How Will We Know if It's Civil War?

After a week of debating, the question remains unanswered: How will we know when the line has been crossed between "sectarian violence" and "civil war"? I hoped the Pentagon could shed some light on the subject for us.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Iraq "is not in civil war at the present time, by most experts' calculations," the Post reported. Experts who follow the traditional definition of civil war, however, disagree. It is therefore reasonable to ask how the U.S. military judges what constitutes a civil war. Number of casualties? Duration of the conflict?

Lt. Col. Barry Venable took my phone call, and answered that "greatly increased levels of violence" would be one indicator of civil war. But a big jump in sectarian violence has already happened, sparked by the bombing of the Askariya mosque last month. Venable responded that such an assessment was arguable. Yet Gen. John Abizaid said "there's no doubt that the sectarian tensions are higher than we've seen," and that "sectarian violence is a greater concern for us security-wise right now than the insurgency."

Venable suggested I e-mail him my question: "At what point is it civil war?" I received the following answer, complete with a link to a site that offers the military's perspective on the current situation.

"As the Secretary of Defense stated yesterday, we do not assess that Iraq is in a state of civil war at the present time," he wrote. "The situation in Iraq has not yet crossed the threshold of civil war." The other three sentences of the answer repeated what Abizaid already said.

As would already be obvious to anyone who's ever watched a press conference, government officials almost never answer direct questions; usually, they simply state what is already known and pretend that's the answer. If I went to the Pentagon and asked where the ladies' room was, I imagine the response would be something along the lines of: "The Pentagon has five sides. Several leaders of the Army, Navy and Air Force work inside the building, which has five sides. We have a number of ladies' rooms on each of the sides, of which there are five. We are committed to ensuring that ladies' rooms are made available to those females who wish to utilize bathroom facilities. Next question?"

Debater Turnabout believes that the "only thing stopping an all-out civil war is the presence of U.S. troops. Remove them and Iraq enters the maelstrom." Debater Jamal talks about the "Lebanonization" of Iraq, and reminds us of the U.S. role (and quick retreat) in Lebanon's civil war. Are we so sure an "all-out" civil war won't happen even with U.S. troops in the country? Debater On the Plantation calls the fighting in Iraq "a revolution." But whose?

Debater D. writes, "Seems the problem is that the Al-Queda (oh, I forgot, they're not in Iraq) and Baathist remnants have been trying to foment a civil war for awhile now."

It is vital that we clear up D.'s misconception, as it is a common one. The insurgency is very different from the recent sectarian violence, as Abizaid and Debater Jaxas pointed out. The insurgent ranks include many foreign fighters and their intended targets are foreigners and Iraqis they believe support the occupation. Even when they fight amongst themselves, it's local insurgents vs. the foreign insurgents. Now, we see Iraqis killing fellow Iraqis, solely based on their religious sect.

A war between the Sunnis and the Shiites has been considered a worst-case scenario for years. On July 31, 2002, The Miami Herald's Warren P. Strobel reported, "In the worst-case scenario, Iraq's fractious ethnic groups could try to break off their own mini-states, trapping American combat forces in the middle of a civil war."

"Even in the best case," Strobel wrote, "U.S. troops and diplomats could be stuck in Iraq for years, trying to teach the finer points of democracy to a nation that has never known it."

By Emily Messner |  March 10, 2006; 3:41 PM ET  | Category:  Middle East
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

"C'mon guys (BLAM), I've been (Ka-POW, ARRRGH) watching the situation (RAT -A-TAT-TAT-TAT 'Ouch') in (KATHOOM, SHATTER, THUD) Iraq, and all this (SWISH...BANG) talk of increasing violence ("INCOMING!") is just an (BOOM, POW, BOOM, KABLAM) exaggeration! Really!"
A corrupted Congress never impeaches a corrupted President. Professional courtesy. The real question is when a new American Revolution gets "triggered".

Fluff up your feather pillows and keep that hot tar on the back burner! Democracy is coming TO THE USA! So US Occupation Forces are training Iraqi Forces to fight Iraqis fighting the Occupation, isn't that a real 'civil' war. Pre-emptive martial law! If the Iraqis got their Shiite together the Sunnis Kurds and Shiites could throw the Americans out easy, I don't think they really want it. I think they are scared of drone robots and retnia scans. What is the difference between Terrorism and the Shock and Awe. George Bush is way worse than Bin Laden is. We don't even count how many people we murder. How can you be pro war and pro life? How come the entire US Government including Republicans AND Democrats, isn't on trial for War Crimes, A Pre Emptive War of Conquest! WMDS? TORTURE? 911? UBL?
UBL is dead! Dropping mini nukes on Iran because of the oil bourse! The Territorial pissings in Iraq should get really interesting then! US Forces are not defending Freedom but Tyranny! US Forces are a terrorist organization commanded by history's most hated and powerful Tyrant, George WMD Bush and his neo Conservative Zionist Hoodlums! I look forward to them being "brought to swift justice"!

Posted by: rebellion to tyrants | March 10, 2006 04:01 PM

I was having a beer with a Spanish speaking friend of mine when he inquired what it was that I was drinking.

"A beer," I told him.

"No, that looks like a cerveza to me, friend," he replied.

I examined the drink and, nothing that it was in fact a beer (and not a cerveza) I tried to educate my amigo on just what made a beer a beer. "This is not a cerveza, it is a beer. These bubbles are carbonation which is in beer. According to the Miller Brewing Co., the smooth, crisp taste of the beer represents its drinkability. It cost me two dollars and fifty cents, which is how much the menu lists the cost of Miller Lite under its beer section."

My friend considered this, tried a sip of my beer, noted the carbonation and the drinkability, examined the price on the menu and concluded quite irrationally, "Nope, you are still wrong. That is a cerveza. You must be drunk."

What an idiot my friend is. He doesn't even know the difference between a beer and a cerveza.

Posted by: Will | March 10, 2006 04:02 PM

You can never get a straight answer from a government official because they are all fearful of getting it wrong, and worst of all, on record. No one wants to take responsibility, even for the simplest things.

Posted by: Matt | March 10, 2006 04:03 PM

Will, stop being so smart. You've lost me.

(Seriously, can you explain your post a little more? It seems very clever, but I'm not clever enough to understand it).


Posted by: Derek | March 10, 2006 04:07 PM

The Mexican Government refuses to acknowledge that the United States ever had a Civil War. They keep calling it merely a "Guerra Civil" or some other such nonsense. How silly.

Posted by: Will | March 10, 2006 04:07 PM

Of course I wonder what all this has to do with the defense of the United States. As far as I know there is no clause in the constitution saying it is the feds job to promote democracy.

Oh well I guess even the conservatives have some very loose values also...

Iraq has had enoughh time to get its game together. Start withdrawing to the borders and then adios.

Posted by: Hal | March 10, 2006 04:12 PM

I'm not quite sure how what I stated was a misconception. The deliberate trageting of mosques and such by, presumably, foreign terrorists is an attempt to spark a sectarian conflict (Sunni v. Shia) that will make US presence there untenable.

Unless you're saying that Sunni and Shia are natural enemies that'll fall upon each other with hand axes the minute no one's watching...which I don't think is the case.

As I've said before. Keep an eye on the actions of the Iraqi military and security forces (believe estimated at 200,00 strong), which is composed of members of all three ethnic groups. When that starts to splinter into warring factions, then you've got a civil war on. That hasn't happened...yet.

Posted by: D. | March 10, 2006 05:34 PM

Emily writes: "Seems the problem is that the Al-Queda (oh, I forgot, they're not in Iraq) and Baathist remnants have been trying to foment a civil war for awhile now."

Emily, why do you think Zarqawi is titled Head of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia? Why do many foreign fighters trace to Al Qaeda or affiliated radical cells in other countries? Why are three Saudi guys my nephew and others in his unit wounded and snagged in fighting in Ramadi calling themselves "Al Qaeda fighters under the Emir's (Binnie's) Saudi resistance. Why did all three have Afghan training? Why do those 3 have such fear of going back to KSA where Prince al-Turki's men await and are demanding ACLU lawyers or lawyers in London to prevent their deportation?

Why the heart to heart letters between Zarqawi and Ayman al-Zawahiri..."Good up the good work, lay off the head-chopping, and send us money to "you know what" mountainous province???"

Civil War? Objective criteria are hard to specify when violence crosses into civil war. Many wars when recognized are traced by historians back to an earlier starting point. Hindu-Muslim riots in the 1930s did not precipitate civil war then Partition, but the 1946 riots eventually are seen as the beginning. The 1930s riots died down. If they hadn't, they would have signalled the start.

So perhaps some signs:

1. The sectarian strife does not die down
2. The strife expands to include militias fighting an organized campaign in broad daylight against other organized militias.
3. The usual anonymous bombings and assassinations signal strife, but are not prima facie evidence of open civil war.
4. US troops redeploy to "garrison strongholds" and generally stay out of the way of the fighters - focusing on blocking Sunnis and Shia from other countries from pitching in.

As for Pentagon bathroom locations, if you are there you may indeed have a long wait from the stupifying Press liasions, clutch your stomach and moan in a hallway "Bathroom" and a soldier will walk you immediately to the "heads" (if Navy), "bathroom" for normal soldiers. Lonemule will be proud you followed his advice....

Posted by: Chris Ford | March 10, 2006 05:35 PM

The Mexican Government refuses to acknowledge that the United States ever had a Civil War. They keep calling it merely a "Guerra Civil" or some other such nonsense. How silly.

Posted by: Will

Will - We prefer to refer to it as the "The War of Northern Aggression" lol

Posted by: D. | March 10, 2006 05:36 PM


Then we should have a debate about the meaning of "War" and "Northern" and "Aggression" because what's important is the classification system we use to describe events, not the actual events themselves. Right? (RIGHT?)

Posted by: Will | March 10, 2006 05:57 PM

Emily wrote:
"After a week of debating, the question remains unanswered: How will we know when the line has been crossed between "sectarian violence" and "civil war"? I hoped the Pentagon could shed some light on the subject for us."

It's an important and enduring question. Almost as important and enduring as "How many Angels can dance on the head of a pin?"

The brutal truth is that there are widely disparate groups here competing for power and taking various forms of revenge. There is the relatively small Zarqawi crowd focused on particularly spectacular and bloody displays of sheer carnage. There are the Sunni insurgent groups seeking to expel the Occupier, to dethrone the government and assert their traditional power and privilege, to resist Shia domination, to extract revenge for Shia atrocities, it goes on and on. There are the Shia militias, the significant ones primarily maintained by Shia political parties and focused on supporting party attitudes and goals, sometimes exacting revenge for Sunni atrocities. There is the Pesh Merga militia which largely controls the Kurdish areas under the control of the Kurdish regional government. There is the Interior Ministry which controls the police and some paramilitary forces, heavily infiltrated by the Shia militias and heavily dominated by Shia personell. There is the Defense Ministry which controls the Army, relatively fairly balanced in terms of sect, but having a primarily Sunni officer core. Underneath all of this at the village level, we have some ethnic cleansing going on using the same methods we saw applied in Bosnia, Croatia, etc. Finally of course, there is us, trying to figure out when and where to wield our big stick, while each of these other parties tries to figure out how to con us into wielding it to serve their particular goals.

