Bush’s “Victory at Hand” Rhetoric Breeds Doubt in American Power Among Allies and Foes

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Sidney Blumenthal has a powerful piece in Salon today. He strikes out at the “Turning Point” and “Victory” rhetoric that continues to emanate from the White House.
If there were another President in the White House, I think that a rhetoric of defeat, of being stalled, or having made incorrect choices would also be tough. But we passed the point where “Big Lie-ism” was really working long ago. Now, Bush’s failure to speak squarely about the realities in Iraq make America look even weaker and as if the nation simply denies clear realities.
Such reality-denial probably emboldens Iran to push harder — sensing nonsensical weakness rather than clear-eyed, sober realism in the White House. To restore a sense of America’s real abilities among allies and foes, American leaders are going to have to demonstrate that they are making tough choices about our military deployments and resources and to restore credibility to our brand.
So far, Bush’s rhetoric breeds more doubt than confidence, and that is a bad position to be in when negotiating, even informally, with Iran over its nuclear pretensions.
From the Blumenthal article:

Bush has been proclaiming Iraq at a turning point for years. “Turning point” is a frequent and recurring talking point, often taken up by the full chorus of the president (“We’ve reached another great turning point,” Nov. 6, 2003; “A turning point will come in less than two weeks,” June 18, 2004), vice president (“I think about when we look back and get some historical perspective on this period, I’ll believe that the period we were in through 2005 was, in fact, a turning point,” Feb. 7, 2006), secretary of state and secretary of defense, and ringing down the echo chamber.
This latest “turning point” reveals an Iraqi state without a social contract, a government without a center, a prime minister without power and an American president without a strategy. Each sectarian group maintains its own militia. Each leader’s influence rests on these armed bands, separate armies of tens of thousands of men. The militias have infiltrated and taken over key units of the Iraqi army and local police, using them as death squads, protection rackets and deterrent forces against enemies. Reliable statistics are impossible, but knowledgeable reporters estimate there are about 40 assassinations a day in Iraq. Ethnic cleansing is sweeping the country. From Kirkuk in the north to Baghdad in the middle to Basra in the south, Kurds are driving out Turkmen and Arabs, Shiites are killing Sunnis, and the insurgency enjoys near unanimous support among Sunnis. Contrary to Bush’s blanket rhetoric about “terrorists” and constant reference to the insurgency as “the enemy,” “foreign fighters are a small component of the insurgency,” according to Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Patrick Cockburn, one of the most accurate and intrepid journalists in Iraq, wrote last week in the Independent of London that “the overall security situation in Iraq is far worse than it was a year ago. Baghdad and central Iraq, where Shia, Sunni and Kurd are mixed, is in the grip of a civil war fought by assassins and death squads. As in Bosnia in 1992, each community is pulling back into enclaves where it is the overwhelming majority and able to defend itself.”
While Prime Minister Maliki has declared his intention to enforce an unused militia-demobilization decree proclaimed by the now disbanded Coalition Provisional Authority in 2004, he has made no gesture beyond his statement, and no Iraqi leader has volunteered to be the first test case of demobilization. The New York Times Wednesday cited an American official on the absence of action on this front: “‘They need to begin by setting examples,’ an American official in Baghdad said of the Iraqi government. ‘It is just very noticeable to me that they are not making any examples.’ ‘None,’ the official said. ‘Zero.'”
Maliki’s inability to fill the posts of minister of defense and minister of the interior reflects the control of the means of violence by factions and sects unwilling to cede it to a central authority. Inside the new government, ministries are being operated as sectarian fiefdoms. The vacuum at the Defense and Interior ministries represents a state of civil war in which no one can be vested with power above all.
In his speech on Monday referring to another “turning point,” President Bush twice spoke of “victory.” “Victory” is the constant theme he has adopted since last summer, when he hired public opinion specialist Peter Feaver for the National Security Council. Feaver’s research claims that the public will sustain military casualties so long as it is persuaded that they will lead to “victory.” Bush clings to this P.R. formula to explain, at least to himself, the decline of his political fortunes. “Because we’re at war, and war unsettles people,” he said in an interview with NBC News last week. To make sense of the disconcerting war, he imposes his familiar framework of us vs. them, “the enemy” who gets “on your TV screen by killing innocent people” against himself.
In his Monday speech, Bush reverted yet again to citing Sept. 11, 2001, as the ultimate justification for the Iraq war. Defiant in the face of terrorists, he repeated whole paragraphs from his 2004 campaign stump speech. “That’s just the lessons of September the 11th that I refuse to forget,” he said. Stung by the dissent of the former commanders of the U.S. Army in Iraq who have demanded the firing of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Bush reassured the audience that he listens to generals. “I make my mind up based not upon politics or political opinion polls, but based upon what the commanders on the ground tell me is going on,” he said.
Yet currently serving U.S. military commanders have been explicitly telling him for more than two years, and making public their view, that there is no purely military solution in Iraq. For example, Gen. John Abizaid, the U.S. commander, said on April 12, 2004: “There is not a purely U.S. military solution to any of the particular problems that we’re facing here in Iraq today.”

Critics of George Bush, like myself, don’t want to score political points by seeing America struggle in Iraq. If Bush and his advisors had rebuffed critics like Blumenthal and me with clear, unambiguous success — then there would be nothing for us to do but to express our regrets for doubting the brilliance of this Bush presidency.
But that is not the case. Bush has not heeded the warnings and counsel of many and has led the nation into circumstances that are prompting allies to worry about our capabilities and prompting foes to move their national agendas as quickly as possible. Iran did not put us in our current circumstance. Nor did China. Nor did Russia, or Afaghanistan, or Pakistan, or the French.
America’s actions — more than any other nation — have yielded the international environment we find ourselves in today, and we must get real about this — and pull out of the tail-spin Bush has us in.
I will be seeing Blumenthal later today in Florence and many other interesting personalities, including the Department of Justice Chief Investigator of Jim Risen and the New York Times on the warrantless wiretap leak investigation. The conference is entirely off the record but will try to share broad themes later.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

79 comments on “Bush’s “Victory at Hand” Rhetoric Breeds Doubt in American Power Among Allies and Foes

  1. Kathleen says:

    POA,
    I was not suggesting that we are more civilized than Iraqis. Rather, I was pointing out how unrealistic and grossly disingenuous it is to expect a country to form a stable, workable, representative gov’t, overnight, in the midst of a war, with invaders all around and candidates paid by the US to run for office. If our real purpose was to bring Democracy to Iraq, there should have been a cease fire and Iraq should take as long as they need to create their own gov’t, and not be expected to jump through hoops because our Demander In Chief is snapping his fingers so he can keep to some artificial timetable. Before the general”election” in Iraq last Dec. the provisional Iraqi gov’t and the Constitutional Drafting Committee begged for greater involvement by the UN and the Arab League. If we really wanted Democracy there, we would have backed them up. We did not.
    For all of you who think you have a monopoly on God’s benevolence, the Christ I learned about in chruch said love thine enemy, turn the other cheek. He also said when you feel the need to pray, go in a closet and do it. Don’t make a disgusting, prideful display of your religiosity.
    If I’d been a clever Capitalist, after the 2000 Coup De Court, I would have invested in barf bags.

    Reply

  2. Pissed Off American says:

    “Voting at gun point, for candidates who have been paid by Uncle Slam, like Chalabi, does not make a Democracy.”
    Yes, we are FAR more civilized here and sophisticated here. Why point guns when you can use Diebold?
    Yes Steve, DIE-BOLD, like “die” followed by “bold” with a long oh. Try it, test the word, roll it on your tongue ……
    diiiiiiiiiiiieebooooold …….
    Did you survive its pronounciation????
    Well good.
    See, you CAN survive mentioning those words that have been deemed taboo by the evil ones you so adore rubbing elbows with.
    Tomorrow’s lesson will be the words “liars”, “murderers”, “criminals”, and “treason”.

    Reply

  3. Kathleen says:

    Kirby;
    Read Imperial Hubris by Anonymous, a CIA Intelligence analyst. I do not lie. You have an ostrich approach to the truth.
    Voting at gun point, for candidates who have been paid by Uncle Slam, like Chalabi, does not make a Democracy.

    Reply

  4. Pissed Off American says:

    ……..”I am so very thankful that I am to be present for Kingdom Come, and sincerely hope that many of you come to understand our current world’s demise as the work of God through his angels in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
    Posted by joyful diana
    Thank God, I was beginning to think the fine Christians, Bush and Cheney, were going to have to shove light sticks up Muslim asses sans assistance. It is indeed heartening to know there are other Christian folk out there that appreciate the powers of conversion that a thorough waterboarding can yield. God bless President Bush for sinning us into this mess.

