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It's being reported that in a major policy shift Bush has decided not to seek victory over Sunni insurgents. These are the same insurgents that were recently our bitter enemies. In fact, he has entered into a truce with them. That's probably a smart move, but how will it play with the far right? No wonder the White House isn't talking about it.

Meanwhile, as widespread election fraud is being reported, calls for new elections are getting louder. The Guardian says Iraq is disintegrating with power shifting to Islamic fundamentalists.

Let's go below the fold and read about Bush's policy shift and if it comes too late.

There has been a major shift in Bush's objectives according to this analysis by Gareth Porter for the Inter Press Service News Agency that was published last week in several overseas papers:

While U.S. President George W. Bush continued to claim a strategy for "victory" in Iraq in recent speeches, his administration has quietly renounced the goal of defeating the non-al Qaeda Sunni armed organisations there.

The administration is evidently preparing for serious negotiations with the Sunni insurgents, whom it has started referring to as "nationalists", emphasising their opposition to al Qaeda's objectives.

The new policy has thus far gone unnoticed in the media, partly because it has only been articulated by U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and the spokesman for the U.S. command in Baghdad. -snip-

Renouncing victory over the Sunni insurgents therefore undercuts the president's political strategy of portraying his policy as one of "staying the course" and attacking the democrats for "cutting and running".

Until recently, the administration treated the indigenous Sunni insurgents as the main enemy in Iraq, measuring progress primarily in terms of the numbers of insurgents killed and captured, and areas "cleared" of insurgent presence. Administration officials portrayed Sunni insurgents as allies of al Qaeda and referred to them as "anti-Iraqi forces".

One of the first concrete results of this shift was a truce during the recent elections.
Details were provided in yesterday's Washington Times:

American diplomats called it "mission impossible" -- to bend the rules on contact with powerful anti-American Sunni forces in Iraq and negotiate a cease-fire -- all before last week's elections.

    Their orders came from U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. The effort took months and culminated in a day of voting in which Sunni Arabs came out in droves after having boycotted the first parliamentary election a year ago.

    The cease-fire period started Dec. 13 and ended Sunday, spanning Thursday's elections. The period passed with no major attacks on Iraqi civilians.

    The effort by U.S. diplomats and military officials also redefined U.S. policy in Iraq -- a potentially seismic shift that President Bush spelled out this month in four major policy speeches that referred to three types of insurgents: "rejectionists," "Saddamists" and terrorists.     U.S. officials continue to talk with the "rejectionists," a category that appears to include the bulk of those who have taken up arms to battle American and Iraqi forces.

    Now that the elections have passed, the United States is continuing the effort, seeking a long-term cease-fire that would drive a wedge between Iraqi Sunnis and terrorist forces, such as those led by Abu Musab Zarqawi and his al Qaeda in Iraq. The terrorist organization seeks to impose a primitive, Taliban-like regime on Iraq and use Iraq as a base from which to topple governments throughout the Middle East and larger Muslim world.-snip-

    "They went something like this," the official said. "We'll stop raiding houses searching for suspects, or we'll remove our checkpoints from certain places, provided you guarantee there will be no shootings or bombings on a certain road or geographic area."

    Later, negotiators worked on a wider form of cease-fire, culminating on Oct. 28 in a "big tent" meeting at an undisclosed location, bringing together American and British diplomats and U.S. Army personnel with tribal, political, religious and insurgent figures. -snip-

 The new rules were: "We will not talk to terrorists with blood on their hands." It is a formula that allowed talks with all except those whom U.S. intelligence fingered as killers or who gave orders to kill.

    "It was a very, very liberal interpretation," the U.S. official said. By a process of definitions, years of refusal to talk to insurgents were reversed.

Bush is redefining the enemy. If we can't beat you, we'll join you? Are things looking desperate? 2000 American and 30000+ Iraqi lives ago this might even have worked, but it looks like it might be too late. Here is why: From the Independent, Iraq is disintegrating:
Religious fundamentalists now have the upper hand. The secular and nationalist candidate backed by the US and Britain was humiliatingly defeated.