The real answer is that there are lots and lots of "civil wars" going on here, none of them being particularly civil in nature either.

If and as this continues to escalate, the key will be what happens with the Interior Ministry and the Defense Ministry. If the Interior Ministry is controlled by the Shia political parties you cannot expect a "unity" government to survive and a full scale civil war is almost a sure thing. If the Defense Ministry is controlled by the Shia political parties you can expect the Officer Corp to be purged over time and the Army become less and less effective and more and more sectarian. There is a very good chance that things will move in such a fashion that the civil war will take shape as a war between the Interior and Defense Ministries. No doubt the Kurds will take advantage to re-secure Kirkuk.

What will happen is beyond me, and beyond us to control.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 10, 2006 08:09 PM

We will know there is civil war when the BBC and the French press and al Jazeera tell us. We certainly can't count on the BA to be upfront about it, even if they have been successful in casting aspersions on the American msm.

But, you say, Americans don't watch the BBC or read al Jazeera or read foreign media sources!

Too bad for us.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | March 10, 2006 09:45 PM

Civil War? Apparently victims of the bloodshed in the Iraq conflict are waiting with bated breath to learn whether or not they were killed in a Civil War. Once again the insistence on adapting the script to fit a historical precedent has totally distorted the reality of the situation. A more realistic analysis might focus on the number of FOREIGN INSURGENTS involved in the conflict, and perhaps even which regions of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon they call home.
Meantime, we can all enjoy debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin and let the situation get REALLY interesting! Play on, Children....

Posted by: Rick Clarke | March 10, 2006 11:00 PM

U.S. Sets Plans to Aid Iraq in Civil War
Security Forces Would Bear Brunt

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 10, 2006; Page A01

"Sectarian violence in Iraq has reached a level unprecedented since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and is now eclipsing the insurgency as the chief security threat there, said Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, who appeared with Rumsfeld."

Webster defines Civil war "as a war between parties, regions, etc. within their own country." Sectarian violence between two religious parties from different regions of the country (with the exception of Baghdad and a few other towns) fits the definition. It appears the Bush administration has a found a new less alarming name for civil war; sectarian violence.

Rumsfeld stated,

"The plan is to prevent a civil war, and to the extent one were to occur, to have the . . . Iraqi security forces deal with it to the extent they're able to,"

The Iraqi security forces and police are heavily infiltrated by the Shiite militias, I'm sure these forces will deal with civil war to the demise of the Sunni civilians, they all ready are. The administration would like to force the term "civil war" out of the press and replace it with it's new less politically threatening term "sectarian violence".

Emily wrote,

"Venable suggested I e-mail him my question: "At what point is it civil war?" I received the following answer, complete with a link to a site that offers the military's perspective on the current situation."

I did a word search on "civil" on the briefing. The term "civil war" was not used, but the word civilian(s) was used 19 times, usually associated with attacks on civilians and civilian casualties. Sectarian violence was used seven times, usually in association with civilian(s).

The Bush administration at its lowest point thus far after the Port Deal debacle and facing a Congressional Republican "insurgency" is trying to spin what most of the American public believes is low level civil war from becoming another "IED" on it's administration. But hey "you say tomato, I say tomato" and "I say civil war, you say sectarian violence". With 70% to 80% of the American public not wanting a civil war in Iraq, the Bush administration has decided to call it sectarian violence, in hopes no one can tell it's a civil war. I guess Rove still thinks we're a bunch of Idiots.

This reminds me of a excellent teacher I had in elementary school. His last name was "Pigg, I always wondered if his ancestors put an extra "g" on the end of the name, so no one could tell their sir name was actually Pig. A few years later he legally changed his sir name.

Posted by: Jamal | March 11, 2006 12:30 AM

Good question: How will we know when it's civial war?

Do you think THESE guys know?? None of these people have served in the military:

GW Bush - decided that a six-year Nat'l Guard commitment really means four years. Still says that he's "been to war." Huh?

Dick Cheney had "other priorities" when he took 5 deferments during Vietnam.

Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld - Was a Navy (1954-57) aviator and flight INSTRUCTOR.

Att'y Gen. John Ashcroft - did not serve; received seven deferments to teach business ed at SW Missouri State


Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert - avoided the draft, did not serve.

former House Majority Leader Tom Delay - avoided the draft, did not serve

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt - did not serve

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist - did not serve.

Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, R-KY - did not serve

Rick Santorum, R-PA, third ranking Republican in the Senate - did not serve.

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott - avoided the draft, did not serve.

Jeb Bush, Florida Governor - did not serve.

Karl Rove - avoided the draft, did not serve, too busy being a Republican.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich - avoided the draft, did not serve then had two extra-marital affairs and then presented wife with divorce papers while in hospital dying of cancer. A self-proclaimed "compassionate CON-servative"

"B-1" Bob Dornan - avoided Korean War combat duty by enrolling in college acting classes (Orange County Weekly article). Enlisted only after the fighting was over in Korea.

Phil Gramm - avoided the draft, did not serve, four student deferments

Posted by: mm | March 11, 2006 12:38 AM

I agree with Hal. Iraq has had enough time to get it together.

Besides, whatever happened to 'mission accomplished'?

Whatever happened to we'd be greeted as liberators?

Posted by: | March 11, 2006 12:42 AM

A little off the subject with this comment. I live in Tennessee and Harold Ford Jr. is running to replace Senator Bill Frist. He recently started running an ad on television over the Port Deal, it can be found in this link under campaign clips.

Posted by: Jamal | March 11, 2006 12:44 AM

A Rose By Any Other Name....

Posted by: | March 11, 2006 12:45 AM

Yep, and now the white house is planning a 'campaign' to educate us dumb americans about Iraq.

Huge deficit, and they're spending tax dollars on another campaign??

It's another 'teach them about private accounts' moment.

Get ready to see Bush make more speeches, folks.

Posted by: | March 11, 2006 12:50 AM

Emily, please reassure us. YOU aren't getting golden parachutes are you? Aren't you too young to be bought out? You're picture certainly looks like it.

Besides, poor Lonesomemule would lose his purpose in life and might become depressed to the point of suicide.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 11, 2006 12:53 AM

here are some more commentators, etc, who try to influence us about Iraq:

Bill O'Reilly, did not serve

Paul Gigot, did not serve.

Bill Bennett, Did not serve

Pat Buchanan, did not serve

Rush Limbaugh, did not serve

Pat Robertson - claimed during 1986 campaign to be a "combat veteran." In reality, was a "Liquor Officer."

Bill Kristol, did not serve

Sean Hannity, did not serve.

Antonin Scalia, did not serve

Clarence Thomas, did not serve

Ralph Reed, did not serve

Michael Medved, did not serve

Charlie Daniels, did not serve

Ted Nugent, did not serve

Radio Host Phil Hendrie, did not serve.

Posted by: | March 11, 2006 12:59 AM

Maybe instead of calling it civil war, we should call it what it is; a mess! It's one big mess over there!

It looks like we're caught between a 'rock and a hard place' with this one.

I do feel sorry for the people over there, however.

I also feel sorry for us, since we have such a narrowly focused administration.

And now they're talking about messing with Iran? Does it ever end?

If anything is making this nation so 'protectionist' and 'isolationist', it's this "war happy" administration.

I'm starting to think it's the only thing they know how to do.

Posted by: js | March 11, 2006 01:26 AM

Dear Donald Rumsfeld,

I am a soldier stationed in Iraq. I've been here for quite a while, and I wanted to give you a heads up to let you know how we're all feeling over here.

First of all, many of us signed up for military service in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. We were really upset and afraid for the future of our country after a terrorist act was committed upon us with such alarming ease that it was almost as though someone was asleep at the switch. Personally, I felt as though I had to step up and do what I could to make sure that something like that could never happen again.

Basic training was rough, but it was no big deal because we all felt as though we were training to fight Al Qaeda, and maybe even get Osama Bin Laden. However, we soon realized that even if some of us were going into Afghanistan, we were all going to be quickly redeployed into Iraq. At first I thought that this was a pretty good idea, since everything I heard from President Bush made me think that not only was Saddam Hussein tied to 9/11, but that he had big plans to use a nuclear bomb against us.

Needless to say, we were pretty gung ho in the first few months of the invasion. However, most of us keep pretty close tabs on the news, since we're all kinda homesick. Over the last two years or so, we've read story after story about how Iraq was never a threat, how Halliburton and companies like it are making record profits, and that no matter what we do, the odds are pretty good that Iraq will devolve into a long civil war that we'll be caught up in the middle of. The best case scenario seems to be that a Shi'ite dominated regime will take over here, much like the one in Iran.

Speaking of which, everything I see is that we're posturing ourselves to go in there now too. What's up with that?

Anyway, I wanted to let you know why most of us have decided that we'd just rather go home. It's not that we don't love our country, but we've just lost faith that you or your bosses really have the same objective here that we do. We're here to protect the United States - not just a few companies that happen to have a financial interest here.


Posted by: | March 11, 2006 01:56 AM

Black Op Murder of Christian Activist in Iraq

Friday March 10th 2006, 10:34 pm

Here's what the State Department, the White House, the Pentagon, and the complicit corporate media would have us believe: the Iraqi "insurgents" are so brutal and blood-thirsty they executed Tom Fox, a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams. "The FBI verified that a body found in Iraq Friday morning was that of Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Va., spokesman Noel Clay said," reports ABC News. "Iraqi and Western security officials repeatedly warned the activists before their abduction that they were taking a grave risk by moving around Baghdad without bodyguards."

Indeed, they were at risk, especially with Special Forces teams sent to advise, support, and train Iraqi death squads, as Michael Hirsh and John Barry of Newsweek reported early last year. If the Pentagon targets journalists "as a matter of policy," as head of CNN's news division, Eason Jordan, told a panel at a World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, last year--a revelation that cost Jordan his job--what's to say they don't target peace activists, who are at least as bothersome? If Israeli soldiers shoot peace activists in the head--for instance, the Brit Thomas Hurndall--what's to say American soldiers in Iraq, equally as brutal (as a recent video of yahoo soldiers shooting wounded Iraqis for fun demonstrates), and trained by Israelis in "Jenin-style urban warfare," would not shoot peace activists in Iraq?

Fox, however, was not shot by U.S. soldiers--or not soldiers in uniform, anyway. More than likely, the non-violent Fox--working for an organization with a broad ecumenical base among many Christian denominations in partnership with Jewish, Muslim and secular peace organizations--was kidnapped and executed by members of a Pentagon-sanctioned black op team.