    Reply

  5. Hoplite says:

    Springtime Fusillade,
    You failed to address the fact that in direct response to the horrific attacks of 9/11 by Islamic fundamentalists, Bush has inadvertently fathered a DEMOCRATICALLY elected Islamic fundamentalist republic with extremely close ties to Iran which he deemed an `axis of evil’.
    You instead tried to attack me.
    Why?
    Please try again.
    Al Dawa, a fundamentalist Islamic faction, has been lying in wait in Iran for over twenty years.
    Al Dawa, a fundamentalist Islamic faction, has been wanting to make Iraq an Islamic fundamentalist republic for over twenty years.
    Thanks to Bush and you, that is happening.
    9/11 + Iraq = Bush’s Islamic fundamentalist republic
    WTF?

    Reply

  6. Hoplite says:

    joyful diana,
    Have you ever even read the real Bible?
    I think not.
    Why?
    You are illiterate.
    How so?
    You cannot read Arabic, Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Syriac, etc.
    To you, 666 is still the number of the beast.
    Ha!!

    Reply

  7. Pissed Off American says:

    Hagel: ‘Things Are Worse Off In The Middle East Today Than They Were Three Years Ago’
    This weekend, President Bush delivered the commencement address at West Point and declared that his global war on terror is helping to spread freedom in the Middle East:
    Decades of excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe. So long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place where terrorists foment resentment and threaten American security. So we are pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East.
    This morning on Meet the Press, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered a strong rebuke of Bush’s assessment of what’s going on in the Middle East:
    I think you could make a pretty strong case that things are worse off in the Middle East today than they were three years ago. By measurement of Iraq, by Iran, by the Palestinian-Israeli issue, what’s going on in Egypt. And, I think the United States must use its force of diplomacy to engage Iran.
    Hagel isn’t alone in making his argument that the Middle East is worse off since the Iraq invasion.
    In Newsweek, prominent Arab journalist Rami Khouri writes:
    Three years after the assault on Iraq, the country is delicately balanced between a reconfigured democratic polity and an endless slide into hell. More troubling, though, is that events in Iraq are not a freak sideshow. The evidence suggests that Iraq mirrors a wider and troubling trend throughout this region that is being fostered by Bush, Blair and their freedom-loving friends, whether deliberately or inadvertently. Once stable Arab countries are slowly polarizing and fragmenting into smaller units of ethnic, religious and tribal identities, each with its own militia and contacts with Washington, London, Paris and other global power centers. Like it or not, failed states are an increasingly common outcome of Western meddling in the Middle East.
    continues at……..
    http://thinkprogress.org/2006/05/28/hagel-on-middle-east/

    Reply

  8. Pissed Off American says:

    Neo-cons question Bush’s democratisation strategy
    By Guy Dinmore in Washington
    Published: May 29 2006 21:52 | Last updated: May 29 2006 21:52
    President George W. Bush has likened the “war on terrorism” to the cold war against communism.
    Addressing military cadets graduating from West Point, Mr Bush reaffirmed at the weekend that the US “will not rest until the promise of liberty reaches every people in every nation”.
    But as the US struggles to assert itself on the international stage, the president’s most radical supporters now dismiss this as mere rhetoric, and traditional conservatives are questioning the wisdom of a democratisation strategy that has brought unpleasant consequences in the Middle East.
    Administration officials speak privately of a sense of fatigue over the worsening crisis in Iraq that has drained energy from other important policy issues. Senior officials are leaving – not so unusual in a second term, but still giving the sense of a sinking ship run in some quarters by relatively inexperienced crew.
    Neo-conservative commentators at the American Enterprise Institute wrote last week what amounted to an obituary of the Bush freedom doctrine.
    “Bush killed his own doctrine,” they said, describing the final blow as the resumption of diplomatic relations with Libya. This betrayal of Libyan democracy activists, they said, came after the US watched Egypt abrogate elections, ignored the collapse of the “Cedar Revolution” in Lebanon, abandoned imprisoned Chinese dissidents and started considering a peace treaty with Stalinist North Korea.
    The neo-conservatives offered no explanation for desertion of the doctrine, other than a desire to make quick but transitory short-term gains. “The president continues to believe his own preaching, but his administration has become incapable of making the hard choices those beliefs require,” they wrote.
    continues at……
    http://news.ft.com/cms/s/1f808bd2-ef54-11da-b435-0000779e2340.html
    (Hehehe….when these bastards at the AEI jump ship, you KNOW the damned thing is sinking.

    Reply

  9. Pissed Off Americabn says:

    “…..and we will be lauded for ir because Democracy is Freedom to chose what you want regardless of what you chose.”
    You’ve never heard of Sharia law, eh, you blathering fool? Prior to the wink and the nod we gave Saddam when he telegraphed his intentions to invade Kuwait, Iraq had one of the highest standards of living for women in the entire Muslim community of nations. Have you already FORGOTTEN that, or do you just want to spin your bullshit as mindlessly as that idiot troll Con George does? Or perhaps you figure the 500,000 Iraqi children that DIED as a result of the sanctions dedfines “freedom on the march”? Or gee, lets take the INCREASED infant mortality rate in Iraq and rejoice about how FREE these DEAD CHILDREN are. You people make me sick. Who are the evil doers??? I’l tell you who, these lying bastards in the White House, thats who. We ought to ship every last one of them to Basra, after painting a friggin’ target on their foreheads. And you can take point.

    Reply

  10. Springtime Fusillade says:

    Hoplite, you must be a Sunni to dislike Shiites so and rather have Saddam in place. Shiite democracy is just as democratic as Sunni democracy or any other democracy. Democracy is democracy. And we will have brought democracy to Iraq regardless of which flavor, and we will be lauded for ir because Democracy is Freedom to chose what you want regardless of what you chose. Don’t think that Our President didn’t know this when taking up the sword and delivering Democracy to Iraq; the President was giving the Iraqis the gift to chose whatever they wanted for themselves and the President can’t be faulted if Iraqis occasionally make bad choices, but such choices usually correct themselves over time in the election process. So let them chose and rejoice in their having a choice, and let us respect their choice and enjoy their comraderie as members of the world’s Democracies. Why do you have to be nihilistic, Hoplite. You’re one e short to being Hopelight. Try that instead of hateful grimness, or you’ll have an end full of wailing and gnashing, no RIP.

    Reply

  11. Hoplite says:

    Sp[r]ingtime Fusillade,
    To rephrase you with regard to the TRUTH in re to Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq:
    Iraq will be an Islamic Fundamentalist Democracy, as extremist Shiite Iraqis have voted in elections just like Iranians do in Iran.
    If they vote it is Democracy by definition and the Americans will have brought an Islamic Fundmentalist Democracy to Iraq in precisely the opposite manner as promised.
    Every time extremist Shiite Iraqis vote we can stand shamefully as Americans and condemn our President for having given the extremist Shiites a far better future through voting than they could ever have had under Saddam or his sons.

    Reply

  12. kirby says:

    Kathleen,
    “……… he [bin Laden] was in a US military medical facility in Bahrain in July, 2001 …..”
    You LIE !!!!!!!!

    Reply

  13. Hoplite says:

    9/11 was allowed to happen.
    One cannot start the Crusades without slaughtering a few lambs.
    Miller and ‘NYT’ Had a 9/11 Warning Tip
    Miller :
    “I had begun to hear rumors about intensified intercepts and tapping of telephones. But that was just vaguest kind of rumors in the street, indicators…I remember the weekend before July 4, 2001 in particular, because for some reason the people who were worried about Al Qaeda believed that was the weekend that there was going to be an attack on the US or on major American target somewhere.
    It was going to be a large, well-coordinated attack. Because of the July 4th holiday, this was an ideal opportunistic target and date for Al Qaeda.
    My sources also told me at that time that there had been a lot of chatter overheard — I didn’t know specifically what that meant — but a lot of talk about an impending attack at one time or another.
    And the intelligence community seemed to believe that at least a part of the attack was going to come on July 4th.
    So I remember that, for a lot of my sources, this was going to be a ‘lost’ weekend.
    Everybody was going to be working; nobody was going to take time off.
    And that was bad news for me because it meant I was also going to be on stand-by and I would be working too.

    Reply

  14. Spingtime Fusillade says:

    Iraq will be a Democracy, as Iraqis will vote in elections just like Iranians do in Iran. If they vote it is Democracy by definition and the Americans will have brought Democracy to Iraq as promised. Every time they vote we can stand proud as Americans and give plaudits to our President for having given the Iraqi people a better future through voting than they could ever have had under Saddam or his sons.
    God BNless America!

    Reply

  15. Kathleen says:

    P.S. Anonymous,
    You sound like one of those “terrorsist” who just hates our freedom here. Steve keeps us in line and sends us to our corner for a while when we get out of hand. Not to worry.

