate BS, but certainly not ignorant.

So why present the situation to us that way?

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By StealthBadger, December 31, 2007 at 8:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The whole “business leader” thing inspires such confidence, especially since the unrestrained free markets have done such wonders in the world of finance of late.

Yep, more of that genius is exactly what we need, if we want to become a broke, isolated backwater with our media focused on hyping paranoia, and a security state giving us damn good reason to BE paranoid.

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By d.alon, December 31, 2007 at 5:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I understand that Clinton is positioning herself as a centrists, and representing all people in the US is the duty of the president, but a strong moral compass is needed first and foremost.  The current administration has commited crimes against international law and our Constitution, and instead of the people accepting that this is simply the way things are now and therefore we must deal with it, we should be looking for someone to stand up provide a clear and direct counterforce to these morally reprehensible policies - not tweek them and tinker with them.  A dead tree will never bear fruit no matter how much rain it receives. 

If a KKK group lies its way into national power, ought the opposing political party pander to KKK activists and attempt to work within the framework of racism they established?  Of course not.  We need a repudiation of the policies we know are un-American and a candidate to get up lead on principles of truth and justice (it may sound like I’m advocating Superman for president, but honestly, any national leader must have a strong sense of both, otherwise nations loose their way, as is evidenced at this current epoch in our history). Otherwise, its like replacing a window on a condemned house and calling it home.

Accepting the current US policy as valid disqualifies Clinton as far as I’m concerned, and seeks power for power’s sake, so she panders wherever she thinks her compromises will buy the best results.  Ron Paul is the only one willing to address the US foriegn policy and the establishment’s vision of the role of the military and call it for what it is - un-American.  The rest of the candidates from either party seem tragically phony and contrived by focus groups.

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By cyrena, December 31, 2007 at 3:06 am Link to this comment

Great post Expat,

And, you’re right of course, since we didn’t know diddly-squat about the culture and the thugs that planned it never cared to know. That’s what happens when imperial hubris goes beyond even the most extreme levels of perfidy and grotesques obscenity that we could have ever possibly imagined. And, they’ve REFUSED TO STOP!!

At ANY TIME, in the past 4 ½ years, THEY COULD HAVE LEFT!! For every single day of that time, it has only grown worse. How long now, since we’ve exceeded the ‘causality’ numbers of Saddam? The number of dead civilians, the number of tortured prisoners, Is there ANYTHING at all of the old Baghdad left? No. Iraq is gone. It’s been gone for years now. And, there was NEVER a plan to leave, at least not without every single drop of oil that could be bled from those sands, no matter what.

Iraq was only about 26 million people to begin with. And, even under the most punishing of sanctions, for over a decade, Saddam managed to keep most of the population fed, housed, with basic services. They had an infrastructure, and a culture that goes back forever.

Mesopotamia was the birthplace of civilization. 

And, they could have LEFT at any time. Never planned it, and they still won’t. Nor will they concern themselves with learning anything of the culture, because they don’t want to. They don’t CARE about any of that. It’s neo-colonization by barbarians. Just wipe the place out, so we can get to the oil. That’s all that’s ever mattered.

And having had it all go so horribly wrong, all THEY can do is BLAME the Iraqis!!
Claims such as “These people aren’t ready for a democracy”. The hell they aren’t!! They just have to MAKE IT THEMSELVES, in whatever way works best for THEIR society, and THEIR culture.

But in reality, that was never the barbarians plan to begin with. They didn’t want a ‘democracy’ for Iraq; they wanted a slave colony!!

No. The ONLY thing that a new regime can do is to LEAVE. They have to solicit the help of Iran, Syria, and the UN, and they have to expel that rotten and corrupt puppet government that they’ve set up as partners in crime.

MackTN, that’s how we leave. That’s how we should have left before we even went. We leave every single solitary thing there, and we let the countries of the Middle East work with each other and the Iraqis (the ones left) with any help that the UN can provide.

It is not up to Biden, or this miserable sniveling Congress, or any body else in this country, to decide ANYTHING on behalf of Iraq. All they have to do is give Iraq Halliburton, Exxon-Mobile, Royal Dutch Shell, The Carlyle Group, every single solitary dime of ALL of the Cheney and Bush fortunes, and anything else you guys can think of that I’ve missed. Hell, they should give ‘em the whole state of Texas, and all of ITS natural resources. (guess I’m getting carried away now, eh)

And while we’re leaving, and letting them have what’s left of their country back, we need to throw the entire Cabal underneath the jail at the Hague, and throw away the keys. (or, we could lock them all up at Guantanamo, and let ‘em live out their days in ‘the tropics’ as Rumsfeld calls it.

Now Mack, if we DO this, we don’t have to worry that the bad guys are gonna immediately take over the place. They’ve been neighbors over there for at least 1000 years, and they share a culture and basic traditions. I know we’ve created tremendous animosity between them. But, they will be able to get beyond that at some point, because they have enough sense to know that their own survival depends on it.

We the people can do our part, by making sure that the real terrorists are held accountable, and we don’t have to go far to find them.

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By weather, December 31, 2007 at 3:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Expat, thank you, you’re right. We have the power to act at the local level and influence change.

It can start w/the simple act of cancelling cable TV/MSM subscribtions.

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By SamSnedegar, December 31, 2007 at 2:54 am Link to this comment

“...It is almost as if by design the Bush administration has cobbled together a wreck incapable of governance….”