Last September, we caught a rare glimpse of such an operation when two British SAS men were unmasked in Basra, attempting to plant explosives during the Karbala Festival, marking the birth of Imam Mohammed al-Mahdi, and blame the terrorism on the Iraqi resistance. It took a Syrian correspondent in Baghdad, Ziyad al-Munajjid, to say what the American and British media wanted to sweep under the rug: "Many analysts and observers here had suspicions that the occupation was involved in some armed operations against civilians and places of worship and in the killing of scientists. But those were only suspicions that lacked proof. The proof came today through the arrest of the two British soldiers while they were planting explosives in one of the Basra streets."

As noted earlier this week, the shadowy group allegedly responsible for Fox's abduction and murder is called the Swords of Righteousness Brigades, linked to the Islamic Army in Iraq and supposedly "al-Qaeda." IAI has members from the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization long ago penetrated and compromised by the CIA and MI6. In fact, according to Peter Goodgame, the Brotherhood was created by "the great names of British Middle East intelligence, T.E. Lawrence, E.G. Browne, Arnold Toynbee. St. John Philby and Bertrand Russell," and that their mission was to "keep the Middle East backward so that its natural resource, oil, could continue to be looted." In the current context, it may also be tasked with keeping pesky peace activists out of Iraq as well.

It is difficult to believe an Iraqi resistance group would abduct and then kill a member of an organization that worked with Iraqis detained by occupation forces and collected stories of detainee abuse. It should be noted that the Christian Peacemaker Teams released a report documenting routine abuse of Iraqi prisoners held at Abu Ghraib, well before photographs of abused prisoners were published by the corporate media. "We were the first to publicly denounce the torture of the Iraqi people held by occupation forces," CPT co-director Doug Pritchard told the BBC. In short, the Christian Peacemaker Teams are a thorn in the side of the brutal occupation.

Cui bono once again comes into play--who benefits from the capture and murder of CPT members? Certainly not the Iraqi resistance.

Posted by: che | March 11, 2006 04:32 AM

Posted by: che | March 11, 2006 04:33 AM

There are many historical parallels to know when it is a civil war (or one could argue, a revolution):

. Key assets (oil, ports) claimed and controlled by partisans.

. Independent negotiation with outside groups and nations for recognition and alliance (including defensive alliance).

. Reliable supply chains across borders to sustaining allies.

. Voluntary and involuntary relocation of masses to their respective partitioned areas.

. U.S. takes the issue of a detailed resolution to an international forum.

Posted by: On the plantation | March 11, 2006 06:32 AM

There are many historical parallels to know when it is a civil war (or one could argue, a revolution):

. Key assets (oil, ports) claimed and controlled by partisans.

. Independent negotiation with outside groups and nations for recognition and alliances (including defensive alliances).

. Reliable supply chains across borders to sustaining allies.

. Voluntary and involuntary relocation of masses to their respective partitioned areas.

. U.S. takes the issue of a detailed resolution to an international forum.

Posted by: On the plantation | March 11, 2006 06:35 AM

Emily asks: . . .fighting in Iraq "a revolution." But whose?


Two different Italians nailed the answer to that question. Most recently, Oriana Fallaci in her recent book The Force of Reason. Also, with a title that gives away the answer, the classic written by Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World.

Posted by: On the plantation | March 11, 2006 07:21 AM

The real question is when an AMERICAN revolution gets triggered. Probably right around the time that the Russian Sunburns start sinking US boats in the Gulf. Just after they've turned Tel Aviv into shiny green glass. And Tel Aviv will suffer incredible damage and casualties probably with attendant radioactivity leaking from Dimona...Don't think for a minute the Iranians haven't figured out how to hit the home of zionist nuclear weapons. Ahmurika ain't gonna be wakin' up any time 'fore that I'm 'fraid. Future Lovers will look at us the way present-day Germans look at the Naazis. Don't gotta wait for tomorow, the entire world is looking in shock and awe at Amerikkkuh.

Applying the tried and true propaganda tool of repetition, I would just like to say:

America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran. America is going to get its ass whupped in Iran.

Posted by: The 12th Imam is American | March 11, 2006 08:55 AM

Che wrote,

Black Op Murder of Christian Activist in Iraq

Friday March 10th 2006, 10:34 pm

"as a recent video of yahoo soldiers shooting wounded Iraqis for fun demonstrates"

The management of Yahoo, Inc. states unequivocally; no Yahoo employees, soldiers or otherwise, are shooting Iraqis. However Yahoo, Inc. can not confirm, nor deny the presence of Google or AOL soldiers in Iraq.

Posted by: | March 11, 2006 09:42 AM

Ms Messner. I suggest the best way for you to come to your own conclusion, of whether or not we have an undeclared civil war in Iraq, is for you to spend a few weeks roaming the country outside of BaDdag; and if you make it back to the USA without getting yourself killed or kidnapped, I will accept the idea that there is not a civil war going on in Iraq.

What do you think it means when the most sacred Golden Done Mosque in the country gets blown up? What do you think would happen if the same fate were to befall any of the temples in Jerusalem, or Rome? For God's sake, let's get real.

This whole Iraq episode has gone beyond civil war, or guerra civil, or whatever you want to call it. The only words that describe the state of Iraq and the world at this stage of human evolution are 'human madness at a galactic scale'

Posted by: Julio | March 11, 2006 10:15 AM

Imagine if you were a sentient being sailing along exploring the Universe and came upon planet Earth. What do you think they would say about humans when they saw all the mayhem and wholesale destruction of themselves and the planet?

They would most certainly diagnose the human race as paranoid, delusional and criminally insane with brief moments of clarity.

Posted by: Julio | March 11, 2006 10:40 AM

Posted by: On the plantation

"There are many historical parallels to know when it is a civil war (or one could argue, a revolution):"

". Key assets (oil, ports) claimed and controlled by partisans."

The Shiite solidly control Basrah and its port. Baghdad, although a city, is a key asset to Iraq, look for increased fighting for the city. Sorry, not fighting, sectarian strife. Look for Kurds to exert more pressure on their traditional, oil bearing lands, taken by SH and resettled with Sunni. Sorry, not pressure, sectarian strife.

". Independent negotiation with outside groups and nations for recognition and alliance (including defensive alliance)."

This seems more applicable to the country breaking up. I believe in time this will happen.

". Reliable supply chains across borders to sustaining allies."

This is already happening with IED's and small arms. The Sunni have an endless supply of outside financial resources from Sunni dominated counties. After all; isn't OBL's Islamic Empire a Sunni Empire and as always the Shiite are expendable when it comes to Sunni domination.

Iran, short of an Iraqi invasion, will not allow the Shiite to succumb to Sunni control again. Iran is second to the United States in supplying arms to Iraq. And yes, we are supplying arms to militias, sorry, I meant to say police.

". Voluntary and involuntary relocation of masses to their respective partitioned areas."

This began several years ago, in fact in began many years ago under SH with the forced removal/genocide of Kurds to exert Sunni control of Oil resources. Look for a reversal in the near future, Kurds will not allow the Sunni to retain the oil resources under any government.

It's not a massive relocation of Sunni and Shiite at any point in time, although the numbers relocating when looked at over a long period of time is massive and continuing to grow. Iraq is slowing dividing into three distinct regions.;_ylt=Aq5K2CgoQ89L9i9n.IpU1UlX6GMA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

". U.S. takes the issue of a detailed resolution to an international forum."

Considering the UN, this was happening before we invaded.

Since we are the occupying force in Iraq, it's seems logical that revolution would be worse than civil war, ignore civil war, what I meant to say was sectarian strife. Revolution would be signaled by the alliance of most of the factions in Iraq united against the United States and the New Iraqi government it fostered.

Posted by: Jamal | March 11, 2006 10:47 AM

The always astute Wretchard at Belmont Club
writes on another "turn the other cheek" Christian - Tom Fox's - long anticipated slaughter by Islamoids:

Fox was not oblivious to the fact that terrorists in Iraq killed innocent people too. Or that his life was in danger at terrorist hands. He could offer no definite answer to the question he himself posed: "How do you stand firm against a car-bomber or a kidnapper?" But he was sure of one thing: "fighting was always the wrong answer."

I knew a man once who rushed to church in tears of gratitude over the fact that he didn't have to kill someone. It was at the height of Ferdinand Marcos' power and his secret agents were taking a tremendous toll of the underground. Two men in this mans' cell had disappeared. The first had taken a Greyhound-type bus to the Cagayan Valley and had never gotten off. Another had gone by outrigger from Luzon to the island of Mindoro, where it was said, he had been killed on a beach upon landing by a .45 pressed to his nape as he walked unsuspectingly on the sand. The suspected betrayer was a small, bucktoothed man with almost childish enthusiasm for basketball, given to hysterical fits of laughter. But he was certainly the informer and had to die before he betrayed a third. As it happened, someone else killed the informer and man whose job it was to shoot him was everlastingly grateful that God had arranged for the cup to pass away. Someone else had done the deed and he could go from out the darkness of the Marcos dictatorship with only sweet memories upon his soul.

The question that always bothered me was whether that person -- or any man -- had any right to expect someone else to do the dirty job for him. Can we ever simultaneously acknowledge the necessity of a deed and the absolute immorality of doing it? That in a nutshell is the Problem of Evil: that evil exists and that by and by we will have to face it. The question Tom Fox should have posed is "how do you stand firm against a car-bomber headed straight for a schoolbus?" And if you say, "shoot to save the children" ask yourself if it ever justified to be glad that God had sent someone else to shoot the bomber and go hell in your stead. Tom Fox stood for his beliefs to the bitter end. And now the men who killed him are out there, waiting to kill again.

Chris Ford - Folks like Tom Fox were why Christians proved such easy meat for the Arabs sweeping into the Levant and beyond. They found a pile of pacifist aesthetics who "prayed for the soul" of their butcher then sheep-like bared their necks for the sword. Jews met Pograms in similar matter, sometimes mercifully dispatching their whole family in agreed on suicide rather than face the indignity of fighting and mob abuse. Pacifist Buddhists were wiped out of their original homeland by Islamoids. Their culture and monuments progressively eradicated over the centuries to make them as forgotten as the Zoroastrans the Islamoids also exterminated.

Only when the Islamoids met people determined to fight them - Christian warriors and the warrior caste of Hindis - was the drive to impose a stultifying Mohammadean culture over all of mankind stopped.

Only when Jews chose to stand their ground and fight at Warsaw and in Israel did the world take notice of their humanity and that Jews indeed have values they thought worth fighting for.

Tom Fox is dead. Just like past exemplars of milksop Judaism, Buddhism, and Christianity who voluntarily self-extinguished while their killers laugh and roam free, and breed more just like them.
Tom Fox, like the multi-culti worshippers in Europe and N America do not appear to have the answer to what to do when the killers come into their midst.