The Shia religious coalition has won a total victory in Baghdad and the south of Iraq. The Sunni Arab parties who openly or covertly support armed resistance to the US are likely to win large majorities in Sunni provinces. The Kurds have already achieved quasi-independence and their voting reflected that.

The election marks the final shipwreck of American and British hopes of establishing a pro-Western secular democracy in a united Iraq.

Iran will be pleased that the Shia religious parties, which it has supported, have become the strongest political force. -snip-

The election also means a decisive switch from a secular Iraq to a country in which, outside Kurdistan, religious law will be paramount.

Of course it's possible election won't hold up given widespread accusations of fraud by some factions. This despite observers actually reporting no major irregularities. From Reuters:

BAGHDAD, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Sunni Arab and secular political groups in Iraq formed a united front on Wednesday to demand a rerun of last week's election, alleging massive fraud, and said they might otherwise boycott the new parliament to cripple it.
"There was a meeting ... and we all agreed to contest and reject the results of the election," Thaer al-Naqib, an aide to secular former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, told Reuters.
"We want the Electoral Commission dissolved and the election rerun across Iraq," he said. "We will take to the streets if necessary. We might even not take up our seats in the new parliament and so any new government would be illegitimate."

From the Washington Post this morning:

The big losers were secular and nonsectarian parties, such as that led by former interim prime minister Ayad Allawi...

 Shiite religious leaders, bolstered by their strong showing, may not be obliged to heed even reasonable Sunni demands in order to name a president and prime minister. The leading Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, remains determined to establish a nine-province Shiite ministate in southern Iraq; its leader has hinted at escalating a dirty war against the Sunni resistance spearheaded by the party's own death squads. Kurdish leaders appear willing to collaborate in Iraq's de facto partition so they can establish their own ministate in the north.

Some Shiite leaders, including the Supreme Council's likely candidate for prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, appear open to building a broad government coalition including Sunnis, in the hope of defusing the insurgency. Yet the election results mean that such an accord, requiring deep political concessions by all ethnic and sectarian groups, will be possible only through forceful and skilled U.S. intervention. ...

Does all this mean we're going to cut and run?  We have this from IPS:

This does not mean that the White House has decided to give in on a timetable for troop withdrawal, which Bush just publicly rejected once again...

 Nevertheless, the administration's abandonment of the goal of military defeat of the Sunni insurgents and willingness to negotiate with them betrays its "victory" rhetoric.

... Such negotiations would become the new focus of public views of Bush's handling of Iraq. That would in turn increase the pressure on the White House to get the insurgent leaders to come to an agreement. Meanwhile, the insurgents can be expected to insist that no agreement is possible without a timetable for U.S. military withdrawal.

The insurgents can also increase the pressure on Bush by making public their offer, reportedly made by insurgent leaders to Arab League officials in Cairo last month, to deliver al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to the Iraqi authorities as part of a peace agreement involving a U.S. withdrawal timetable.

As more people in the United States, including members of Congress, understand that the Sunni resistance is not the enemy, but is the necessary ally in the elimination of al-Qaeda's "terrorist haven" in Iraq, political support for continued U.S. military presence is likely to shrink even further. Why, it may be asked, should U.S. troops stay in Iraq to fight Sunni armed groups who are willing and able to turn in the real enemy in Iraq?

Thus the softening of the administration's policy toward the insurgents could set in motion a train of events that brings the U.S. occupation to an end much more quickly than now seems possible.

As I see it, this is actually a good move on Bush's part, but then anything that saves some lives is. This could end the war sooner. The question is, can he still pull it off? And will it destroy his image as a tough (if stupid) leader who can admit no wrong?

A shift like this could could have huge implications; we should keep watching for any developments.

Cross posted on My Left Wing

Originally posted to Chris Kulczycki on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:28 AM PST.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4.00)
    Has anyone seen mention of this in the US press, other than in the WT?

    Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
    You can kill one, but another is born.
    The words are written down, the deed, the date.

    Czeslaw Milosz

    by Chris Kulczycki on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:28:25 AM PST

    •  Should Iraq be three countries? (none)
      This has always seemed a valid option, at least to me, but it never gets any traction. Anyone want to throw out and pros or cons?

      Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
      You can kill one, but another is born.
      The words are written down, the deed, the date.

      Czeslaw Milosz

      by Chris Kulczycki on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:03:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stability of three parts. (none)
        Should Iraq be 3 countries, either officially or de facto?  Yeah, that's what will happen, and is the most likely stable political solution.  The Kurds are already effectively thus (and have been since '92), though it's dangerous to give them full official autonomy because of Turkey's repression of the kurds on their side of the border.

        Thanks to Bush's blundering, Iran is now the big dog in the neighborhood, and going more theocratic.  They'll take the Shi'a in Iraq under their wing, resulting in that part of Iraq being anything but a modern secular democracy.  

        And the Sunnis will fight for as much as they can grab from the other two.  They'll have their own rump Baathist republic, again more religious than Iraq was before.

        Once we leave (because we are the glue holding them together - through a combination of force, bribes, and mutual hatred for us), things will devolve into the stability of three parts.  It may not become a full conventional civil war, but there will be plenty of ongoing violence between the Shi'a and the Sunnis at the very least.

        "Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering." - R. Buckminster Fuller -5.88/-5.23

        by Shadan7 on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:21:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If that's inevitable, wouldn't we be better off (none)
          encouraging three stable nations rather than one headed for civil war?

          Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
          You can kill one, but another is born.
          The words are written down, the deed, the date.

          Czeslaw Milosz

          by Chris Kulczycki on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:27:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think it will be more then just onging violence (4.00)
          The Sunnis won't just settle for the section of Iraq that they'll wound up with. It has very little oil and will leave them the poorest of the three, very poor in fact. Most of their major cities are in disarray or have been shattered by US bombardments. With no money coming if from oil to rebuild their infrastructure, they'll be destitute. That's why I think the Sunni will go after the Shi'a dominated south in an all out civil war if given a chance.

          Their biggest obstacle will be Iran backing the Shi'a.

          And that's why I think what we could be seeing here is a crude alliance being formed between Sunni and the US in an effort to combat the growing influence of Iran and the Shi'a theocrats in the south. This could prove to be the real war for Iraq.

          Bush & Co. could be planning, in an effort to prevent an embarrassing take over of the Iraqi oil fields by Shi'a under the influence of Iran, and to combat the ever-growing al Qaeda presence throughout the country, a US-Sunni alliance in hopes the Sunni will dominate Iraq once again.

          From the start, I've always felt the only faction that the likes of the Neo-Con would be able to side with were the Sunni/Baathists. Birds of a feather and all that.

          And let us not forget that there has always been speculation that part of the reason for this war was the threat by Sadam to sell Iraqi oil by Euro instead of US Dollar. The Iranians are trying to do the same thing. What will the Shi'a do with all that oil?

          "We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation." - George W. Bush, July 2, 2003

          by Pescadero Bill on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:09:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Common Bush Tactic (4.00)

     Bush fights tooth and nail against a policy.  Looks like Bush is going to lose.  Bush switches sides, policy goes through, Bush acts like he was behind the policy the whole time.  

     From Texas "education reform", to giving a damn about terrorism as a threat to national security (noting that it took 9.11 to get him to realize that this was something that's somewhat important to think about), to Dept. of Homeland Security, to Senate Torture Bill, to this . . .


    . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:43:59 AM PST

    •  This would make a great diary in itself (4.00)
      You could ask for nominations to the list

      my entry: Firing Brownie

      you could call it When Bush Encounters Reality

      Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

      by nailbender on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:00:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. Just put on up . . . (none)

         . . . on Bush's High Crime.

        But I think you're absolutely correct and would love to see someone do this, all proper-like with links and such.