    Reply

  16. Kathleen says:

    Hoplite,
    Immature people are incapable of independant thinking and need an authoritative parent figure to spoon feed them their lines. They want to believe that Daddy is right, so the facts on the ground get in the way. There is an unconscious process called selective inattention which enables an insecure person to filter out what does not confirm what they want to belive and anyone who tries to get through with some reality is in for an attack.
    In Stepford, everyone is more comfortable if they all conform and their cozy reality is unperturbed. When people are being blown to bits in our name, we have a duty to continue to try to penetrate the filtering defense machanisms that enable these reality averse souls to cling to their illusions.
    One would think the facts speak for themselves, but nooooo, the US is the good guy, anyone who does not jump when we snap our fingers is the bad guy. So black and white, nuance is out because Das Bush can’t do nuance. He’s so insecure he cannot even be in the same room with anyone who’ll ask him an uncomfortable question. He needs a loyalty pledge as an entrance fee.
    I’m not entirely convinced that it was purely Islamists who were repsonsible for 9/11. Don’t forget we paid Bin Laden to go to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, then to fight the so-called war on drugs and he was in a US military medical facility in Bahrain in July, 2001, so when exactly did he get off the US payroll?
    Also, we supported Saddam Hussein when we wanted him to fight Iran and made not one peep when he used poison gas on his own people back when he did. It served our purpose, so we didn’t care, when it mattered. We only brought it up 16 years after the fact to bolster our bogus scare tactics to justify our invasion of Iraq. How many lies does this regime have to tell before people get the point?
    When your cause is just, you do not need to lie. It’s that simple. You certainly cannot say we need your sons and daughters to go kill and be killed to privatize Iraq’s oil industry and make EXXON- MOBILE, etc rich. Who would go? Certainly not a little sissy like Georgie Porgie. He just knows how to wave his pompoms around, and shout Support Our Troops, rah, rah,Bring it On, like he’s gonna be on the front line himself, Macho Mannnnn.
    I have to laugh at the men who said they’d rather be in a fox hole with Bushie-Boy than with Gore. Good Luck getting Georgie Porgie near any damned foxhole. I, for one, would love to see Das Bush in some fox hole, any damned fox hole will do.
    Gore and Kerry went to Vietnam, but every single one of the NeoNutzis commandeering our gov’t were tooo chickenshit to go. They’re so chicken they go faux hunting and faux fishing, and play virutal football. Welll I guess they like to play dress up. Sadistic cowards. BARFFFF!

    Reply

  17. Hoplite says:

    Kathleen,
    What is most scary and puzzling about Con George-Katzabasis and the media is that they absolutely refuse (for whatever reason) to acknowledge and discuss the facts on the ground in Iraq.
    Iraq is by no means a burgeoning Pro-Western democracy.
    Bush’s invading and occupying of Iraq is having the exact opposite effect: Iraq is a burgeoning anti-Western democracy, a pro-Islamic fundamentalist regime.
    FACT: Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq have wanted to make Iraq a fundamentalist republic for over two decades.
    By invading Iraq, Bush and Con George-Katzabasis have removed all the obstacles which prevented this.
    The Japanese suicide bombed Pearl Harbor. Ultimately, Truman nuked Japan due to that horrific attack.
    Islamic fundamentalists suicide bombed the WTC and the Pentagon. Ultimately, Bush installed a fundamentalist Islamic republic due to that horrific attack.
    WTF?

    Reply

  18. Kathleen says:

    Con George-katzabasis or whatever the hell you call yourself,
    You are the one who is full of hatred which you project on to the rest of us. You are completely unable to accept differences of opinion wihtout insulting those with whom you disagree. Das Bush is just a temporary occupant of the Oval Office, which he occupies by dubious means. He does not own the USA and his policies are not mandatory for the rest of us, unless of course he plans to use his domestic spying program and those cozy detention centers Halliburton is currently building on those of us who disagree with his imperial and unconstitutional methods. Go back and read the Bill of Rights, unless of course you don’t have it in Stepford.

    Reply

  19. Mustafa says:

    Iranian-backed militia groups take control of much of southern Iraq
    Southern Iraq, long touted as a peaceful region that’s likely to be among the first areas returned to Iraqi control, is now dominated by Shiite Muslim warlords and militiamen who are laying the groundwork for an Islamic fundamentalist government, say senior British and Iraqi officials in the area.
    The militias appear to be supported by Iranian intelligence or military units that are shipping weapons to the militias in Iraq and providing training for them in Iran.
    Some British officials believe the Iranians want to hasten the withdrawal of U.S.-backed coalition forces to pave the way for Iran-friendly clerical rule.
    Iranian influence is evident throughout the area. In one government office, an aide approached a Knight Ridder reporter and, mistaking him for an Iranian, said, “Don’t be afraid to speak Farsi in Basra. We are a branch of Iran.”

    Reply

  20. Hoplite says:

    Con George-Kotzabasis vs. Galbraith
    Iraq: Bush’s Islamic Republic
    By Peter W. Galbraith
    [snip]
    SCIRI and Dawa want Iraq to be an Islamic state.
    They propose to make Islam the principal source of law, which most immediately would affect the status of women.
    For Muslim women, religious law—rather than Iraq’s relatively progressive civil code—would govern personal status, including matters relating to marriage, divorce, property, and child custody.
    A Dawa draft for the Iraqi constitution would limit religious freedom for non-Muslims, and apparently deny such freedom altogether to peoples not “of the book,” such as the Yezidis (a significant minority in Kurdistan), Zoroastrians, and Bahais.
    This program is not just theoretical.
    Since Saddam’s fall, Shiite religious parties have had de facto control over Iraq’s southern cities. There Iranian-style religious police enforce a conservative Islamic code, including dress codes and bans on alcohol and other non-Islamic behavior.
    In most cases, the religious authorities govern—and legislate—without authority from Baghdad, and certainly without any reference to the freedoms incorporated in Iraq’s American-written interim constitution—the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL).
    Dawa and SCIRI are not just promoting an Iranian-style political system —they are also directly promoting Iranian interests.
    Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the SCIRI leader, has advocated paying Iran billions in reparations for damage done in the Iran–Iraq war, even as the Bush administration has been working to win forgiveness for Iraq’s Saddam-era debt.
    Iraq’s Shiite oil minister is promoting construction of an export pipeline for petroleum from Basra to the Iranian port city of Abadan, creating an economic and strategic link between the two historic adversaries that would have been unthinkable until now.
    Iraq’s Shiite government has acknowledged Iraq’s responsibility for starting the Iran–Iraq war, and apologized.
    It is an acknowledgment probably justified by the historical record, but one that has infuriated Iraq’s Sunni Arabs.

    Reply

  21. Hoplite says:

    Con George-Kotzabasis,
    Do you have any evidence that Iraq is NOT becoming a fundamentalist Islamic republic with extremely close ties to Iran, a so called ‘axis of evil’?
    Please show, with evidence, how Iraq is high probability of becoming a success.
    Iraq has an extremely low probability of becoming a success for Bush if the intended result was to install a pro-Western democracy.
    Why?
    Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq have working for over twenty years to MAKE Iraq a fundamentalist Islamic republic.
    By invading and occupying Iraq, Bush and you have fathered a fundamentalist Islamic which has being lying in wait for over twenty years.
    On 9/11, nearly three thousand were murdered in cold blood and billions of dollars in damage were in incurred.
    In direct response to these horrific attacks, Bush and you have fathered a fundamentalist Islamic republic.
    WTF?

    Reply

  22. Pissed Off American says:

    Your hatred of the Bush administration has crowded out your intelligence and hence your ability to make a sober, objective analysis of the real issues involved in the war against global terror and its state sponsors, such as the former regime of Saddam. Nor can you see that Iraq, being pivotal to the new strategic policies of the Administration, has a high probability of becoming a success for Bush, and hence justifying fully this new strategy.
    But, tragically, you are inflicted by the incurable disease of “SOUL-DESTROYING HATRED”.
    Posted by Con George-Kotzabasis
    Your mindless drivel is just about as credible as Gannon’s purported thirteen inches of journalistic qualifications are.

    Reply

  23. Con George-Kotzabasis says:

    ALL YOU NIHILISTS ABOVE
    Your hatred of the Bush administration has crowded out your intelligence and hence your ability to make a sober, objective analysis of the real issues involved in the war against global terror and its state sponsors, such as the former regime of Saddam. Nor can you see that Iraq, being pivotal to the new strategic policies of the Administration, has a high probability of becoming a success for Bush, and hence justifying fully this new strategy.
    But, tragically, you are inflicted by the incurable disease of “SOUL-DESTROYING HATRED”.

    Reply

  24. God of the God of Gods says:

    Son of Con Geo,
    Al Dawa is a terrorist group with direct and long standing ties with Iran.
    A `suicider’ from the Al-Dawa party bombed the US embassy in Kuwait in 1983.
    In 1984, four men from Al Dawa highjacked a Kuwait airbus travelling from Kuwait to Pakistan.
    They held the plane for six days.
    During this time, these four men from Al Dawa shot and killed two Americans: Mr Charles Hegna and Mr William Stanford.
    Mr Bush and hist supporters have inadvertently fathered a burgeoning Islamic republic with extremely close ties to Iran in direct response to the horrific attacks of 9/11.
    Where’s your outrage?
    9/11 + Iraq = Son of Con Geo’s and Bush’s fundamentalist Islamic Iraq

    Reply

  25. Pissed Off American says:

    POA,
    Lies, all Lies, propagated by the Liberal Media to sully the everyday advance of Democracy in Iraq and the accomplishments of Our President. Fie on you, nihilist!
    Posted by Son of Con Geo
    Oh yeah, I forgot about that part. It must be my rabid anti-semitism and the extreme sympathy I feel towards terrorists that fuels my forgetfulness. I will try to be more vigilant in my pursuit of a properly unrealistic political stance. God bless the liars, the murderers, and the fascists, for without them the capital dome would surely collapse. I stand duly corrected.