On a sidenote, Slobbo is dead. I always thought he would die of natural causes before Euroweenie justice ever meted out sentence on him. He had 8 years. Freedom to make speeches justifying his actions to befuddled Nigerian, Swede, and Gaboonian judges - then retire to his posh jail suites where he could enjoy 1st-run movies and catered food from the finest restaurants...all paid by the Euroweenie taxpayer that funded the 30 million a year Slobbo Trial Fiasco.

The best justice on Islamoids seems to be done by Muslims that know them best. The Jordanians just slow-hanged the 2 they grabbed who killed Ambassador Foley. Iraqis just slow-hanged 16 Islamoids and are getting ready for quietly administering summary justice on Islamoids from Morocco to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, no one involved in 9/11 has been sentenced after 4 1/2 years because of our ACLU-dominated justice system. Only one has been tried. The Project Manager, Inventor, and Mastermind of 9/11 - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - is still at an "undisclosed location" while the ACLU Jews beg and sob to be allowed to defend him and safeguard his human dignity from more "uncomfortable" interrogations..Same with financiers and coordinators 4 years in US capitivity like Ramsi Binalshibish.

Posted by: Chris Ford | March 11, 2006 11:06 AM

Today's post from "The 12th Imam . . ." is an wonderful illustration of the way the war in Iraq is more properly identified as a revolution rather than merely a civil or sectarian conflict.

In that post, repetition replaces reason. Destructive fantasy replaces actual observation. Truly, a genuine full-blown chiliast mentality goes on exhibit, no invitation required.

Revolutions are seldom infectious so there is little there to export beyond traditonal (and now angry) ME cultures; except, however, history reminds us that revolutionary culture wants to expand by domination and to force submission by conquest. This assuredly is the intention of radical Islamists.

Ordinary Americans were justified in thinking spontaneously after 9/11 that this was instigation of a holy war (at least from the opposing vantage point; not that they wanted any type of war on those terms). Craftful management of public opinion quickly neutralized this original instinctive interpretation. Unfortunately, that management also kept up a continuing tone of anger rather than one of just coolly doing our rightful business. But now public opinion is reverting back to that original truth -- this is a holy war against modern (i.e., largely western) civilization.

Consider the effect if we had held to the original perception in regard to the Dubai Ports deal. It would have been perfectly logical and sensible in that light. Dubai is almost the perfect case of ME culture seeking to adopt modern practices in international political and cultural relations; hardly a revolt against civiliation. Our actions against it may unwittingly have the damaging effect of weakening its defenses against a spillover from revolution centered in Iraq.

Posted by: On the plantation | March 11, 2006 11:08 AM


Beginning after WWI and not until the end of the cold war the major world divisions were defined by forms of government, democracy, communism, and nazism.

At the end of the cold war religion began to emerge once more as divisive factor in the world. Even in this country the fundamentalist conservative Christian Right dominates the Republican Party and with the Republican party in full control of the federal government, the Christian Fundamentalists have a strong influence on Middle East policy.

Posted by: Jamal | March 11, 2006 11:17 AM

One thing I have learned in the five years plus of George W. Bush's administration is that no question is ever settled. All questions, facts, events and theories are endlessly debated irrespective of how obvious conclusions are regarding the questions.

Take the existence or non-existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Has George W. Bush--or any of his diehard supporters--ever owned up to the obvious conclusion that Sadaam really was nowhere near to having a WMD capability. I could forgive Bush wanting to go to war with Iraq because he actually believed WMD were there and in an operational state.

But Bush never--ever!--comes right out and says that he was simply wrong and acted on good faith about his belief that Sadam had operationa WMD. Instead, he hems, haws, conflates and inflates and ends up giving off vague,ambiguous hints that maybe the WMD were secretly transported to Syria.

On the question of whether the three mutually incompatible groups presently in Iraq are in a civil war, we see this similar patter of weaving, bobbing about, dispensing "chaff" (which is precisely what the American Generals and the Secretary of Defense are doing in their press conferences) and holding the sole authority for defining what is meant by a "civil war".

Why all of this dissembling? Why all of the denial and fake optimism? It has to do with the reputations of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and all of the gaggle of advisors, ideologues, talk radio hosts, think tanks, and yes, even journalists who talked up this war in the first place and who did precious little of the thoughtful analysis that we used to rely on from the State Department and the Diplomatic corp, who incidntally were urgently trying to get the attention of their top leaders to warn them of the very risks that are afflicting us now.

Thus, when one reads the Weekly Standard or the Washington Times, when one watches Fox News and the cable talk shows, or when one listens to talk radio, one can still hear the insistent rattle of these same old long discredited polemics that were all the rage in the leadup to the war in Iraq. Daily, we are assured that there is no civil war in Iraq, that the media stories are simply exaggerated reporting, that indeed everything is going just swimmingly.

In the words of an old soldier who recently answered all of the pro-Bush propagandists I described above: "Why in the world would I believe them?"

Posted by: Jaxas | March 11, 2006 12:06 PM

on the plantatation
"Dubai is almost the perfect case of ME culture seeking to adopt modern practices in international political and cultural relations; hardly a revolt against civiliation..."

You might want to rethink this idea of worldly commercial Dubai as the antithesis of the reactionary anti- Bin Laden. The Crown Prince of Dubai and OBL were apparently good buddies. The CP and other high UAE officials flew official UAE jets to hunting camps to AFghanistan which they parked the jets outside the camp and then hunted with OBL and others. The US had them in our sights in 1999 but opted not to put a missile into the camp because of the presence of the UAE royals. Its all in the 9-11 report.

Yes, this happened after Somalia, after the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the Khobar towers, and after the US sent a cruise missile after OBL.

Doesn't sound like they represent such opposite viewpoints to me.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | March 11, 2006 12:55 PM

plantation: "Consider the effect if we had held to the original perception in regard to the Dubai Ports deal. It would have been perfectly logical and sensible in that light. Dubai is almost the perfect case of ME culture seeking to adopt modern practices in international political and cultural relations; hardly a revolt against civiliation. Our actions against it may unwittingly have the damaging effect of weakening its defenses against a spillover from revolution centered in Iraq."

I agree. I read David Ignatius' column yesterday with some sadness. What really caught my attention is Sulayem's love for real Philadelphia cheese steaks. This could not have been faked.

This is also a true passion of mine. No one, I repeat, no one does cheese steaks or Italian hogies like they do in Philly and in South Jersey. I had a depressing moment similar to his recent experience at Pat's King of Steaks in South Philly, which he found closed upon his arrival. My wife is from South Jersey, and insisted that we vacation at the shore there for many years. The only reason I liked going was Pat's Bayside Market in Sea Isle city. They were tops. The last time we went, it had changed ownership, and the sandwhiches were no better than the crap (i.e., "steak and cheese" and "Italian subs") sold here in DC.

This is too real, and can't be faked. He knows what is best about America and loves it!

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 11, 2006 01:10 PM

They're in a civil war with sectarian violence.

Most sectarians are intolerant of the views of any other sect.

It's ALL religion-based.

The United States is also becoming more like the middle east with its christian right wing lobbyists.

I thought our constitution said that church and state was to be kept separate?

Our christian-based laws are no different than all the views that people in the middle east have.

We're 'nation-building' to create democracy? What a joke! We don't even have a TRUE DEMOCRACY here at home!!!

We might as well plan on spending money over there for 200 more years. It'll probably take that long to achieve what we're apparently trying to do, which was 'plan B', now that no WMD's were found.

Posted by: mm | March 11, 2006 01:31 PM

Patriot 1957 wrote:
". . . OBL and others. The US had them in our sights in 1999 but opted not to put a missile into the camp because of the presence of the UAE royals."


First, as you stated it, it was indeed we who opted not to fire on the camp in 1999. Second, the effect of not incidentally killing UAE royals, and their subsequent utility for our presence in the gulf post-2001, seems in hindsight like pretty good luck or judgment.

There is indeed a broad revolt against modern civilization, presently headed by fundamentalist Islamists, and ironically facilitated by the most modern of western technologies in communications and weaponry; but this is a movement which UAE does not represent at this point.

Perhaps it took the horror of 9/11 to get UAE to their present status in relation the the USA, but their actions (ostensibly a turn-around) are those of a civilized state working in cooperation.

Sharing a dream to destroy modern civilization, and conspiring to act upon it; that's where we draw the line (although it has not been well articulated). It's a broader issue than religion, and, indeed, hatred and anger toward modern civilization has the potential to consolidate chiliast and hateful mentalities from a variety of religions, not just the fundamental Islamists. Makes one wonder about Timothy McVeigh's backing and motives.

Posted by: On the plantation | March 11, 2006 01:37 PM

Hey, quit complaining! Life is good, folks!

The unemployment rate inched up to 4.8 percent from a 4 1/2 year low of 4.7 percent in January. The bump-up in the jobless rate came as people -- feeling better about job prospects -- applied for work in droves. The performance exceeded analysts' expectations.

"Would you like fries with that?"

"The returns counter is over there, maam"

Posted by: | March 11, 2006 02:14 PM

The facts are that the UAE was blood friendly with OBL years after he murdured Americans and promised to visit mayhem on us. Why? I suspect they enjoyed secretly sticking it to the US, and slipping OBL money on the side to poke a stick at us every now and them seemed not so bad.

Now, as you say, "perhaps" the horror of 9-11 "ostensibly" turned them around.

Except for the nuclear shipments that went through Dubai ports in 2002 and 2003, ostensibly known by US authorities and receiving shrugged shoulders from Dubain authorities.

I agree with you that Dubai and OBL probably have different long term goals, and those goals involve the role of modernism and capitalism. But the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I'm sure they believe they can use OBL to keep US imperialism in check, and then cut off his funds and control him. And maybe they are right.

In the mean time we can choose to do business with more trustworthy partners.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | March 11, 2006 02:21 PM

some say tomato, some say tomahto ...

Foreigners are at risk when traveling anywhere outside the Green Zone.

Bombings, gunfights, kidnappings are profligate.

Basic services are very limited. Violence prevents infrastructure from being built, prevents commerce from flowing.

It seems pointless to quibble about what label to apply to the Iraq situation.

Meanwhile stand-up guys like General Pace say things are going "pretty well" in Iraq

- reminds me of that old line -

forget what you see, you going to believe me, or your lying eyes?

what ever type of war it is in Iraq, it certainly is not very civil

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | March 11, 2006 02:25 PM

It reminds me of an old monkeys plaque I used to have...
Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil ...

Posted by: | March 11, 2006 02:29 PM

... and acted out by Dr. Zaius and company in POTA!

Posted by: | March 11, 2006 02:38 PM

Posted by: | March 11, 2006 02:44 PM

Bush said Feb. 28. "Our duty is to protect America, and we will protect America."

Earth to Bush: You're making things WORSE, bubba. Start acting like a president for once.

Posted by: | March 11, 2006 02:57 PM

Get your stinking paws off my ports you damn dirty A.....

Posted by: Brighteyes | March 11, 2006 03:01 PM

I received an email from my good friends in the Tennessee Republican think tank "Red State Update". After a briefing form the Bush Administration they were kind enough to explain in a video link why the term civil war does not apply to Iraq.