        Kerry could've and should've walloped Bush for his serial-shifts and I believe would've had no shortage of material to draw from to do a 1-minute thing a la:  "first he was against --, then he was for it; then he was against --, then he was for it; then he was against --, then he was for it; then . . . "



        . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

        by BenGoshi on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:08:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  another turd-around for the list (none)
        9-11 commission

        Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

        by nailbender on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:21:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Department of Homeland Security (none)
        Today's WaPo covers this flip-flop in depth (not that DHS was ever a good idea....)
      •  Daily Show Bush vs. Bush video? (none)
        I think I remember seeing a video that the DS had which took footage of Bush the candidate for Govenor "debating" Bush the candidate for president. I can't seem to find it...but that was damn funny stuff. Defined "Biting Sarcasm".
  •  Thanks for a great piece of work (4.00)
    As to the answer to your last question:  We should be calling this for what it is, a tacit admission that Dean was right; a capitulation, if you will, to reality.  If we frame it thus, Bush can only be seen as stupid, vacillating, and incompetant.  They will dizzy themselves with the spin they have to use to polish this turd-around.

    One comment on one of your lines, Chris: "Of course it's possible election won't hold up given widespread accusations of fraud by some factions. This is despite observers actually reporting major irregularities."  "Despite of?"  Shouldn't that be "This, following observers..."?

    Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

    by nailbender on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:45:17 AM PST

    •  Thanks for catching this. (none)
      I really must wait to finish that second cup of coffee before posting.

      Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
      You can kill one, but another is born.
      The words are written down, the deed, the date.

      Czeslaw Milosz

      by Chris Kulczycki on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:50:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. (none)
      "Despite" is the correct word, because he said that "observers reported no major irregularities."  In other words, the opposite of the Sunni claims of widespread fraud.

      "It's a flawed policy wrapped in an illusion." Rep. John Murtha

      by Political Junkie on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:10:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. (none)
        He fixed it, but in a different direction than I was anticipating, which raises (and begs) the question: "Were there indeed few irregularities reported by independent observers (and how many of those did what agency deploy?  I heard yesterday on NPR that there were thousands, but that may have been from Iraqi citizens.  They don't count as much as foreigners, maybe.

        Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

        by nailbender on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 09:25:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Read that story by Porter (4.00)
    Read that story a few days ago and then saw the release of prisoners before/after the election and thought Hmmm, I too see a pattern.

    Beginning with Murtha's dramatic call for a change in plans (obviously sanctioned by higher ups in the military), there has been a steady stream of evidence that a change in policy is a foot, and is being driven by the military folks (for a change) and not the Cheney "cabal". I even wonder if that is why Cheney made the sudden trip to Iraq (fight back?).

    For what it is worth. IT IS ABOUT TIME. The strategy in Porter's piece is a good one, just about a couple of years too late. Unfortunately it is a delicate strategy, requiring finesse, not brute force (that's why Baby Bush wouldn't use it). But it now seems like the military is standing up to the politicos or starting to go out on their own or the politicos have finally given up and in desperation are asking for some new ideas. Anyway finally a positive development on the path to getting out of the mess that BB started.

    Just because you can doesn't mean you should!

    by taonow on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:58:55 AM PST

  •  Anyone could see this coming (4.00)
    When we refused to kill Muqtada Al-Sadyr, it became very clear to me.

    This is what I like to call "The Cycle of Blowback".

    Our government has a nasty history of fighting foreign "enemies" for a period of time, only to coddle up to them later when we need their help to defeat another "enemy".  On the other end of the spectrum, we often support our "allies" with arms and troops, only later to find out they are plotting against us and then we need our former enemies to fight our former friends.

    Sadaam, The Taliban, The Sunnis.
    It's all in the Cycle of Blowback.
    And anyone with a vague sense of history could have seen this coming.  Watch us have to go after Al-Sadyr and Chalabi within the next couple of years.  Watch it happen.