    Reply

  26. Son of Con Geo says:

    POA,
    Lies, all Lies, propagated by the Liberal Media to sully the everyday advance of Democracy in Iraq and the accomplishments of Our President. Fie on you, nihilist!

    Reply

  27. Pissed Off American says:

    “Mission accomplished”……..
    “The insurgency is in its last throes”……..
    “Freedom on the march”…..
    “Victory at hand……
    KILLING FIELDS
    Iraq Is the Republic of Fear
    By Nir Rosen
    Sunday, May 28, 2006; Page B01
    Every morning the streets of Baghdad are littered with dozens of bodies, bruised, torn, mutilated, executed only because they are Sunni or because they are Shiite. Power drills are an especially popular torture device.
    continues at……
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/26/AR2006052601578.html

    Reply

  28. Pissed Off American says:

    “9/11 + Iraq = Bush’s Islamic Fundamentalist Republic in Iraq”
    “Where’s the outrage?”
    Posted by Hoplite
    Yes, and Iraq’s “duly elected” leaders just came out IN SUPPORT of Iran’s nuclear rights and ambitions. I happen to agree with thier position. But I doubt Bush does, eh? The blathering monkey keeps telling us of the SUCCESSES his policies are enjoying, while the FACTS ON THE GROUND completely expose his natterings as detached from reality. The ONLY thing standing between the TRUTH, and the American people, is a media that is willing to sell us the fantasies of a hopelessly dishonest regime that is rapidly becoming the model example of a fascism.

    Reply

  29. Pissed Off American says:

    “Bush and his supporters have really really screwed up: Americans will be suffering due to their miscalculations and ignorance for decades.”
    Bush, by his actions, has aided, advanced, and enhanced the recruitment efforts of the terrorists that truly do mean to harm our interests. Is that not the LEGAL definition of treason? PARTICULARLY as it applies to the action of outing and rendering ineffective one of our clandestine CIA operations, such as was done in the Plame case. We live in a nation that is hopelessly locked in denial, and completelty incapable of enforcing its own laws and codes of governmental conduct. Were it not so, than Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, etc, would be under indictment for the IRREFUTABLE crimes that have been commited during thier tenure.

    Reply

  30. Hoplite says:

    President Bush: Yet, in the face of this ongoing violence, each time the Iraqi people voiced their opinion, they chose freedom.
    Chose freedom?
    Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq are Islamic fundamentalists.
    Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq are not Pro-Western at all.
    Hezbollah is widely known to be an offshoot of Al Dawa.
    FACT: By cast their ballots for the Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, millions of Iraqis turned out to install an Islamic fundamentalist government which has long standing and extremely close ties to Iran.
    9/11 + Iraq = Bush’s Islamic Fundamentalist Republic in Iraq
    Where’s the outrage?

    Reply

  31. Harry says:

    Pissed Off American: Where is the COURAGE it SHOULD have taken to write such a post without the protective wall of anonymity?
    Stinks of the psycho-wing of the GOP, no?
    Attack the messenger anonymously in order to direct attention away from the message.
    “Victory at Hand” has been a fruiful blog.
    Prior to this blog, I had no idea the Al Dawa party has had such a long history as a terrorist organization.
    Bush and his supporters have really really screwed up: Americans will be suffering due to their miscalculations and ignorance for decades.

    Reply

  32. Pissed Off American says:

    A pity really. Where is the COURAGE it SHOULD have taken to write such a post without the protective wall of anonymity? This blog is fine as it stands. It does not require the imposition of YOUR standards, PARTICULARLY when you have neither the courage, nor the conviction, to offer those standards in any manner other than anonymously.

    Reply

  33. anonymous says:

    Erik is spot on in saying a moderator, or ein registration (with fee?) needs to be instituted on this blog.
    To many wayward comments.
    Posters talking past each other.
    Posters getting no constructive response.
    Posters using foul language.
    Posters going OT, without apologies to all.
    Lack of poster community in that they come and go willy nilly.
    Posters using fake names and addresses.
    Posters posting under more than one name.
    Posters with split personalities.
    Posters who are not dead serious about the grave issues at hand.
    Posters who only goad others, and have nothing constructive to contribute.
    Sarcastic posters.
    Facetious posters.
    Poster trying to be funny who are not.
    Lewd posters.
    I could go on and on if I inspected carefully other threads. Feel free to add to the list so that we can monitor the registration process and have by-laws that reflect best what is expected of each poster if they are chosen to participate. We can forgo these formalities, IF you all out there shape up, but if what has been offered in the above posts continues I fear Steve will have no choice but to register or severely monitor and moderate posts, and I would like to nominate Erik as a moderator if you all cannot conform to cogent posting and we are in need of some regimentation.
    Thank you.

    Reply

  34. Hoplite says:

    “Victory at Hand”
    Iraq is an abject failure.
    Al Dawa, the party of Prime Miniser Designate Malliki, is the father of Hezbollah and a well-known terrorist group.
    E.g.:
    In 1984, four men from Al Dawa highjacked a Kuwait airbus travelling from Kuwait to Pakistan.
    They held the plane for six days.
    During this time, these four men from Al Dawa shot and killed two Americans: Mr Charles Hegna and Mr William Stanford.
    Mr Bush and hist supporters have inadvertently fathered a burgeoning Islamic republic with extremely close ties to Iran in direct response to the horrific attacks of 9/11.
    Where’s the outrage?

    Reply

  35. karen says:

    Since I’ve never been to Iraq, I’ll just take the word of Nir Rosen who has been there and spent a lot of time there with the Iraqi’s:
    WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) — Sectarian violence in Iraq between Sunni and Shiite Muslims is getting worse and there is no hope of quashing it, the author of a new book on Iraq says.
    Nir Rosen, former Baghdad bureau chief for the Asia Times and now a freelance writer, spent time with Shiite firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and individuals involved with the Sunni insurgency in central Iraq. In his book, ‘In the Belly of the Green Bird: the Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq,’ Rosen describes what life is like in Iraq now that religious divisions and Iraqi on Iraqi violence grips the country.
    Speaking at the New America Foundation Thursday, Rosen said a civil war in Iraq was now inevitable. The conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims ‘has grown much more intense,’ he said. ‘The worst is yet to come.’
    ‘All it`s going to take is an assassination attempt or another mosque bombing,’ he said. ‘I no longer think that there is any hope for national reconciliation.’
    The conflict could grow to destabilize the entire region, Rosen said. ‘The civil war in Iraq is going to spread in the region and the idea of the Iraqi nation state will cease to be a relevant concept,’ he said.
    The U.S. approach in Iraq from the beginning was ‘sectarian,’ Rosen said. Iraq`s interim governing council was constructed on a sectarian basis, he said.
    The bombing of the al-Askariya , or Golden Mosque in Samara on Feb. 22 was a turning point, Rosen said. ‘It has almost become sort of a racism how Sunnis and Shiites view each other,’ he said.
    Sunni militias will stop buses, demand ID cards and shoot passengers with Shiite last names, Rosen said. Some Iraqis have even begun changing their names. ‘The militias are more and more open’ in their activities, he said.
    The mood in Baghdad has changed since he first went to Iraq during the beginning of the war, Rosen said. ‘You don`t feel the (American) occupation anymore in Baghdad,’ he said. Instead there are ‘various masked Iraqi security forces’ patrolling the streets in ski masks, shooting into the air.
    ‘It`s the only country in the world where the good guys look like the bad guys,’ he said.

    Reply

  36. Kathleen says:

    Linda,
    I’d say your mind is in the gutter, but it isn’t clear that you actually have a mind. Sounds more like a Stepford chip, complete with all the sanctimonious God riffs so you can convince your self you’re right.
    Iran has as much right to develop nuclear energy as we do or any other nation. They are not in violation of any International Treaties and have agreed to have UN inspectors confirm that. That should be the end of the story.
    As for the ‘gov’t” in Iraq, no people can establish a free gov’t overnight, at gunpoint. Just because Busholini snaps his fingers doesn’t mean that his internal delusions will become reality. The rest of us don’t engage in selective inattention to cling to our illusions. The man is a desperate, juvenile idiot.