Posted by: Jamal | March 11, 2006 04:18 PM

why are you making it a topic?

we're over there because a group of men in the United States decided it would be good business to do it...

it's got noting to do with democracy...

why are you even making it a topic as if it makes a difference to Americans....

what makes a difference to the world is that we're pretending to be the good guys while we take over other countries and don't even give American troops a choice of whether or not they want to fight a lie...

I mean come on, there are no people from the families of Congress in this intervention no matter how much they profess to believe in the need of it....

why does it take such courage to stand up and say that your leaders are taking advantage of you?

are such cowards?

show me the need....

if you want to practice real journalism then cover this story...

the presidents cabinet has perpetrated a lie on the American peoples.....where's you real patriotism...hiding under a sack? have the job of reporting, and you need me to tell you the truth...

ah, to be young and afraid...cheer up, one day, you'll do something that will set you apart until then,

why don't you ask me if we'll know "when there's a civil war," as if that were a pithy question....really showing them what you're made of.

Posted by: I really don't care if there is or isn't a civil war.... | March 11, 2006 11:11 PM

should the president, his father, dick cheyney, donald rumsfield and these people be indicted for perpetuating fraud upon the American people and involving them in foreign intervention to take America hostage for their own personal interests and agenda without allowing

Americans to vote on it?


should this group of people:

Elliott Abrams
Gary Bauer
William J. Bennett
Jeb Bush
Dick Cheney
Eliot A. Cohen
Midge Decter
Paula Dobriansky
Steve Forbes
Aaron Friedberg
Francis Fukuyama
Frank Gaffney
Fred C. Ikle
Donald Kagan
Zalmay Khalilzad
I. Lewis Libby
Norman Podhoretz
Dan Quayle
Peter W. Rodman
Stephen P. Rosen
Henry S. Rowen
Donald Rumsfeld
Vin Weber
George Weigel
Paul Wolfowitz

who've signed off on the statement of principles to PNAC, to involve us in a perpetual war of ensuring that they and theirs have what they want out of life without asking the American people what they want....

be indicted for "war" crimes, and conpiracy

Posted by: why don't you have this topic...oh brave ones.... | March 11, 2006 11:21 PM

You forgot to mention William Kristol.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 12:37 AM

The Honorable William J. Clinton
President of the United States
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War. In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power. We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.

The policy of "containment" of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq's chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam's secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.

Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.

Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.

We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.


Elliott Abrams
Richard L. Armitage
William J. Bennett
Jeffrey Bergner
John Bolton
Paula Dobriansky
Francis Fukuyama
Robert Kagan
Zalmay Khalilzad
William Kristol
Richard Perle
Peter W. Rodman
Donald Rumsfeld
William Schneider, Jr.
Vin Weber
Paul Wolfowitz
R. James Woolsey
Robert B. Zoellick

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 12:41 AM

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 12:43 AM

War crimes, multi-named guy? It is true that the PNAC principles were not pursued in a particularly competent way. They were, however, a novel attempt to project US influence in areas deemed to be of strategic interest.

It is hard to argue with someone using hindsight reasoning, especially when considering the probabilities of succeeding depended on so many variables. That the war was plagued with many big mistakes that contributed greatly to the present demise, and some of the people on your list will be remembered for those.

However, compared with no-fly zones, oil for food, UN resolutions and other measures that did not appear to bother Saddam, the PNAC gamble did seem like a fresh approach worth trying (at least to me).

No one wants perpetual war. Do you honestly think the current situation in Iraq was planned? Remember President Bush jumping out of the airplane and declaring victory? Ha Ha. He thought most of his problems were behind him.

If things do not work out, and it appears to be heading in that direction in a big way, history will judge this experiment as a dismal failure, and radical proactive approaches to addressing issues of problem countries will become part of that ash heap Ronny used to talk about.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 12, 2006 12:45 AM

The PNAC experiment?

If so, here's what I think about that:

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:06 AM

so, it's true then? they just used 911 as an excuse for a war they wanted to have anyway?

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:07 AM

wow, I just heard that Congress must raise the debt limit again. For the fourth time in Bush's presidency.

These Republicans are all about spend, spend, spend, spend.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:09 AM

Yeah, they tried to do it cheaply, and now it is costing dearly.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 12, 2006 01:10 AM

when ever they needed one.

You don't seem to notice that defense is one of the biggest industries around still.

I think the Iraq has very little to do with terrorism or democracy. I think it has a lot to do with oil and control, or in another word.


patriotism, I'd have to say doesn't look like it.

and again, if the president is afraid of terrorist attack why hasn't he or his taken any action to protect us at home.

Posted by: perpetual war in the sense that there would be a military intervention. | March 12, 2006 01:22 AM

No, I believe it was meant to influence the ME political landscape in the long term, so they would be less inclined to support those like the ones who carried out 911. I believe they thought that because Iraq was a relatively soft target, had a strategic geographic position and cultural ties to neighboring countries, and was an enemy of the US, it was a good candidate for democratization. Obviously, a successful transformation would have had helped jump-start similar movements elsewhere in the ME.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 12, 2006 01:23 AM

Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice went before the Senate Appropriations Committee to press for quick passage of the $65 billion spending bill that would continue to fund the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For added firepower, they brought along Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace and Gen. John Abizaid, the general commanding officer all U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:24 AM

do you think going into Iran will be planned? or will it just be a spontaneous event because they've pushed us too far.

How is salting the media with clues that they are terrorizing us not a plan?

come on.

gomer pyle could figure this one out.

Posted by: mr g. | March 12, 2006 01:25 AM

spend, spend, spend like there's no tomorrow.

Hmmm. With these guys in charge, there probably won't be a tomorrow!!

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:25 AM

They've been wanting to get Iran for a long time now. Here's their chance!

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:26 AM

how is killing a couple of hundred thousand Iraqis because you want to control their oil

not a war crime?

what are you drinking?

Posted by: yeah, war crimes. | March 12, 2006 01:27 AM

Bottom line is we weren't attacked by Iraq.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:28 AM

we fell for it hook, line and sinker!

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:29 AM

hey, careful there. whenever this stuff gets mentioned too much, we see a 'terrorist threat' in the works.

That tows us all back into line.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:31 AM

Bush avoided serving in combat purposely.

Yet he has no trouble sending people into combat that had no intention of going into combat either.

What's up with that?

In what shape or form is that okay? You will die because he needs you to, but he can snort coke, drink and drive, draft dodge, cheat in college and get to be president because he's connected and you think that's cool?

How is that alright? Could you get a clearance with his background? How does he even have the nerve to lecture ANYONE about patriotism or serving the country? EH!?

Posted by: I don't think you really get this either. | March 12, 2006 01:32 AM

Yeah, Saddam was a real nice guy. He always had ambitions for WMD, had pursued them and had experimented on his own people with them, and was going to do so again. Now you guys are spouting off about Iran. We probably will not invade or attack them. How's that for a plan.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 12, 2006 01:38 AM

March 19 marks the 3rd anniversary of the war on Iraq.

Mission accomplished!

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:39 AM

supposing we're over there because oil is a scarce resource and we don't want India and China to corner the market and start playing havoc with economies.

well, we've know for the last 50 years it was of a limited supply, when I was a kid they said it would run out by 2010.

what've we done about it?





and when does everything look like a screw?

when all you've done is worked with screw drivers.

ask a cop, you patrol all day long, everyone looks like a criminal when you're off work....same mentality.

Posted by: paradise in a bowling alley. | March 12, 2006 01:41 AM

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 19, Condoleezza Rice was asked whether the Bush administration was planning military action against Syria. She answered, "I don't think the President ever takes any of his options off the table concerning anything to do with military force."

Last time I read the U.S. Constitution, the grave decision to use military force against another country was a matter for Congress to decide -- not an "option" for a President.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:43 AM

We've been here before. President Bush used trumped-up fears (like mushroom clouds over American cities) and frauds (like imaginary "yellowcake" uranium) to fool the American people into attacking Iraq. Now we and the Iraqi people are paying the price.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:44 AM

Regimes facing military embarrassment are notorious for expanding the theater of war--witness Nixon's expansion of the Vietnam war into Cambodia. And the same delusions that got us into Iraq--from imaginary threats of illicit weapons to dreams of welcome from cheering crowds--are being repeated about Iran and Syria.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:45 AM

The Bush administration seems to believe that the President has the power to make war on anybody it chooses without even having to consult with Congress.

Senator Chafee observed to Secretary Rice, "Under the Iraq war resolution, we restricted any military action to Iraq."

Then he asked, "So would you agree that if anything were to occur on Syrian or Iranian soil, you would have to return to Congress to get that authorization?"

Rice's reply? "Senator, I don't want to try and circumscribe presidential war powers. And I think you'll understand fully that the President retains those powers in the war on terrorism and in the war on Iraq."

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:48 AM

with 9 Billion in cash.

And April Gillespie invited him to invade Kuwait while George H.W. Bush was serving. You conveniently forgot to mention that.

You also forgot to mention that we put Saddam into stasis, with operatives, spy satellites and on the ground reconnaisance, as well as embargoes....we picked him when he was ripe, and he got paid 9 Billion for complicity. dunce.

tell the truth when you post, if you've done any military work, you know,


that's a friggin fact, there's no way we wouldn't...

anyone saying we didn't know is a liar, even the word is meant to trigger alarms.

Weapons of Mass Destruction.

What a joke.

Posted by: yeah, and saddam also escaped under full military view. | March 12, 2006 01:48 AM

against the kurds, that was the most hateful thing...mustard gas, like in WWI, when it was outlawed...don't exaggerate.

Posted by: saddam used chlorine. | March 12, 2006 01:51 AM

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 12, 2006 01:52 AM

White House Increases Faith-Based Grants.

So much for the separation between church and state.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:52 AM

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:54 AM

You don't think we'll attack Iran?

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:56 AM

salting the media.

you plant a few statements, on a regular basis, whether they've done anything or not and you have "proof" that they're interfering.

and yet we know that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, and that we can conjure up a legitimate reason to be there.

why is that so hard to admit.

we're an occupying, imperialistic, force.

we are controlling and intimidating another country because that's what a few people, your president, his father, cheyney, rumsfield and their cabal, want to do....for themselves and their, theirs not yours, yours can rot, along with the couple of hundred thousand Iraqis.

there is no permission being asked of the citizens, they used a fraudulent ruse, a fake terrorist attack.

Posted by: that's what I mean by | March 12, 2006 02:03 AM

Dubya sings Imagine by John Lennon

Video is 2nd one down:

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 02:05 AM

Well, we didn't seem to know what the hell was going on when we were attacked. Some people did, others did not listen. I am ashamed at the level of communication breakdown that led up to an environment allowing the events of 911.