    •  as for rolling over for the insurgents (none)
      That was obvious when we saw all those busloads of "prisoners" being shipped home spontaneously from Abu Ghraib.  It blew my mind then that this was an obvious appeasement to the pissed off public there (though I bet very few of those prisoners had actually done anything wrong to warrant detention there).

      And then this month the release of more prisoners spontaneously?
      Yeah, we will NEVER give in to the "terrorists".  Sure George.  Sure.

    •  asdf (4.00)
      There was an interesting interview with a US officer based in Sadr City on Channel 4's Dispatches strand a couple of weeks ago: basically, according to this officer, the US military are under explicit orders not to touch Sadr - and there's a very good reason for this.

      It's not that Sadr has become an ally all of a sudden, as he manifestly is not - it's that the US has now realised that it's "fate" hangs in the hands of the religious Shia in Iraq; and that if it makes the mistake of provoking a full spectrum Shia insurgency, which arresting or killing Sadr would certainly do, then the bulk of the US military component stationed in Iraq will simply never come home. That is not a palatable outcome.

      The US has essentially checkmated itself - it has forgotten that it has no friends in Iraq, and is doing the hard work of fighting the Shia's enemies, whilst the Shia hold the sword of Damocles over their heads. This is not a simple case of blowback at all - this is an inversion of the old imperial divide and rule strategy in which the religious Shia have largely stood aside whilst their enemies fight each other, weakening themselves in the process, and who will become desperate, eventually, to accept whatever decent bargain they can get.

  •  Chance for resolution in Iraq? (4.00)

    The Sunnis that we have stupidly made our biggest enemies should have always been our allies. The best situation would have been a Kurdish-Sunni-secular Shiite coalition to balance the Iranian-influenced Shiite religious political movement.

    If the Sunnis will hand over Zarqawi, they will solve a major impediment to US withdrawal- control of the Al Qaeda presence in Iraq. It was under control prior to the US invasion, and it sounds as if the Iraqis would be willing to tamp down on it again if the US will commit to leaving. Secular Arab movements such as Baathists don't have much in common with Al Qaeda other than wanting the US out and I'm not sure about even that. The US presence is an excuse for Al Qaeda, but I think they really want the US to stay in Iraq in a war of attrition against US military and economic power. It makes sense that the Sunnis would like to see Al Qaeda and the need for alliance with them removed.

    The problem is, that we may have pushed Iraq too far down the road to a Shiite Islamic republic through the farce of the constitutional process and then the elections based on it. By failing to take the steps to bring in the Sunnis before all this played out, we have institutionalized the Shiite religious political parties. How do we backtrack? It's still hard to see a way to avoid civil war, partitioning and eventual ethnic cleansing. Maybe if the US can get Zarqawi (maybe see him turned over to an international tribunal that will try him for terrorism, thereby insuring that the Iraqis don't eventually turn him loose, but avoiding the appearance of collaboration with the US if the insurgents turned him over directly to us) and marginalize the Al Qaeda insurgency, reach a truce with the Sunnis and create a framework for introducing economic incentive for a secular government, the masses of the Shiite underclass in Iraq could be drawn away from the Shiite religious political parties and militias. We have definitely made it harder, though. As the diary said, we could have basically done this right after the US invasion and made the whole thing look like victory. Now it will be difficult to avoid the appearance of defeat.

    Pipe dreams are not an exit strategy.

    by TrainWreck on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:57:49 AM PST

    •  asdf (4.00)
      Unfortunately, as the example of the ever expanding list of AQnumber 3's/Zarqawi lieutenants who've been killed or caught demonstrates, getting Zarqawi, if he exists, changes nothing as someone will simply replace him. The dynamics of these situations rarely get resolved by decapitating an arbitrarily inflated individual. The dynamic that is being resisted is twofold: US occupation and a fight for establishing the contours of power within Iraq.

      The Jihadists will not simply disappear like that - and they are desperate for the US to remain in Iraq as it is a fantastic recruiting, fundraising and propaganda bonanza for them. They will certainly do everything in their power to prevent the US from withdrawing - so expect some pretty dramatic spectaculars to unfold in the coming months that will be designed to keep Bush bottled in his rhetorical corner.