Duh . . . Even though Ritter is an ex jarhead, he can’t be THAT stupid. Of COURSE they designed the whole fiasco to keep the Iraqis off balance and unable to govern themselves so that we could remain there indefinitely and control their oil. Anyone knows that, even one as stupid as Greenspan.

Ah yes, but Ritter is a member of the Al Franken, Joe Conason, Gene Lyons, Bob Scheer group of book writers who shhhhhhhh!!!! can’t mention oil or their ROYALTIES will be removed forcibly.

Anyone, and Ritter is a prime example, who writes about Iraq and doesn’t deal with oil is just blowing smoke up the nether end of your alimentary canal.

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By Expat, December 31, 2007 at 2:25 am Link to this comment

We have squandered the greatest opportunity ever possible for a peaceful world because we were taken over by a bunch of neo-con imperialists who had more vision than the rest of us naive, apathetic, self-concerned, gen-nothings.  It’s classic; the dark side/the force-side dichotomies.  Ever vigilant/never vigilant.  Indeed, not when, but “will” we ever learn.  Our history is like a broken record, same old thing, same old thing, same old thing, same old thing, ………………………………..
Sawadi Pe Mai……..Happy New Year

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By Expat, December 31, 2007 at 2:06 am Link to this comment

First of all, our leaders (present and future) must get up to speed (educated) about the cultures they have so rudely blown to crap!  From most of the rhetoric, not much chance of that. 
Next, when dealing with Muslim countries, they have to forget their Christian/Democracy centric agenda.  As a role model we have failed miserably both there and here at home.  Our hypocrisy is so blatant and transparent (here and there); I find it hard to believe anybody believes a word spoken by any American. 
How sad.  We and the world have lost so much.  Even though we never were the country that the world thought we were (it was a wonderful myth); at least the world used to look at us as an honest broker:  Never again, that’s gone.
There are only a few (couple) candidates that will or can change things; what will “we” do?  Theoretically it’s in our hands….hahahahahahahah.

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By nils cognizant, December 31, 2007 at 1:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Had to read this piece slowly. There’s so much there to try and understand. By page 2, I was thankful that Ritter had offered a useful option:  “For my money, I choose working with the Sunnis and al-Sadr to create a viable coalition…” This is not, I’m guessing, intended as a solution, more as a potent catalyst. I’d like to see a regional Islamic conference convened (at our behest), one which is widely inclusive. Infighting bred by being “widely inclusive,” can be minimized by severely narrowing the task/goal of the conference: setting up, within 90 days, the equivalent of a Governorship to oversee a new and legitimate national election in Iraq and to have full authority to make administrative decisions until the new government is formed. By full authority, I mean the Governorship would also publish a suggested timeline for withdrawal of all foreign forces and fighters.

The effectiveness of this Governorship might be assured by its composition, a dozen or so elder statesmen of the region. No hotheads, young guys or outsiders.

Finally, if the US wishes for such an approach to actually work, the group described must be provided with a large, competent staff which will steer the required US monetary investment in rebuilding the country. Once the federal Iraqi gov is in place, the suggested guiding body can be incorporated as a private, non-partisan advisory panel.

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By cyrena, December 31, 2007 at 12:42 am Link to this comment

How grotesquely nauseating this comment is. Will trolls just go ANYWHERE?

Did he even READ the thing?

God I hate US politics.

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By mackTN, December 31, 2007 at 12:13 am Link to this comment

What would happen?  And define “leaving.” 

If we left, what would happen to all the contractors over there?  What about that Embassy of America Mall—who will be there? 

If we left, wouldn’t the place be overrun instantly with all who despise us (which is just about everybody)? 

What a f…ing mess!  It’s time someone tells it like it is instead of saying what will get votes.  This will only get worse, and whoever is the next president will preside over the most unstable period in world history.

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By Douglas Chalmers, December 30, 2007 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

But the USA wants to take on Iran…

By Douglas Chalmers, December 30 at 7:31 pm #
(1619 comments total)
And that’s only Iraq…...Now the…”

Oh, and I forgot to mention TURKEY!!!

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By Enemy of State, December 30, 2007 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

Do we want an Iraq disaster that we can blame on the prefidious nature of the other party?

  Do we want the oil?

  Do we want permanent bases in the country?

  Do we want to maintain a domestic war footing so that we can continue to feed the military-industrial-security complex back home?

  Do we want to keep the residents of that part of the world riled up, so that we can play the fear-of-terrorism card for domestic political purposes?

  Until we confront these issues, and answer the questions we can’t begin to try to find a responsible exit strategy. I don’t think any of the major candidates wants to see the acrimony that this debate is going to entail.

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By Dustin Hofheins, December 30, 2007 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I really believe that Mitt Romney is the best choice for America.  He is more qualified than any other candidate on both sides. 

Romney is a master at business strategy, and I think that he has the unique background to strategically place America as a force for good in the world, unite moderate Muslim Nations on the premise of rejecting the extreme, and ultimately making America more safe and prosperous.

Mitt Will Win!!!

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By Douglas Chalmers, December 30, 2007 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

And that’s only Iraq…...

Now the USA is also embroiled in Afghanistan and about to be in Pakistan, uhh.

Then there’s Syria (and Israel).......

And Saudi Arabia soon, too…...

But the USA wants to take on Iran????

By the way, don’t forget India has its own ideas after decades of on/off conflict with Pakistan…..

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