    Reply

  37. Hoplite says:

    Erik: If, in 2016, we can marvel at our modernizing, democratic, peaceful Arab ally in the heart of the Middle East
    Why evidence is there that it might become a `success story’?
    Again, Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq have been calling for and acting toward an Islamic fundamentalist Iraq for over twenty years.
    That is a fact.
    The invading and occupying of Iraq is having the precisely opposite effect it was suppose to have.
    Eg.:
    Iraqi tennis coach, players killed ‘for wearing shorts’
    26 May 2006 10:27
    Gunmen in Baghdad killed the coach of the Iraqi national tennis team and two players, reportedly for wearing Western-style tennis shorts, an Iraqi Olympic official said on Friday.
    Iraq: Bush’s Islamic Republic
    By Peter W. Galbraith
    [snip]
    SCIRI and Dawa want Iraq to be an Islamic state. They propose to make Islam the principal source of law, which most immediately would affect the status of women. For Muslim women, religious law—rather than Iraq’s relatively progressive civil code—would govern personal status, including matters relating to marriage, divorce, property, and child custody. A Dawa draft for the Iraqi constitution would limit religious freedom for non-Muslims, and apparently deny such freedom altogether to peoples not “of the book,” such as the Yezidis (a significant minority in Kurdistan), Zoroastrians, and Bahais.
    This program is not just theoretical. Since Saddam’s fall, Shiite religious parties have had de facto control over Iraq’s southern cities. There Iranian-style religious police enforce a conservative Islamic code, including dress codes and bans on alcohol and other non-Islamic behavior. In most cases, the religious authorities govern—and legislate—without authority from Baghdad, and certainly without any reference to the freedoms incorporated in Iraq’s American-written interim constitution—the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL).
    Dawa and SCIRI are not just promoting an Iranian-style political system —they are also directly promoting Iran- ian interests. Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the SCIRI leader, has advocated paying Iran billions in reparations for damage done in the Iran–Iraq war, even as the Bush administration has been working to win forgiveness for Iraq’s Saddam-era debt. Iraq’s Shiite oil minister is promoting construction of an export pipeline for petroleum from Basra to the Iranian port city of Abadan, creating an economic and strategic link between the two historic adversaries that would have been unthinkable until now. Iraq’s Shiite government has acknowledged Iraq’s responsibility for starting the Iran–Iraq war, and apologized. It is an acknowledgment probably justified by the historical record, but one that has infuriated Iraq’s Sunni Arabs.

    Reply

  38. Erik says:

    Maybe it’s time for comments on this site to be moderated, or for users to register.

    Reply

  39. Hoplite says:

    Iraqi Minister Backs Iran on Nuclear Research, By JOHN O’NEIL
    Published: May 26, 2006
    Iraq supports Iran’s right to pursue nuclear research, its new foreign minister said today, taking a position at odds with that of the Bush administration.
    Again, after exiling over twenty years in Iran, the Al Dawa party and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq *show no sign whatsoever* of flip flopping in order to start sucking down chili-dogs outside the Tasty Freeze.
    9/11 + Iraq = Bush’s Fundamentalist Islamic Republic ?
    WTF?

    Reply

  40. Superbas says:

    Enjoy the strains of deja vu all over again, but this time gone awry.
    The following is from: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, of Monday, September 5, 1898, page 3, column 1.
    http://www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/eagle/
    THIS IS GOD’S COUNTRY
    A Strong Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Richard S. Holmes
    SPAINS GREED FOR WEALTH
    The Roar of Dewey’s Canon was the Thunder of the Voice of God and the Flashing Sabre at the Gate of Santiago His Lightning – His Eternal Purpose for the Western Hemisphere
    “The last of the union services of the Clinton Avenue Congregational and Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Churches which began on July 3 were held yesterday. …………………… The preacher yesterday was the Rev. Dr. Richard S. Holmes, pastor of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He took for the subject of his morning sermon ‘God in the Midst of the Camp.’ His text was from Deuteromony xxiii:14: ‘For the Lord thy God walkest in the midst of the camp to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy.’ Dr. Holmes said, among other things: ‘The United States is God’s Country. We say it in an unusual sense and with no irreverence. The foundation stone of the nation is integrity, its standard is the symbol of the equality of blended interests and its watchword is freedom. We are believers in manifest destiny, because we that that manifest destiny and the purpose of divine providence, in us, and with us, are one. Our national history has been wrought by the hand of God, if ever national history has been so wrought. God walks in the midst of the camp. He has walked there, delivering us, and giving up our enemies before us since that day one hundred and twenty-two years ago when twelve colonies declared unanimously for their independence from the British crown. It needs no eye of keen discernment to verify such a statement. It is true. A child can read it in our history. The name of God may not be written in the Constitution of the United States, but it is written deeper than all documents thast men may make, in the genius of our national life. We call ourselves Americans, and we are; but we are more than that. We are a world people, a fused people, the fire for whose fusion has been a common love of freedom and purpose to worship God.’
    “Dr. Holmes said that the western hemisphere has just entered upon the fifth century since it had emerged from primeval darkness, the four centuries which preceded it having been like four acts in a mighty drama. Act one, discovery; act two, colonization; act three, rise of a new world power; act four, national unification and republican solidarity. ‘The fifth act of the drama of empire in the western hemisphere has already begun. It is too early to declare what it will be, but it may not be impossible that it will be Christian freedom. America and England hand in hand marching heart beat and drum beat as Anglo Saxon guarantor of human rights for the whole wide world. As I contemplate this theme of God in the midst my minds follows along the course of these four great epochs and I see clearly how He has directed the destinies of this nation. You need not turn to other lands to see to action of the hand of God in history. You need not point to a unified Germany or Italy. You need not look at India or Australia or the movements by which Africa is parceled out among the Christian nations of the world. Read simply the history of His directing hand from 1492 until this good hour in the land which we love.’
    “The preacher went on to elaborate the point that God walked in the midst of the camp directing the movements of discovery, Columbus’ arrival in three small vessels and how the keels of every maritime power followed them over the great ocean in search of undiscovered land, each finder taking possession in the name of his monarch; said that Spain drew the prize in the lottery of discovery; dwelt upon the point as developed in God’s directing hand in colonization that it was His eternal decree that the home of domain in the new world was to be Protestant, saying: ‘When a Protestant England was ready God led that colony which knelt on Plymouth rock, the strongest, sturdiest, truest band of men this world has ever seen. Plymouth rock was Protestant; a Roman Catholic Plymouth rock was an impossibility. And while these Plymouth rock men wrestled with inhospitable nature and suffered even unto death, what of Spain? Ah, it is the story of the preceeding century. Spain, greedy for gold, was sucking the wealth of the richest part of the new hemisphere, as a vampire sucks the blood of its victim.’ Dr. Holmes traced the efforts to overthrow and what had been accomplished, said the spirit of unity ruled in the republic and that ‘it was not a gold party that has been marching over Porto Rico hills to San Juan. We are no silver party when as soldiers we put on the blue and march beneath the Stripes and Stars. We are the party of the republic. The spirit of unity is a mighty spirit and it rules in the patriotic heart, and this spirit whose outcome is national unification entire and unending was wrought by the century from 1792 to 1892, and that result marks the leading of the hand of God. He walks in the midst of the camp.’
    “Dr. Holmes spoke of Spain’s rule in Cuba as satanic and concluded: ‘And now the new century has dawned. The judgement hour has come. The gun that sounded on May 1 on the other side of the world was like the shot of the embattled farmers at Concord bridge. It has been heard around the world and its reverberations sounding to-day among the hills of Cuba to ears that have waited long, ‘Cuba is free from the curse of 400 years.’ This also is the leading of the hand of God. The war of Dewey’s cannon Manila harbor was the thunder of the voice of God; the flashing saber at the gate of Santiago was His lightning. God had set for four centuries before the eyes of Spain the influence of the moral progress of the world and her character had not changed, and so His voice called to judgement, and so we took up His sword. There has been death and suffering and grief, but there has been victory. God still walks in the midst of the camp. The dead hand of Philip II, whose grip was paralysis; the dead hand of Philip II, the only monarch in all history who needs no adjective to describe him; the dead hand of Philip II, laid on almost this whole Western world in 1592, has come at last to the hour when the death grip has ceased. The nation for which God wrought; the nation which He planted, nourished, and guided, He awoke at last to His eternal purpose in this new world. He walks in the midst of the camp. He has delivered us; he has given up our enemies before us; He has placed new responsibilities upon us. To them let us give ourselves with clean hands and with pure hearts.”

    Reply

  41. Hoplite says:

    blasingame: The Shiites being the natural rulers of geographical Iraq, since they are the majority, need to share and be nice to the Sunnis;
    Be nice?
    This is palpaby absurd.
    It is payback time for the Shiites.
    Unfortunately, many Sunnis with be ethnic cleansed the moment the US pulls out and thereby unleashes the Badr Corp.

    Reply

  42. Hoplite says:

    Erik: “If Iraq turns into a success story”
    Again, I note the conditionlity of your position.
    And again, I point out the silliness.
    After exiling over twenty years in Iran, the Al Dawa party and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq *show no sign whatsoever* of flip flopping in order to start sucking down chili-dogs outside the Tasty Freeze.
    In the 1980s, the Al Dawa party and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SCIRI) were established in order to install a fundamentalist Islamic govt in Iraq.
    And if history is any guide (e.g., Al Dawa bombed US embassy in 1983), they are/will be hostile to the US.
    Bush and his supporters have inadvertently fathered a burgeoning fundamentalist Islamic republic with extremly close and long standing ties to Iran, a so called `axis of evil’.
    9/11 + Iraq = Bush’s Fundamentalist Islamic Republic ?
    WTF?
    BTW: Is there one single picture of Al-Malliki, the iraqi Prime Minister Designate, with an American official?