      I'd take issue with the characterization of the US pushing Iraq towards a Shia islamist state - the US has been trying to prevent that by bigging up Allawi and co for the past 18 months; the shift towards this has come from within the Iraqi Shia community itself. The whole electoral/constitutional process that has been followed is the one that the Iraqi Shia, led by Sistani, have pushed for since the invasion; Bremer wanted a constitutional convention with hand-picked delegates to write the new constitution - the Iraqi Shia, at Sistani's behest, took to the streets in January 2004 explicitly opposing this and demanding elections to produce an interim parliament that would then draft the document. They won becuase the US military cannot risk its lines of supply and retreat which pass through the religious Shia heartlands. The relatively small-scale Sadrist uprisings of early to mid 2004 resulted in the near collapse of the US logistics chain from Kuwait. A concerted Shia rebellion can collapse the US military in about 90 days.

      •  You misunderstand (none)

        I didn't say that the capture of Zaeqawi would cause the end of Al Qaeda in Iraq. What I said was that "it sounds as if the Iraqis might be willing to tamp down on them if the US is willing to commit to leaving."

        Nor did I say that the US pushed for a Shiite Islamic republic. Obviously, the US would have preferred a secular democracy. Unfortunately, in the haste of the Bush to show "progress" in Iraq by the deadline for writing the draft constitution, we accepted one that was clearly going to create a Shiite Islamic republic, not to mention take away many of the rights that women held even under Hussein.

        You certainly are correct about the threat to the US position from the Shiite south. Your point reiterates the incompetence of the Bush administration in launching the invasion with insufficient forces to control their own supply lines, although I don't think any amount of Shiite rebellion would have collapsed US lines. Regardless, more competent handling of the response to Sunni resentment of the US presence might have avoided the desperation of the situation.

        Pipe dreams are not an exit strategy.

        by TrainWreck on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:06:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well... (4.00)
    Only opinion, mind you ... but first of all, Bush couldn't even pull off in a wet dream ... never mind something like political negotions.

    No, it does not matter what our 'fearless leader' does.  He is screwed.  The only thing the Shias and the Sunnis and Kurds hate more than each other is the US occupation.

    They will make nice for awhile, maybe not now, but eventually ... simply to give Bush his excuse to 'get out'.  Once rid of the Great Satan within their borders, well, Katie bar the door!

    Civil war is already assured, as well as an Iraq (Bush's ME democracy) that is a theocratic state, likely aligned with Iran.  The only think that will keep it in check is the fact that to the south and west of Iraq's borders, the dominant religion is Sunni.

    Hell, if I was drinkin' and smokin' the good stuff, the same stuff Bush must be on, the good ol' DEA boys would be a-knockin'!

  •  Question (4.00)
    Just who the hell are we actually at war with?  I mean, really. Defining our enemy has always seemed vague, and shifting like the sand (and war rationale).

    To call the Commander in Chief detached from reality would be an insult to paranoid schizophrenics everywhere. --billmon

    by vicki on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:58:55 AM PST

    •  Easy (none)

      Now back to the subject of this diary; Isn't Bush flip flopping?

      Now long ago, I was joking with my friend that soon we may hear that 'Saddam escaped in a jail break'. If Ms. Anthrax and Mrs. Germs are out, can the Butcher of Baghdad be far behind?

      Dsiclaimer: The last para is pure conjecture/speculation/tin foil hat and not a fact.

      Mushroom cloud for mushroom crowd.

      by Ruffledfeather on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:13:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Declare Defeat, Go Home (none)
    Next up "reboot the dictator software"
  •  Could this be a pro-Bush Fake News story? (4.00)
    Planted for domestic consumption?

    It flies in the face of the fact that US bombing of Sunni areas is has increased dramatically recently from already high previous levels a year ago

    Large scale bombing is a funny way for Bush to make friends and approach a political settlement to the  Iraq war.