I am a concerned citizen, just like you (I hope). Rather than wish for the administration to fail, which means we all fail, I would like to see some change for the better. Not for Bush's sake, but for our country. The election is not far away, he cannot run, and you can vote for whom you like. Personally, I did not vote for Bush in the primary. But, he got the nomination. So much for that.

I did not vote for Clinton, and I admired him for the great politician he was, and I never hoped he would make some grave error to gloat about. Rather than sit back and criticize, let me hear your bright ideas. For instance, given the present situation, what should we do to stem civil war in Iraq?

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 12, 2006 02:10 AM

I think our presence there is making things worse. How else can it be going on for almost 3 years now.

Posted by: mm | March 12, 2006 02:13 AM

this is just my opinion. by the way, that video was interesting.

I don't want bush to fail. I just don't like all the lies from this administration.

I also dread this year with voting coming up in november because it will be all mud slinging again, and we won't get the truth on anything because whoever is running will be afraid to alienate their base. they will just tell us what they think we want to hear.

bush did that, and what a joke that turned out to be.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 02:16 AM

There is only one solution for Iraq. We pull out now before we go totally bankrupt, and have even more casualties and life-long injuries.

3 years is long enough.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 02:18 AM

What difference does it make? If we pull out of Iraq, we'll just get sucked into Iran. Bush is determined to be a 'war president' so he can keep all his wartime powers without having to consult with congress. For example, the spy program.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 02:20 AM

Tactical nuclear weapons! Wayne Madsen, give me a few more sources.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 12, 2006 02:22 AM

how come that video shows Rumsfield shaking hands with Saddam? What's that all about?

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 02:25 AM

Hey folks, now that the war in Iraq is quite unpopular, get ready to hear about how nasty Saddam really was!!

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 02:29 AM

I'm ashamed that our country has killed nearly 200,000 innocent people. What did we lose? 3000?

Are we even yet?

Posted by: mm | March 12, 2006 02:34 AM

Here's an interesting petition that I've never seen before:

Posted by: mm | March 12, 2006 02:42 AM

As the old saying goes, "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!" Congress and the American people allowed President Bush to fool us into war with Iraq. Shame on us if we allow him to do it again in Syria, Iran, or anywhere else!

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 02:43 AM

To the previous poster about this years election, I have a remedy for that.

Forcibly take over the television studios and radio stations. Eliminate all broadcasting except for C-SPAN.

Force these complacent lazy Americans to pay attention to what is REALLY happening.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 02:46 AM

Not to split hairs, but the 200,000 Iraqi civilian death number thrown around here appears grossly exaggerated. This liberal site: posts, at most, 37.5k.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 12, 2006 02:47 AM

Ms Messner,

How would you feel about letting us debate how to get through this years election without stocking up on a case of advil?

We really do NOT care about 2008 right now. We DO care about the 2006 elections, though.

I was glad when the last one was over with. I guess 2 years goes by pretty fast.

Every time any politician says anything, the opposite party, like clockwork, always says, "oh, what do you expect them to say? it's election year!"

No wonder americans are mistrustful of the whole thing!

To add insult to injury, now most of us do not even trust the electronic voting machines! We're really concerned that 'not having a paper trail' is NOT the way to go!

Posted by: js | March 12, 2006 02:54 AM

Johnnyg, the numbers are always estimated by government officials. We're still being kept in the dark about the true number of people who died in Katrina.

I think if the truth were known, you'd see an angry bunch of people get even angrier.

Posted by: mm | March 12, 2006 02:57 AM

I can't believe I'm still up responding to this hysteria. You guys must live on the West coast. Good night. I love you all.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 12, 2006 03:05 AM

Hey Johnnyg,

Midwest, not west coast.

It's my double expresso mocha.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 03:09 AM

March 10. 2006 -- Cui bono from Dubai Ports World's renegotiated U.S. port management deal? A number of observers suspect that the deal worked out for Dubai Ports World to transfer operations of U.S. ports to a U.S. firm involves Bush family business dealings. The drawings of the late artist Mark Lombardi point out some interesting relationships between the Bush family, the Bin Ladens, BCCI entities, and Dubai. Lombardi died from a reported hanging suicide in 2000 but his "Global Networks" drawings illustrating the relationships between Texas financial networks and Middle East businessmen and government figures have garnered the past interest of the FBI and Homeland Security Department.

One of Lombardi's drawings, titled "George W. Bush, Harken Energy and Jackson Stephens, c. 1979-90, 5th Version, © 1999," shows a link between UBME Bank Dubai and Bush Harken Energy investor Sheik Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), SA (Luxembourg), Harken and BCCI investor Gaith Pharaon, the late Sheik Salim Bin Laden (the older brother of Osama Bin Laden who died in a 1988 plane crash in Texas), Main Bank Houston, James Bath, George W. Bush, and George H. W. Bush.

UBME Bank is now known as Emirates Bank International, the largest bank in Dubai.

Another Lombardi drawing, titled BCCI, ICIC & FAB, c. 1972-91, Second version, shows a connection between Ghaith Pharaon and his brother Wabel Pharaon and BCCI's Cayman Islands entity called ICIC. BCCI was an international slush fund used by Vice President George H. W. Bush to funnel money to various U.S. clients, including the Afghan mujaheddin, Sadaam Hussein, Gen. Manuel Noriega, Nigerian dictator Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, President Vinicio Cerezo in Guatemala, Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, Gen. Hussain Mohammed Ershad in Bangladesh, and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in India. There is also a connection to UBS Bank in Switzerland where the Bush crime family reportedly has stored the billions of dollars in gold and jewels extorted from Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in return for safe haven in the United States. The U.S. envoy who worked out that deal was Paul Wolfowitz, the then-Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and now World Bank President.

One name of interest on the Lombardi chart is the late General George Olmsted, an Army G-2 in China in World War II and purchaser of the International Bank in Washington, DC in 1955, a well known bank with few assets. Olmsted was also rumored to be a top CIA asset and, more interestingly to international shipping, a prime mover, along with Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, of the 1948 creation of International Registries, Inc. (IRI). After Stettinius died in 1950, ownership of IRI passed to Olmsted's International Bank at 1701 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington. After problems with the Liberian government, IRI and Liberia severed relations on Jan. 1, 2000. IRI's shipping operations had previously been shifted to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, a former U.S. trusteeship that gained independence. Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry, is a contrivance that has masked thousands of questionable shipping and intelligence operations, banks, and corporations, including corporations involving arms smuggler Viktor Bout and Pat Robertson, through the International Trust Company in Monrovia.

In 1976, when George H. W. Bush was CIA Director, IRI/Liberian Services moved its headquarters to Reston, Virginia. IRI also maintains offices in New York; London; Pireaus, Greece; Hong Kong; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Singapore; Shanghai; and Tokyo. The entity has long been rumored to be a CIA front, having registered ships owned by Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos and brokering deals involving George H. W. Bush's Zapata Off-Shore. All of Zapata Off-Shore's Securities and exchange Commission filings between 1960 and 1966 have been destroyed.

The Carlyle Group, the corporate entity that replaced the Bush-influenced entities such as BCCI and savings and loan banks of the 1980s and the Enron slush fund of the 1990s, is rumored to have a major stake in Dubai Ports World outsourcing of port operations in the United States. Halliburton is also rumored to be a top contender to take over port operations from Dubai Ports World. George H. W. Bush has old business ties to Dresser Industries, which is now owned by Halliburton/Kellogg, Brown & Root.

Posted by: che | March 12, 2006 06:15 AM

"Sectarian violence" or "civil war" is a useless excercise in splitting hairs over semantics. Some preferred to call the Korean conflict a "police action" instead of a "war." Whatever you want to label it, our troops are in the middle of it. This is beyond the scope of a military resolution. It can only be resolved politically and are presence is toxic to the political environment.

We need to do three things:

1) Redeploy the troops so the conflict in Iraq won't be exported but get withdraw our forces from the middle of it.

2) Seal the borders to foreign fighters won't be going in.

3) Renounce any claim for permanent bases in Iraq. Thus signaling that we do not have any imperial designs on their country.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | March 12, 2006 06:26 AM

I'm including Desert Storm.

you forget we invited Saddam to attack Kuwiat and then "punished him" so that we could move into pre-occupation position by establishing a larger military presence in Saudia, Kuwiat, and Turkey...

I believe they estimate the death toll from that incursion at well over 200,000 alone.

I have no idea how many died within the last incursion. I won't dispute the 37,500, but that is still more than ten times the number reported to have disappeared during our 9/11 situation.

What's really weird to me is that Katrina is the most unAmerican response that I've ever seen to an American situation.

The tone has changed in the United States like,

having a president that is incompetent, a liar as a way of being, and untrustworthy is alright.

With che's last posting, and some of mine you can see that there is very definitely family business being passed off as United States business and yet some of you continue to pound out garbage in defense of the bush and bin laden family as if they represented you all.

It's quite clear they don't and never have.

So what's in it for you to avoid understanding that this is a family, one of several working together, on the take using a United States resources and military as if it belonged to the bushes singly.

You see this in the thoughtless deployment of the National Guard. Sending soldiers into combat that signed up for stateside duty without a twinge of

"they're not family, they're part of my chess set...they're not real.

I think the posting from the good American family regarding their sons deployment as a medic, whilst selling him something quite different is very normal.

this speaks of an administration that cares for people, only in the sense that an owner cares for it's slaves...

and I see the slaves defending them. pathetic.

Posted by: In the case of Iraqi deaths... | March 12, 2006 11:47 AM

In the New York Times

Hussein Saw Iraqi Unrest as Top Threat

Published: March 12, 2006

"But Saddam Hussein and his small circle of aides had their own ideas of how to fight the war. Convinced that the main danger to his government came from within, Mr. Hussein had sought to keep Iraq's bridges intact so he could rush troops south if the Shiites got out of line."

The low level (civil war) sectarian strife in Iraq has been going for many years. Sadam and his Sunnis were just short term winners in an old conflict (civil war). And now it's our conflict (civil war). Putting my opinion out there again, is Iraq better off split into two or three separate countries or continue a long term United States occupation? If we pull out we run the risk of losing all of the country to anti-American extremist. If the down-slide continues, should a referendum be held by the Iraq people on splitting the country? Perhaps then two out three would be friendly to the United States verses losing all.

Posted by: Jamal | March 12, 2006 12:42 PM

Posted by: Jamal | March 12, 2006 12:43 PM

So why does the united states have to go down to their (supposed enemies) level?

Our administration reminds me of a bunch of small children playing their 'war games'.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 12:50 PM

Hey...don't embarass...

Bush, Rummy, Rice, Cheney

Do you want another Terror Threat?

This whole crew gets weird on us when cornered,

and when the americans don't like their war games

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 12:54 PM

"The violence keeps getting worse," the morgue director said on Feb. 28, where he said he had fled recently for his own safety after he said he was under pressure to not report deaths in Iraq.

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:28 PM

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 01:39 PM

and his father and about 12 other people?

democracy would be borne...

if we sold their properties, things would be more or less over for the power over mindset...

it's called ringing the bell of freedom.