    Reply

  43. bakho says:

    Whenever Bush is asked about mistakes, he resorts to, “I am sorry I don’t speak clearly enough.”
    Something in Iraq is clearly not going very well and it goes far beyond cowboy talk from Mr Bush. Not having a clear plan (or at least one that is clearly communicated) and failure to come clean with the American people inspires zero confidence. The only support Bush has is from people that blindly trust him.
    In contrast, almost no one trusted Mr Clinton. Mr Clinton was forced to justify every action. We got better policy as a result. We do Mr Bush and our country no favors by not requiring him to justify his policies.

    Reply

  44. blasingame says:

    Con George is right. Factions in America and Iraq, and their exclusive hold on most who take an interest in their country and vote, are very similar, and similar in all democracies whether fledgling or well established. Iraq’s people vote in national elections for power to achieve their own goals, and the highest of those goals is the preservation of the nation as it was established in the 1920s. The Shiites being the natural rulers of geographical Iraq, since they are the majority, need to share and be nice to the Sunnis; the Sunnis need to understand that they no longer control Iraq, and are junior partners to the Shiites. The Kurds must broker a long lasting understanding between the Shiites and Sunnis. The Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis all want one sovereign Iraqi nation with all included who had been included since the 1920s. It is the will of the Iraqi people, the will of each individual voter that demands that all factional squabbles are subservient to the over-arching goal of sovereign democratic nationhood for all Iraq, or should I say, “One Nation Under Allah, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.”
    God Bless America, and the Nation of Iraqis.

    Reply

  45. Neo Neo Tom says:

    Con Geo,
    You are correct. I have seen the Light. Iraq is going through the early violences of establishing a Democracy. Democracy in its infancy. And just as long as the Iraqi people keep insisting on voting for whomever they feel will be best for the Iraqi nation as a whole, victory over the nihilistic forces will one day dawn upon our comrades in Democracy and a new day for all the Middle East will be well on its way. We must stay the course and stand with the brave Iraqi people whether it takes 5 or 25 years to achieve the goal of Democracy. After Democracy it would be preferable if they all excepted Jesus as their personal Savior. This may take a bit longer, but the next step must be to save their souls.
    All praise goes to Jesus.

    Reply

  46. parrot says:

    I see no evidence of squirming. For that alone, the Administration should be hauled before a tribunal and held accountable for the complete incompetence, the complete disregard for the law, the complete indecency of this war.

    Reply

  47. Con George-Kotzabasis says:

    My dear Clemons beware
    The revolutionary genie is out of the bottle! Can’t you see what awaits you: That it will be your erstwhile ardent supporters–from couple of samples above–who will put you in the tumbril on the way to the guillotine for daring to raise your “intellectual eyebrow”. (In revolutionary France it was a guillotine offense to raise ones eyebrows.)

    Reply

  48. james says:

    the sad reality is that those who believed iraqs major problem would go away after the unfree elections pushed on them from the masters of bullshit- bush and co, must be squirming due their lack of foresight to see what many others could see a long time ago.. all those in favour of ‘freeing’ iraq ought to go over and help the process along, or get some friggin reality..

    Reply

  49. Druthers says:

    Iran was in the plan from the beginning, well before the Iraq invasion. Iraq to be used as a base for the rest of the middle east.
    Now the project to trade oil in euros is the menace they want to avoid at all costs.
    Israel has its own agenda, everyone is everyone else’s tool.

    Reply

  50. Con George-Kotzabasis says:

    NEO TOM
    For your cynicism you would be a perfect fit for the tub of Diogenes, although for your logic the great philosopher would not allow you to enter his tub.
    So when you vote for your “own faction”, quite possibly the Democrats, and millions of Americans who do the same, you are not voting for the American people “as a whole nation”?
    You can bellitle with your sarcasm the ten million “wonderful people of Iraq”, who defied the bombs and the guns of the terrorists and went to the polls, from your safe haven. But as a person who is not CRUSHED BY REALITY, whom did you expect Iraqis to vote for, other than their own factions, as all people in democratic elections do? And it’s obvious, that the Godfather of your cynicism and sarcasm is nihilism.

    Reply

  51. Pissed Off American says:

    “The conference is entirely off the record…..”
    Why??? Afraid you will lose your cushy “insider” status, Steve? Do you guys gotta figure out which words to mince?
    When are you jokers going to start calling a lie a “lie”, a crime a “crime”, and treason “treason”?

    Reply

  52. liesbeth says:

    “and we must get real about this — and pull out of the tail-spin Bush has us in.”
    So to do so one must forge alliances with the bath tub guy, or seek alliances with fine and dandy people from the all sacred millitary. Fine and dandy folks such as Hayden?
    Come on, who are you kidding? Then again, who are you kidding?

    Reply

  53. babaloo says:

    If things are going so great in Iraq, why is the Baghdad (only) morgue reporting over 40 Iraqis tortured and killed EVERY day? Usually only the occasional car bomb with its deaths and injuries is reported. Off in the corner of news is the additional >40 tortured and killed in Baghdad ALONE.
    I feel terribly sorry for you and the suffering Iraqi people if that is your idea of success.

    Reply

  54. Ohiodem1 says:

    President Bush and the adminstration are pursuing a strategy characterized by Harold Lasswell in his 1927 book on war propaganda as creating “the illusion of victory”. The title of the book is “Propaganda Technique in the World War”. Since he was talking about WW I, he did not need to assign a number to it.
    I wrote a short article on this called How to Sell a War and it is posted at Questionitnow blog.
    Here is a link:
    http://questionitnow.com/documents/How_to_sell_a_war.pdf
    I tried to relate several items:
    1. Comparison of turning points of several American wars to the GWOT.
    2. The long-term nature of propaganda campaigns, and in some sense how they came to fruition.
    3. The nature of propaganda, and some succinct word bites on some master purveyers of the craft.
    4. An attempt to look at the current situation concerning what looks to me like a run-up to war with Iran.

    Reply

  55. PGE says:

    The last time anyone turned this many corners, it was Pooh and Christopher Robin, hunting Heffalumps.

    Reply

  56. Erik says:

    Note the use of the conditional if and the conclusion not favorable to Bush. I’m not betting on Iraq becoming a success story. In fact, if I had to bet, I would bet against it, and that saddens me. Iraq and the United States will suffer from the violent extremism unleashed. Given that, I think it’s especially important to try to improve the outcome there. A lot of good advice has been spurned by this administration, which is why I think any *chance* at a *less negative* outcome will have to wait for a new administration with new initiatives.

    Reply

  57. Matthew says:

    Steve: I’m a lot more optimistic. We are living through a series of fake “crises.” Only last summer we couldn’t accept North Korea’s nuclear program. And now we do. We are hysterical about illegal immigrants right now–as if 10 million crossed the border in April. The “Iran Crisis” is phony too…driven by the wrong-headed belief that America can impose its imperial will on the Middle East now before China becomes a Strategic Threat. The real threat is our own idiotic belief that we can impose our will on others permanently. Our client state, Israel, obviously believes the same thing. They can confiscate Palestinian farm land on the West Bank because they don’t have a “peace” partner; as if they they want to “negotiate” anything other the conveyance of Palestinian land. In the absurd Neo-Con world we live in, unless people act against their own interests they are “extremists.” Because this view is so detached from reality, it is not surprising it spawns one ‘crisis” after another.

    Reply

  58. VietnamVet says:

    Instead of realism, Iranian Psy-Ops stories about Jewish yellow stars and nuclear weapons are corporate media fodder. Farcical except the Middle East Occupation is deteriorating. How much longer can U.K. hang on to the fiction of controlling Basra? Blair could be out of 10 Downing Street shortly. The GOP could loose a House in November. God’s Chosen will not give up power easily.
    Both Israeli and British PM’s visited the White House within a week. Pray that the all mighty above hasn’t spoken the words already in their ears “Bomb Iran”.

    Reply

  59. Praedor Atrebates says:

    You keep turning corners often enough at fast enough and all you are doing is spinning in place and getting dizzy.
    I think we are very, very dizzy at this point and the gorge is rising. Watch out for the stomach fountain.

    Reply

  60. EasyE says:

    U.S. Foreign Policy breeds terrorism. Change policy, reduce terrorism.