    US increases air attacks in Iraq

    Tuesday 20 December 2005, 12:16 Makka Time, 9:16 GMT  

    The latest figures released by US Central Command show a dramatic rise in the number of air raids carried out in Iraq.

    Although receiving little coverage in the US media, the US air force, navy and marines have flown thousands of missions backing up US ground troops in Iraq this autumn.

    According to figures provided by Central Command Air Force's public affairs office, the monthly number of air missions, including refuelling and other support flights, grew from 1111 in September to 1492 in November 2005.

    You never hear about Iraq air war against Sunnis in the US media (except from Sy Hersh and a few others ignored by the MSM, who said recently that just one Marine air wing dropped over 2 million 500lb bombs [500,000 tons] between 9/03-11/0), but they have been bombing Anabar province and Sunni areas around Bagdad at an increasing tonnage rate that exceeds that in the Vietnam war (7 million tons total over 12 years).

    For these reasons I believe that the diaried story  is likely fake news intended to make the Bush administration appear to restless Americans becoming very angry about Iraq war, to be flexible/realistic and genuinely interested in a peaceful non-military means of ending War and leaving  Iraq. (His actions suggest neither is the case)  

    •  correction (none) Marine air wing dropped over 2 million 500lb bombs [500,000 tons] between 9/03- 11/04... In other words just one air group (out of a total of at least 3 US air groups hitting Iraq) dropped that much ordnance in just one 14 month period.  
  •  Megakudos, Chris (none)
    I have written an extended response to your excellent diary.

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:25:31 AM PST

    •  Your's is the truly excellent diary and everyone (none)
      interested in this topic should read and recommend it.

      Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
      Czeslaw Milosz

      by Chris Kulczycki on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:58:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  with as much traffik as I've got on my diary (none)
        and such good comments, I feel a bit ridiculous, glomming onto Chris' diary like this. Consider my diary an extension of Chris' and cred him, not me. The comments alone warrant a revisit, especially check out Muwarr90, pursewarden and gshenaut's critiques, they all belong to Chris.

        People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

        by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:00:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We don't negotiate with terrorists, (none)
    but we're all about cutting deals with "rejectionists". Damn Karl's political frames, they make every interaction completely inhuman.

    America sucks more than it did before Y2K.. booo.

  •  Another capitulation (none)

    We must oppose this tooth and nail. 2100 of our soldiers didn't die so that Bush could sell out to their murderers to maintain his legacy.

    Instead of admitting that his dream was too grand and too ambitious, he is wheeling and dealing with terrorists to maintain his party's electoral fortunes and his otherwise tattered legacy.

    This negotation with murderers of US soldiers shouldn't be allowed to proceed.

    •  That's how you end wars (none)
      Rare is the war that doesn't end with one side negotiating a peace with the force that "murdered" that side's troops.  Yes, the insurgents have committed atrocities against our soldiers and their own people.  But, alas, they are hardly unique in that regard.  There was a time, two years ago, when the fighting could have ended without negotiating with the insurgency, but that time has long past.

      If the reports are true this may be the first intelligent thing Bush has done in prosecuting this war.  But I'm sure he'll find a way to screw it up, as always.

      George W. Bush -- a president in the grand tradition of Warren Harding and Franklin Pierce!

      by dietznbach on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:06:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This should be no surprise (none)
    Every day we stay now is costing Bushco plenty politically, in spite of loud denials to the contrary. They really want to get out, and don't really care what happens in Iraq, as long as there is some way they can claim success. Transforming a large subgroup of the people who have been blowing up our troops from enemy to potential friend is just par for the course.

    As for the insurgents, they want the same thing--for us to leave--but they don't have a similar need for a PR victory. I'm sure they'll say whatever they have to, as long as it makes us leave.

    An interesting thing to speculate about is, if Bushco creates a carefully balanced Rovian "victory" for us in Iraq, and we pull out, what will the US do if/when it falls apart and a civil war begins? That will be the moment of proof, if it comes, where our genuine motives will be on display.

    Greg Shenaut

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