Posted by: do you know how much the system would change if we arrested not impeached bush? | March 12, 2006 09:47 PM

What Osama wants, he gets. Seems he wanted an open-ended political field in Iraq, where possibilities abound, possibilities favorable to his concept of Islamic rule. How does he remove a dictator? Invite a powerful force with short attention span do the dirty job of toppling the dictator. Then comes the great field with possibilities for change. What Iran could not do in some eight years of fighting against the Dictator, the U.S. did in some eight weeks.

The question now is, what does Osama want next?

Posted by: PAP | March 12, 2006 09:49 PM

drop about 150 million free satellite disc and cheap television sets...

get China to donate them, with instructions for installation in Arabic...

start with "Father Knows Best," "The Real McCoys," "My Favorite Martian," and "Leave It To Beaver."

pipe in Comedy Central the Daily show and publish the website.

Posted by: do you know how to defeat the unthinking muslim mindset? | March 12, 2006 09:50 PM

that's very noble but seems to fly in the face of evidence and smell s distinctly like a

redirection from the right...

an interpretation that says we're the victim of a military occupation that we started planning 30 years ago..

you're either stupid or you don't pay attention,

which is it?

Posted by: you attribute to the pawn of power the direction of force? | March 12, 2006 09:55 PM

you'd have to ask the CIA what Osama wanted next.

if you want some inside information about the bad guys in this movie,

check out "Lords of War."

just kidding, there are no bad guys, just people stuck in tribal mentalities as a way of addressing the world....

my tribe versus your tribe, scarce resources...

no one really wants to sit down and be fair.

from an engineering perspective, this whole schlemeel is sloppeeeeeeeeee.


Posted by: or more to the point... | March 12, 2006 10:12 PM

"drop about 150 million free satellite disc and cheap television sets...
get China to donate them, with instructions for installation in Arabic...
start with "Father Knows Best," "The Real McCoys," "My Favorite Martian," and "Leave It To Beaver."
pipe in Comedy Central the Daily show and publish the website."

Don't forget the cheese steaks!

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 12, 2006 10:50 PM

Yep. Gotta love those conservatives!

Posted by: | March 12, 2006 11:22 PM

Emily says after a week of debate the
question of when the situation in Iraq
becomes a civil war hasn't been answered yet. Does she think all these mostly partisans who comment to her columns are
capable of such momentous issues? Who in
thie world would be capable of this? I
think until our military forces are over-
whelmed or the "on the fence Muslims"
decide to take up arms and rise up against
the Jihadists Killers, no one will have any idea. In the meantime, this futile effort to "win hearts and minds and bring
about democracy" is costing too many lives.
It's no wonder there are so many opinions
and there is so much confusion about why
we are there in the first place. So far,
I haven't heard a good enough explanation or any definite plan as to what we are going to do now. What has really been accomplished there? I find it hard to believe nobody in Iraq knows where these
insurgents are.

Posted by: RedRose | March 12, 2006 11:30 PM

Red Rose says, "win hearts and minds and bring about democracy"

That wasn't the reason we supposedly went to war.

I don't think it's a partisan issue anymore. I'm a republican and I'm very angry at being lied to.

Posted by: | March 13, 2006 12:32 AM

Lap Dogs Of The Press
By Helen Thomas
The Nation


Posted by: che [cropped by Emily] | March 13, 2006 04:42 AM

I didn't say winning the hearts and minds to bring about democracy was the original reason we went to war. It has changed to that today. They never talk about WMD anymore, but at the present time it's about bringing democracy. I too am very angry at this mess we are in, the inability of the President to communicate, and the reason for going to war that kept
changing. Plus, the fact that we are treated as if we don't need to know
anything and are just supposed to "trust
me" on everything. I am a very unhappy
and disillusioned Republican where this
administration is concerned.

Posted by: RedRose | March 13, 2006 07:47 AM

This past weekend I had the opportunity to glimpse at the FIRST INTERGALLACTIC COMPEDIUM OF SENTIENT BEINGS.

Under the entry for Planet Earth I found the following entry: Earth. Gaia. Humanoids. Delusional, paranoid, criminally insane, strong ego maniacal tendencies, warmongering species strongly bonded to pain and suffering, capable of very brief moments of clarity.

Race must evolve to the next plane of being and consciousness or face self annihilation.

Posted by: Julio | March 13, 2006 09:22 AM


Posted by: Julio | March 13, 2006 09:25 AM

the White House is once again in campaign mode on Iraq.

God help us all!!

Posted by: mm | March 13, 2006 09:36 AM


There is little winning of any hearts in Iraq today for democracy or otherwise. The main reason today for Bush's occupation is to keep forces unfriendly to the United States from controlling the country. Pulling out now runs a great risk of Iran and/or Syria and/or terrorists taking control. Simply stated we are in Iraq to prevent a full blown civil war under outside influence by opposing powers all of whom are unfriendly toward the United States as opposed to the low level civil war taking place now. Look at the Iraq's new Constitution; I would not call it democratically oriented. So to answer the question; are we there for democracy, the answer is no, we are there for a pro-American government.

Posted by: Jamal | March 13, 2006 10:13 AM

We better define pretty fast. We have 100 thousand illegal aliens marching in chicago and the governor supports them breaking Federal immigration laws. So does their elected rep Guituirez. We can be looking at a civil war here if we allow 12 million illegal aliens tell us what OUR laws are here.

The second amendment follows the first amendment for a reason.

Posted by: virgin12 | March 13, 2006 11:06 AM

We better define pretty fast. We have 100 thousand illegal aliens marching in chicago and the governor supports them breaking Federal immigration laws. So does their elected rep Guituirez. We can be looking at a civil war here if we allow 12 million illegal aliens tell us what OUR laws are here.

The second amendment follows the first amendment for a reason.

Posted by: virgin12 | March 13, 2006 11:07 AM

The U.S. presence in Iraq is making things worse but we can't leave because we have to babysit now. They can't take care of their own. Also, it would bruise Bush's ego if we just left. His reputation is riding on this. It doesn't matter how many lives are lost or soldiers wounded and killed. He's more concerned about his global image than how his own citizens view him. How pathetic can you get?

Posted by: | March 13, 2006 11:14 AM

Please remember to thank Democratic senators Sarbanes and Mikulski for blocking the appointment of the Serial Shoplifter, Claude Allen to a lifetime Appeals Court Judgeship! Yep, Bush wanted him to be a judge!

Imagine what would have happened if this shoplifting radical religious Bush-lover was on the federal bench when he did his shoplifting- would Bush have covered it up?

This whole republican administration is so incompetent that it's embarrassing!

Posted by: | March 13, 2006 11:26 AM

The United States hopes to find a way to increase donations to the Palestinians after Hamas' election victory, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday.

Honestly! The U.S. has a huge deficit. We're in debt up to our eyeballs and they want to spend MORE????

Posted by: | March 13, 2006 11:54 AM

Well put, Molly! Rumsfeld's performance IS quite reminiscent of all the times the military in Vietnam blamed the media for reporting "bad news'" when there was nothing else to report. A briefing officer once memorably asked the press, "Whose side are you on?" The answer is what it's always been: We root for America, but our job is to report as accurately as we can what the situation is.

Could I suggest something kind of grown-up? Despite Rumsfeld's rationalizing, we are in a deep pile of poop here:

Posted by: | March 13, 2006 12:13 PM

During the early 1970s the American Press emerged as the global leader in integrity. Press corps from around the world stood in awe of the fact that the American Press held its Government and President accountable for their actions.

Between CBS News' airing of what is now referred to as "The Pentagon Papers", and the investigative reporting by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post, exposing the Watergate Scandal, the world became aware of the power of "Freedom of the Press". It was the press corps that held the government accountable.

Journalism was more than a vocation, it was a calling.

How did a press corps that used to hold presidents accountable get Bushwhacked? Today the American Press has become the laughing stock of the world. No longer are they looked at with the respect their predecessors worked so hard to earn.

Unfortunately today a mask has been placed over the face of the American journalists, and a filter has been applied to their voice.

How is it that in a world with thousands of stories to be reported during any given moment, the same stories are reported by virtually every mass media outlet?

Regarding television media, not only are the same stories reported, but they are reported in the same sequence! How is this mathematically possible? The odds of this occurring once between 2 television news "entertainment" networks is astronomical, yet it happens among virtually all of the hundreds of local and national television news "entertainment" programs every single day.

The face of the news has changed. Today's TV News "Entertainment" personalities are just that, personalities.

The result of this is that few Americans have any idea of what is truly going on, and the circumstances in which 2,307 of their countrymen have lost their lives in Iraq, the hideous injuries suffered by both Iraqi and American victims of suicide bombers, or even the profound responsibility that lies with Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, etc; for mishandling practically every facet of the occupation.

The mission to explain has been replaced by the mission to avoid appearing 'unpatriotic' if people are against anything this administration does.

Posted by: mm | March 13, 2006 12:56 PM

mm wrote:
"The mission to explain has been replaced by the mission to avoid appearing 'unpatriotic' if people are against anything this administration does."

The actual reality is that the mission to explain has been replaced by the mission to make a buck. Therefore, "entertainment" as that is what gets the most eyeballs. PBS Lehrer Newhour is the last domestic bastion of "News" as we used to think of it. "ITN" used to be the best international news; can't get it any more in these parts.

In some areas, free enterprize can have a real public downside.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 13, 2006 01:43 PM

"The mission to explain has been replaced by the mission to avoid appearing 'unpatriotic' if people are against anything this administration does. "

You just defined fascism, or at least one of its tenets

Posted by: patriot 1957 | March 13, 2006 03:29 PM

Bush said in a speech today that Iran had supplied IED components to Iraqi groups, but U.S. officials have presented no evidence to support that, nor did Bush explain why Shiite Muslim Iran would aid Iraq's Sunni-dominated insurgency.

Get ready for a war with Iran, folks. This is the build up to it.

Posted by: | March 13, 2006 06:51 PM

Iran supplying our enemies with WMD! Shocking!

Its deja vu all over again!

If "believe what I tell you, not what you see with your lying eyes" works again, I'm going to seriously have to think about emigration to Canada. I just got an email from a headhunter about a job in Toronto.

Posted by: | March 13, 2006 08:31 PM

Posted by:?

"Bush said in a speech today that Iran had supplied IED components to Iraqi groups, but U.S. officials have presented no evidence to support that, nor did Bush explain why Shiite Muslim Iran would aid Iraq's Sunni-dominated insurgency.

Get ready for a war with Iran, folks. This is the build up to it."

The Shiite Iranians have always supported the Shiite Iraqis, why would they supply IED's to Sunni who use them to kill more Shiite than American Troops? Maybe I don't have access to the intelligence Bush has, but it would be more logical for Syria to supply the Sunni. But wait!!!!! Syria doesn't have huge oil reserves and Iran does!