    Reply

  61. Hoplite says:

    Erik: Arab ally in the heart of the Middle East
    This is just SILLY!!
    Al Dawa is not at all a secular faction with a long fervent history of embracing American values.
    Keywords: Al Dawa, Islamic Fundamentalism, Sharia, Iran and Iraq, terrorism, 1983 US Embassy attack
    See
    1) Large Turnout Reported For 1st Iraqi Vote Since ’58 The Washington Post, June 21, 1980
    In another development today, Al Dawa, a clandestine Iraqi fundamentalist Moslem organization, claimed responsibility for yesterday’s grenade attack on the British Embassy here in which three gunmen reportedly were killed.
    An Al Dawa spokesman told Agence France-Presse by phone that the attack was a “punitive operation against a center of British and American plotters.”
    2) Iraq Keeps a Tight Rein on Shiites While Bidding to Win Their Loyalty The Washington Post, November 30, 1982
    [snip]
    Membership in Dawa, which means “the call,” is punishable by execution. Dawa guerrillas were known for hurling grenades into crowds during religious ceremonies, and attacks claimed by the party were frequent until the middle of 1980.
    3) U.S. HAS LIST OF BOMB SUSPECTS, LEBANESE SAYS Detroit Free Press, October 29, 1983
    [snip]
    The source said the drivers of the two bomb-laden trucks were blessed before their mission by Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, leader of the Iranian-backed Dawa Party, a Lebanese Shiite Muslim splinter group.
    4) SHULTZ SEES LINK BETWEEN BEIRUT, KUWAIT ATTACKS OFFICIALS IDENTIFY MAN WHO DROVE TRUCK BOMB, The Miami Herald, December 14, 1983
    Secretary of State George Shultz said Tuesday that there “quite likely” was a link between the U.S. Embassy bombing in Kuwait and attacks on American facilities in Lebanon. He warned of possible retaliation.
    (snip)
    The sources said the investigators matched the prints on the fingers with those on file with Kuwaiti authorities and
    tentatively identified the assailant as Raed Mukbil, an Iraqi automobile mechanic who lived in Kuwait and was a member of Hezb Al Dawa, a fundamentalist Iraqi Shiite Moslem group based in Iran.
    5) KUWAIT NABS 10 SHIITES IN BOMBINGS 7 IRAQIS, 3 LEBANESE ‘ADMIT’ TERROR ATTACKS
    The Miami Herald, December 19, 1983
    Kuwait Sunday announced the arrests of 10 Shiite Moslems with ties to Iran in the terrorist bombings that killed four people and wounded 66 last week at the U.S. Embassy and other targets.
    (snip)
    Hussein said fingerprints from the driver who died in the blast at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait identified him as Raad Akeel al Badran, an Iraqi mechanic who lived in Kuwait and belonged to the Dawa party.
    6) 10 Pro-Iranian Shiites Held in Kuwait Bombings, The Washington Post December 19, 1983
    Kuwait announced yesterday the arrest of 10 Shiite Moslems with ties to Iran in terrorist bombings that killed four people and wounded 66 last Monday at the U.S. Embassy and other targets.
    “All 10 have admitted involvement in the incidents as well as participating in planning the blasts,” Abdul Aziz Hussein, minister of state for Cabinet affairs, told reporters after a Cabinet session, United Press International reported.
    Hussein said the seven Iraqis and three Lebanese were members of the Al Dawa party, a radical Iraqi Shiite Moslem group with close ties to Iran.
    7) Beirut Bombers Seen Front for Iranian-Supported Shiite Faction, The Washington Post, January 4, 1984
    The terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the bombing of the U.S. Marine compound and the French military headquarters here may be a front for an exiled Iraqi Shiite opposition party based in Iran, in the view of a number of Arab and western diplomatic sources.
    Authorities in Kuwait say their questioning of suspects in the recent bombing there of the U.S. and French embassies indicates a clear link between Islamic Jihad, a shadowy group that says it carried out the Beirut attacks, and Al Dawa Islamiyah, the main source of resistance to the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
    Al Dawa (The Call) has been outlawed in Iraq, where it wants to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state to replace the secular Baath Socialist government of Saddam Hussein, who is a Sunni Moslem.
    It draws its strength from the large Shiite population in southern Iraq. Thousands of its most militant members were expelled to Iran in 1980 before the outbreak of the Iranian-Iraqi war and joined Al Dawa there. But it also has a large following in Lebanon among Iraqi exiles and sympathetic Lebanese Shiites.
    While Al Dawa operates out of Tehran, it is not clear whether its activities abroad are under direct Iranian control or merely have Iran’s tacit acceptance.
    8)Baalbek Seen As Staging Area For Terrorism, The Washington Post, January 9, 1984
    Al Dawa, according to Arab and western sources, is believed to have had a role in the Oct. 23 suicide bomb attacks on the U.S. Marine and French military compounds in Beirut.
    9) Message From Iran Triggered Bombing Spree In Kuwait, The Washington Post, February 3, 1984
    Al Dawa, for example, is no household name in the United States.
    But it is a name important to this story.
    It leads us back to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the ruling figure in Iran; to Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the militant Lebanese Shiite leader who has been implicated–despite his denials–in the Marine and French bombings in Beirut; to Hussein Musawi, Fadlallah’s strong-arm lieutenant; to the Hakim brothers in Iran and their connections to the Middle East terrorism industry.

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  62. Hoplite says:

    Con George-Kotzabasis: “Iraq will be an American success”.
    Erik: “If Iraq turns into a success story”
    Huh?
    Iraq is an unmitigated disaster for US foreign policy.
    The Al-Dawa party has been trying to install a fundamentalist Islamic government for over twenty years.
    A `suicider’ from the Al-Dawa party bombed the US embassy in Kuwait in 1983.
    From Juan Cole:
    Al-Hayat reports that [Ar.] the Salafi Jihadis have established a Taliban-like mini-state in West Baghdad, paralleled by a Shiite militia-ruled region of East Baghdad. The Sunni Arab extremists assassinate young men who walk around clean-shaven, and they pass around leaflets declaring that they will enforce Islamic canon law (sharia) in that neighborhood. They have established the Emirate of Baghdad in Dora and Amiriyah districts, and it is alleged that Zarqawi is there and has appointed viceroys over each. Radical Sunnis fleeing other areas of the Sunni Arab heartland have come to those districts of Baghdad in large numbers. An eyewitness told al-Hayat that in one of these Salafi-Jihadi neighborhoods, an unveiled girl was kidnapped on the street, then later returned to her home with her head shaven. A broadsheet then circulating saying that it was necessary to deal with unveiled girls in this way on the first offense, but later on they should be killed. Men have also been shot down for being clean-shaven or wearing the wrong clothing.

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  63. Erik says:

    If Iraq turns into a success story, it won’t be during Bush’s term, and it won’t be due to his occupation policies. Donald Rumsfeld predicts a further 10 years of American occupation/basing in Iraq. If, in 2016, we can marvel at our modernizing, democratic, peaceful Arab ally in the heart of the Middle East it will have to be largely due to the policies of Bush’s successor.

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  64. glissen says:

    Bush is doing and saying the only thing a strong leader can do and say. Remember when Germany was being defeated step by step during WWII, the Nazis never stopped lying about what was happening and what the end would be. Germany’s armed forces knew the score, the Party would not believe the truth of the matter, and could not believe it because it was deathly to do so. Like they say about some people who upon their deathbeds grudgingly refuse to die, “He was a fighter.” That’s Bush, he will never admit defeat. He’s the manager down 13 to 3 in the 9th who believes it ain’t over till its over. Geo. Bush ain’t no LBJ in his final throes. We know, George, we know, it’s all right, you tried the impossible, keep your chin up and put on a brave face. God is your fortress. What a man!

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  65. linda says:

    I would like to see him get broader recognition in the mainstream press for his on going series regarding this president and his administration.
    John B.
    surely you jest. the crushing issue of the day is how many times does bill do hillary; and what is she doing wearing yellow…

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  66. Den Valdron says:

    Oh great, we’ve got Con-George stinking up the place, as well as Steve getting it wrong.
    Okay, let’s turn to Iran. Is Iran playing a game of nuclear brinksmanship with the US? Is Iran ’emboldened’ to ‘push harder’?
    Okay, reality check here. Iran is a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty. Iran’s activities in fuel enrichment are ABSOLUTELY LEGAL AND LEGITIMATE UNDER THE TERMS OF THAT TREATY. There is ABSOLUTELY NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran’s mullahs have publicly disavowed nuclear weapons in religious fatwahs claiming that such items are unislamic.
    The best estimates of Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon put that between 5 and 10 years off, with another 5 years to build up both credible delivery mechanisms and even an embyronic threat capability.
    So, what is Iran ’emboldened’ to do? What is pissing America off. Iran is undertaking a civilian nuclear program, perfectly legitimate under the Non-Proliferation treaty and common to many countries. Iran is engaged in developing the capacity to master the nuclear fuel enrichment process. This is a civilian process, also perfectly legitimate.
    The concern is that this process could, if mastered, allow the Iranians to enrich fuel to nuclear weapons grade plutonium or uranium, provided that many technical hurdles are overcome. Theoretically, if Iran had a nuclear fuel cycle, it could commence a crash program and build a bomb in anywhere from six months to two years.
    Where is that nuclear fuel cycle for the Iranians? They’ve managed to hook up 150 centrifuges and enrich fuel 3%. For nuclear weapons grade enrichment, you need to go 96% and link up 18,000 centrifuges. There’s about 50 orders of magnitude between what they’re doing and what they’d need to do for a nuclear weapon. Guess what. That’s not going to happen soon. Ten years may well be conservative.
    Of course, it would need to build a small fleet of bombs, somewhere between 12 and 40 to have minimal credibility as a nuclear threat. One bomb doesn’t cut it, you shoot your load and then you get vaporized. So the idea is to be able to have multiple strike capacity, and also to retain a further strike capacity after the expected nuclear reprisals. Even after your first bomb, you don’t get to that point quickly or easily. So you add another five to ten years.
    Keep in mind that within 1000 miles of Iran there are six countries, the United States, Russia, Israel, Pakistan, India and China that are already far past that point, and would be expected to have insurmountable leads in 10 to 15 years.
    Iran’s nuclear threat? Non existent and meaningless.
    So what is Iran’s ’emboldened’ and ‘provocative’ game of brinksmanship. Apparently, they are not immediately obedient to every American impulse.
    And in not immediately catering to the Bush administration’s demands, they allow the Bush administration to manufacture yet another crisis.
    Sorry Steve, but give us a break. You have partially bought into the narrative of psychopaths. In ‘finding your middle’ you assume that both sides are stirring the pot, when in fact, its just one side stoking up a manufactured crisis.
    I cannot imagine anything the Iranians could do to defuse the crisis, short of accepting unlimited American inspections, decommissioning all nuclear research and instituting regime change. In fact, this seems to be the position of the United States, which has called for and sought regime change.
    If the Iranians are faced with a psychopathic regime, and if the actions of that psychopathic regime are entirely dependent on internal factors that they have no control over… then why bother trying to mediate or conciliate at all.
    Finally, I have to take exception to your line about:
    “To restore a sense of America’s real abilities among allies and foes, American leaders are going to have to demonstrate that they are making tough choices about our military deployments and resources to restore credibility to our brand.”
    Now, maybe you meant something else by this. But it strikes me that any reasonable person would take a look at this and find its a mealy mouthed way of saying that America is going to have to go out and blow someone or something up real good in order to score a quick victory and convince the world that we are the big dogs once again.
    Or how else are you proposing to ‘deploy military resources’ to ‘restore credibility to the brand.’ What ‘tough choices’ are you talking about.
    Steve, I gotta say it out loud: That there is ‘kinder, gentler Nazi’ talk.
    I do not believe that you would have articulated such thoughts two or three years ago. Even in the few months since I last frequented a blog, there is a discernible moral erosion in your positions.
    My advice to you is to step back and clear your head. Go back to your roots and principles.

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  67. Punchy says:

    Mr. Clemons;
    With regards to the ME, I’d like to hear your take on the U.S.’s apparent refusal to engage in direct talks with Iran. Ignoring expert after expert after diplomat after academic, his Administration continues to refuse to talk; this tells me that they don’t WANT a fair, peaceful solution. I mean, what other impression should one have when even the Iranians are now asking for dialogue, and we’re STILL refusing? Isn’t this early March 2003 all over again? Fingers in both ears while shouting “lalalalalala I can’t hear you but I’ll bomb you anyways lalalalalala”?????
    A post on your thoughts is most appreciated.

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  68. yolanda says:

    I think what is missing from all the down in the mouth talk above, is that America is the Greatest Country in the World and that God Blesses America, and from these self evident Truths will spring Victory in whatever the United States sets out to do.
    I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows
    I believe that somewhere in the darkest night a candle glows
    I believe for everyone who goes astray someone will come to show the way
    I believe, I believe
    I believe above the storm the smallest prayer will still be heard
    I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word
    Every time I hear a newborn baby cry or touch a leaf or see the sky
    Then I know why I believe
    Take THAT you nihilists!

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  69. vachon says:

    November we vote the bastards out and turn off the money.

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  70. Neo Tom says:

    Con Geo Kost Bias, fails to mention that all the wonderful people in Iraq, who voted, voted for their own sectarian faction, and that the representatives they sent were sent to represent the interests of that faction, NOT the Iraqi people as a whole nation. And from these circumstances springs the eternal problem for Iraq as a nation, or in McCain’s words “Stop the bullshit!” Either Iraq holds together through a central strongman dictatorship, or it flies apart under the auspices of democracy, and between those two ends lies civil war. Call Clemons nihilistic Con Geo, but you are a childish, naive true believer in fairy tales, because reality would crush you.

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  71. Mike says:

    Discussion of victory is an illusion.
    When weapons posing an imminent and present danger to the seucurity of the US are found, then there can be talk of victory,
    anything else is just cleaning up your own mess

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  72. John B. says:

    Con George, what are you smoking and where can I get some?
    On another note, Sidney Blumenthal has been doing great work for sometime now. I would like to see him get broader recognition in the mainstream press for his on going series regarding this president and his administration.

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  73. word says:

    For anybody, with any supposed brains in international affairs and the ways of the world, to have said that the Americans were going to occupy Baghdad, they should have been stripped of all respect for anything that afterwards came out of their mouths. They and those who listened to and accepted this are truly the stupidest fucking people on the face of the earth, bar none. This is the bottom line that needs to be understood, the sheer stupidity of it all.

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  74. Con George-Kotzabasis says:

    Every escalating success in Iraq is disparaged and thrown into the quagmire of defeatism by the lachrymose nihilists of reality. The fact that ten million Iraqis participated in three elections, despite the threats and bombs of the insurgents, is totally devalued by the nihilistic critics of the Bush administration. The latest success, the formation of a government of national unity, is also considered to be at once by Clemons and Blumenthal, a ‘drifting point’ from a winning strategy. The new government is only two weeks old, yet they expect militia-demobilization to take place instantly. And “Malikis’ inability to fill the posts” of the ministries of defense and interior, which emanates from the disagreement among members of the government whether Sunnis or Shiates will occupy these positions, is attributed by Blumenthal, to the unwillingness of violent factions “to cede it to a central authority”, as if the members of government represent these factions and not millions of Iraqis who voted for them and against these factions. Blumenthal should get a standing ovation for this performance in legerdemain. He caps his illogical rigmarole by quoting General Abizaid that, “there is not a purely U.S. military solution…” as if the formation of a government of national unity is part of a military solution.
    My dear Clemons, Bush does not have to rebuff you, as you have already and unambiguously rebuffed your own arguments by your nihilistic position. It’s about time “to remove your belongings”, to quote Nabokov, from the field of strategic thinking. And I dare predict, that Iraq will be an American success, despite all the errors and reverses. In all wars mistakes and reverses occur. But the ‘art’ of statesmanship is to remain steadfast in difficult circumstances, while correcting the errors.

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  75. Noisy Pants says:

    Is this really just rhetoric coming from Bush?
    I think he truly believes either that we *are* winning (whatever he defines that as) or that it’s just a matter of truly believing we can win. To him, admitting defeat is defeat, and you can’t win without everyone thinking you’re winning. It goes hand in hand with his inability to take actual policy thought into account; everything is just a matter of ideas, and whoever forces their idea onto everyone else the most wins.
    I think the doubt this creates is more than just doubt in American power, it’s doubt in the ability of our leader to understand what’s happening in Iraq and the world. I don’t think he’s just lying or using rhetoric, I think he truly believes what he’s saying. And that’s much, much worse.

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  76. bakho says:

    Bush does not have a clear Iraq policy, only wishful thinking surrounding an alternate reality. There is no political solution that the US can impose on Iraq. Because the US failed to provide security after the end of the Iraq War, the US is not trusted to provide security now. Getting out of the mess that is Iraq will be long and hard and is unlikely to happen without internationalizing the problem. As long as Bush won’t negotiate with some of the most important parties, internationalization won’t happen. The US is stuck as middleman in a Civil War. In any Civil War, the last place to be is in the middle because then you have both sides shooting at you.

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  77. Hoplite says:

    Is anyone at all concerned with the fact that President Bush and his supporters have *inadvertently* fathered a burgeoning fundamentalist Islamic republic in direct response to the horrific attacks of 9/11?
    The US is spilling oceans of blood and spending hundreds of billions of dollars in order to prop up the Al Dawa party which suicide bombed the US embassy in Kuwait in 1983.
    Is the empowering of a terrorist organization in direct response to the horrific attacks of 9/11 not a concern?

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  78. Aunt Deb says:

    The rhetoric of the White House and those who support the president, the troops, and the GWOT will be able to accommodate withdrawal without admission of defeat. That is the goal: To be able to lay the blame on some lack of support, weakness of will, failure of imagination, blah blah blah, of others. This is the ‘if only’ of Constant Revisionism. It is also the hallmark of totalitarian rhetoric.
    As for what one’s position would have been had the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq been ‘successful’, I’m truly confused about what it is you are trying to say. How could this success possibly be measured? The standards keep changing. And what about the objection to pre-emptive violence, as a policy? Is that only if the pre-emptive assault turns into a complete mess?

    Reply

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