Posted by: Jamal | March 13, 2006 08:54 PM

Yes, Jamal, you are right as to why we are there. Bringing about democracy is what Pres Bush keeps talking about and wants us to believe. Having Iraq friendly to the US
would have made a nice chunk of land there
between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Iraq, Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE
and all that oil. Everybody pretending to be allies so we get oil and they demand
whatever they want and we submit. Even
Britain supplies Saudia Arabia with
military equipment and receives oil in return. Now everything I hear leads me to believe we are preparing for war with Iran.
I just heard on the news that Dubai is
saying they have no plans to turn over operations of the ports. How true that is
I don't know, but I never really thought they would since they own so much in America already. It's a terrible feeling
to have, that your government is failing
you. With all the destruction from Katrina and Rita and the latest from all the recent
tornadoes in the past few days, one would
think our country would do everything
they can to provide help to these people.What a botched up state of affairs
we find ourselves in.

Posted by: RedRose | March 13, 2006 08:56 PM

Look at the billions spent there. It's like flushing money down a toilet. Our country is having natural disasters and we can't even help the people who are hurt by them! Now the congress is trying to pass some type of a tax-free 'disaster savings accounts' in case people are in a flood, tornado, so other natural disaster.

If they truly want a 'ownership' society, maybe I should consider asking the U.S. government for a refund on ALL the taxes I've paid for the last 40 years.

Posted by: | March 13, 2006 09:05 PM

Good one! Reminds me of this Bush quote:
"It's your money. You paid for it."--

Posted by: | March 13, 2006 09:08 PM

Yes, what a mess! You can't get a straight answer from anyone in the government because they're all protecting their own special interests!

Posted by: js | March 13, 2006 09:10 PM

If "believe what I tell you, not what you see with your lying eyes" works again, I'm going to seriously have to think about emigration to Canada. I just got an email from a headhunter about a job in Toronto

I'll buy you a bus ticket, dude. Of course you'll never do it...much to cushy in the States

Posted by: | March 14, 2006 12:09 PM

Bush talking about terrorism,

similar to Nero fiddlin while Rome burns...

cheers and it sounds like you need a bus ticket to being involved in life.

Posted by: I guess you could compare... | March 15, 2006 03:51 PM

Reuters (BREAKING): US says launches biggest air assault in Iraq
The U.S. military said on Thursday it had launched its biggest air offensive in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. A military statement said the operation involving more than 50 aircraft and 1,500 Iraqi and U.S. troops ... near the town of Samarra ...
03/16/06 Union-Tribune: Iraqi parents of slain man denied visas into U.S.
The Iraqi parents of Firas Eiso, 23, who was killed March 1 in a liquor store robbery, have been denied visas to enter the US ... Barka [a local congressman] said he called the consul general in Jordan and pleaded with him to grant the visas ...
03/16/06 Reuters: Violence in Mosul
Four college students were shot dead by gunmen in Mosul 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad ... One civilian was killed and two were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. patrol in Mosul, police said.
03/16/06 Al Jazeera: Iraqis escape ruined country
Three years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, [emigration is] becoming increasingly common. Tens of thousands of mostly young Iraqi professionals ... have left in search of security and stability abroad.
03/16/06 Reuters: Gunmen attack US checkpoint in Ramadi
Three civilians were killed and six wounded when gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by U.S. and Iraqi army personnel near Ramadi 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, police said.
03/16/06 Reuters: Translator shot dead in Baiji
A translator working for the U.S. military and his son were killed and four members of his family wounded when gunmen attacked their house in Baiji 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
03/16/06 IRIN: Sectarian violence leads to displacement in capital
Dozens of families in the capital, Baghdad, have been displaced from their neighbourhoods due to the sectarian violence that has come in the wake of the Samarra shrine bombing in February and subsequent attacks.
03/16/06 Reuters: Bomb hits Iraqi army chief's convoy, three wounded
A roadside bomb hit a convoy of cars used by the chief of staff of the Iraqi armed forces south of Kirkuk on Thursday, but General Babakir Zebari was not present, police said. The attack ... wounded three bodyguards ...
03/16/06 MNF-Iraq: Detainee dies at Abu Ghraib
A 24-year-old male security detainee died the afternoon of March 15 of apparent natural causes at Abu Ghraib. Detainee was found unconscious, and the medical staff immediately began CPR in order to revive the detainee.
03/16/06 Pioneer Press: Families connect with soldiers
Want to talk face-to-face to your loved one stationed in Iraq? Then make an appointment with the Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills Area Chamber of Commerce to use its free, video-teleconference system ...
03/16/06 Reuters: Three years after Saddam, new fears haunt Iraqis
Three years after U.S. forces invaded to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Iraqis have one preoccupation -- staying alive. "Every day I feel like I am waiting in a queue for death," said one Baghdad lawyer, too frightened to be named in print.
03/16/06 Reuters: Kurds destroy Halabja memorial in protest
A hospital official said one man was shot dead in the violence, which erupted when a gathering to commemorate the attack turned into a protest over poor local services.
03/16/06 BBC: Abu Ghraib dog use 'lacked rules'
The use of dogs at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq where detainees were abused by US guards was not properly controlled, a former top commander there has said. Col Thomas Pappas told a hearing he regretted not setting "appropriate controls" ...
03/16/06 AP: Iran Ready for Talks With U.S. Over Iraq
A top Iranian official said Thursday that Tehran was ready to begin talks with the United States over Iraq, comments that appeared to mark a major shift in Iranian foreign policy.
03/16/06 Guardian: Iraqi PM offers to step down
Iraq's Shia prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, said today he was willing to withdraw his nomination to stay in the job if this was what his people wanted. He made the comments at a news conference shortly after Iraq's parliament met ...
03/16/06 KUNA: Three school girls slained in Baghdad
a bomb explosion in northeast Baghdad killed three school girls and seriously injured two explosive device went off shortly after noon today killing three school girls and injuring two other kids.
03/16/06 CNN: Another 25 bodies found in Baghdad
Extending an alarming trend of killings in Baghdad, Iraqi Emergency Police said 25 bodies were found throughout the capital Wednesday. According to police, all had been shot and stripped of identification.
03/16/06 AP: Guard, Reserve troops in Iraq hit lowest level
The ranks of National Guard and Reserve troops on active duty for Iraq and the global fight against terror has fallen to just under 118,000, the lowest level since before the U.S. invasion of Iraq three years ago.
03/16/06 SFChron: On patrol with a new army in Fallujah
If you want to know how much longer U.S. troops need to remain in Iraq, talk to the X.O. ..."Five to seven years," he said in English over cigarettes and sugary tea. "No less. In five to seven years, Iraqi army is OK."
03/16/06 KUNA: Three Iraqis wounded in confrontations with security forces
Three Iraq civilians were wounded on Thursday in Halabja, Sulaimaniya, after confrontations broke out between protesters and local security forces.
03/16/06 AP: Firm Failed to Protect U.S. Troops' Water
Halliburton Co. failed to protect the water supply it is paid to purify for U.S. soldiers throughout Iraq, in one instance missing contamination that could have caused "mass sickness or death,'' an internal company report concluded.
03/16/06 post-trib: Crash claims soldier on leave
Jesse Gabbard...came home for a two-week leave Saturday...Three days later -- on a county highway that separates Porter and LaPorte counties and just miles from home -- he died in a car crash.
03/16/06 AP: Baghdad locks down for first parliament session
BAGHDAD Iraq's new parliament was sworn in Thursday with parties still deadlocked over the next government, vehicles banned from Baghdad's streets to prevent car bombings and the country under the shadow of a feared civil war
03/15/06 Newsweek: Ryan P. Shane: 'I Had a Lot to Be Thankful For'
Shot in the lower back trying to rescue a fellow Marine, Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Shane remembers being thrown on a metal table at the field hospital. "That was the coldest I've ever been in my life,"
03/15/06 Newsweek: Matthew Palacios: Picking Up the Little Pieces
Cpl. Matthew Palacios, the wounded Marine who saved his comrades by hurling away a live grenade, is still pulling out the pieces of shrapnel. Usually an eighth of an inch in diameter, the grenade fragments are easier to leave in his body than remove.
03/15/06 Newsweek: Paul Volpe: 'What Did They Sew You Up With?
Marine Pvt. Paul Volpe was "bleeding out," the combat term for bleeding to death. Hit three times--in the arm, calf and thigh--with AK-47 rounds in an ambush, he was barely conscious as a corpsman pumped him with morphine to kill the pain.
03/15/06 Newsweek: 'I'm a Marine. I Had to Go In and Help Them.'
Cpl. Jacob Knospler, his jaw mostly blown away by a grenade, did not wake up for a month...Knospler's brain was so swollen, his face so disfigured, that his mother later told him that she had been able to identify him only by the tattoos on his arm
03/15/06 CENTCOM: MND-B soldier killed by mortar attack
A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed southwest of Baghdad at approximately 6:30 p.m. March 15 by indirect fire.
03/15/06 Reuters: Shi'ite clerics fear cannot prevent civil war
Iraqi Shi'ite religious leaders' restraining influence on militia groups is waning fast and senior clerics fear they are dragging Iraq into civil war, a source close to the clerical authorities said on Wednesday.
03/15/06 San Francisco Chronicle: Ordinary Iraqi families getting ready to fight
Om Hussein ... and her Shiite family are preparing for war. They've stocked up on food. They bought a Kalashnikov rifle and a second car -- so that there is space for all 13 members of their extended family should they need to flee in a hurry.
03/15/06 Editor & Publ: Reuters' Baghdad Chief Cites Growing Dangers In Iraq
As Iraq bureau chief for Reuters, Alastair Macdonald is a long way from New York City. But he appreciates that Reuters today began using its huge sign in Manhattan's Times Square to draw attention to the many journalists who have died in Iraq ...
03/15/06 DoD: National Guard ... and Reserve Mobilized as of March 15, 2006
This week, the Air Force and Navy announced an increase in the number of reservists on active duty ... while the Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard numbers decreased. The net collective result is 1,446 fewer reservists mobilized than last week.
03/15/06 Xinhua: Two U.S. soldiers killed in western Iraq
Two U.S. soldiers were killed on Tuesday in Iraq's volatile western Anbar province, the U.S. military said on Wednesday. "Two soldiers, assigned to the 28th Combat Brigade Team, were killed while conducting operations in Anbar province on March 14
03/15/06 wmtw: Norway, Maine Soldier Dies In Iraq
Another Maine soldier has died in Iraq. Army Sgt. Corey Dan, of Norway, was killed Monday in Iraq....Dan left for his second tour in December on the same day his son was born. He never got to see the boy.
03/15/06 Honolulu Advertiser: Honolulu Marine killed in Iraq
Lance Cpl. Kristen K. (Figueroa) Marino, 20, was born and raised on O'ahu ... Figueroa had his last name legally changed to Marino two months ago, his stepfather said.

Posted by: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED | March 16, 2006 01:29 PM

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