Pace May Nudge Bush on Troop Cut

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Not to be beaten by Senator John Warner who called last night for the beginning of modest troop withdrawals from Iraq, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace is reportedly going to urge President Bush to cut troop levels next year in Iraq by half. That would move the level deployed to roughly 80,000.
Reinforcing Pace and other generals uncomfortable with the maxed out conditions of the military, former JCS Army General George W. Casey Jr. reportedly stated that “We’re consumed with meeting the current demands, and we’re unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as we would like for other contingencies.”
The other contingencies refers mostly to Iran — which the military is not eager to engage, but knows that as long as the US armed forces look like they are near a breaking point, the value of the American military deterrent is low.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

41 comments on “Pace May Nudge Bush on Troop Cut

  1. jessica_amor_13@hotmil.live says:

    ola….
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    Reply

  2. MP says:

    Posted by Kathleen at August 25, 2007 12:35 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I doff my hat again. Did you win the fight?
    Amazing stuff about his wife.

    Reply

  3. Kathleen says:

    MP. perhaps, but McCain is so tempermental and short fused and Repugs know that.
    In my interactions with him on the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, I had a first hand experience of his red faced, livid temper when I brought the Chairwoman of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples to Washington in 1989, to stop the forced relocation of 10,000 Hopi and Navajo, legislation that McCain sponsored to accomodate Peaody Coal’s efforts to increasse their mining operations on tribal lands. Peabody Coal is one of McCain’s top 10 contributors. Not that I think Repugs give a damn about Native Americans, but I’m sure they’ve been regularly treated to his outbursts.
    And then there’s the matter of his wife’s drug addiction. She wasn’t just popping too many pills… she stole enough meds from the Federal gov’t to get caught and had to pay a fine of $30,000. Supposedly, she was unable to get sufficient pain relief from her gov’t health care benefits, so in her cpacity as director of a non-profit that was a quasi public agency, Ican’t remember the name now, but she was responsible for getting meds to third world countries, and claims she needed more meds than her doctor would give her.Sorry but how much do you have to steal for the Federal gov’t to notice? A shit load I’m sure. Given what went on with Iran-Contra, I’d say it could have been a creative campaign finance scheme. Miraculously, her back pain diqappeared when she got caught.A&E ran interviews of all the candidates’ wives in the 2000 campaign and I saw her say all this, herself… not about campaign financing.. that’s just my speculation.
    Think other Repugs are gonna let that fly? Think there are enough compassionate conservatives to give a druggy a break? If McCain were on the ticket, there’d be a lot of Indian casino money against him. Relocation issue took 15 years to bring down. It was a cause celebre around the world.

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “poa, You can’t compare mercenaries to regular troops.”
    I didn’t “compare them to regular troops”. That would be a mistake. They are not at all like regular troops. They are not bound by convention or law, and we the voters have no control over thier use, thier methods, or thier targets.
    And if you doubt, or are curious about their numbers, perhaps some research is in order on your part, eh?
    To exclude them from the dialiogue is a huge mistake. Just like Blackwater’s presence in New Orleans, armed with weapons we citizens are forbidden to own, should not be excluded from the dialogue about the Federal Government’s role in laying waste to an entire city and its people.

    Reply

  5. Don Bacon says:

    poa, You can’t compare mercenaries to regular troops. Your figures (who knows?) probably include cooks, warehousemen, tradesmen and drivers etc. as well as ‘security’ types who, while they are armed, do not have anywhere near the organization, weapons and equipment of the army and marines. Not even close.

    Reply

  6. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican at August 24, 2007 09:14 PM
    >>>>>>>
    I mentioned the mercs up above.
    Nothing has been said about removing them.
    I am betting they stay, particulary if Allawi is installed.
    There are 160,000 of them at last report. 20,000 more mercs than the 140,000 military troops.
    Iraq will continue as a “privatized’ contract war.
    And we will still be paying for it.
    MafiaUSA

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I cracks me up seeing over thirty posts concerning the “troops” in Iraq, yet nary a mention of the hundreds of thousands of mercenaries currently employed in Iraq by outfits such as Blackwater. If the numbers were far less, I could understand them not being part of the dialogue. But the numbers are such that one MUST consider them part and parcel of Bush’s Iraq “policy”. And if we were to pull the troops tomorrow, there would still be this huge army of mercenaries in Iraq, unbound by the Geneva conventions, and operating below the media radar. There’s more here than meets the eye, and a huge part of it is not even in the dialogue.

    Reply

  8. MP says:

    Posted by Kathleen at August 24, 2007 05:42 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I dunno. If McCain loses the primary (likely) he won’t have another shot at the WH. Giuliani promises to give him a substantive role as VP for which there is, ah, precedent, he might see it as a way to round out his career.
    As to the next election, my mother predicted a coup at the end of Reagan’s second term. She was sure they weren’t going to go gently into that good night.
    I have no argument for you. I’m assuming–and obviously hoping–there will be one. But no, I can’t guarantee it.

    Reply

  9. JohnH says:

    Anyone notice how Hillary, Carl Levin, and Bush happened to all be singing the same “al Maliki must go” song? At least until Bush had to do his “Hellluva job, Maliki” retraction.
    In case there was ever any doubt, this Iraq fiasco is now clearly a bi-partisan scam. Brzezinski calls Hillary’s foreign policy “very conventional.” I call her a neocon playing the critic.

    Reply

  10. Kathleen says:

    MP.. perish the thought. There’s no way McCain will be second fiddle. He’s waaay tooo self important.
    And Guiliani…. puhleeeze.. it won’t be long before we start hearing about Mob connections.
    Besides, what makes you so sure we’ll have another election? What was the point of sneaking all that fine print into various laws that makes it possible to cart us all away, if they weren’t planning to use any of it? Did they not have anything to do?
    Ostensibly, the contract to Halliburton to build relocation centers was for those pesky and scarey “illegal aliens” but the fine print says anyone who fits their definition of enemy combatant.
    Remember Busholini said he doesn’t mind a dictatorship if he’s the dictator. Maybe I’ll change his name to Dick Tater.

    Reply

  11. MP says:

    Posted by Carroll at August 24, 2007 04:31 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Keep a copy for yourself and re-read it on January 20 when President Giuliani is inaugurated. With VP McCain at his side.

    Reply

  12. Don Bacon says:

    Secretary Gates will be at the center of this, and he hasn’t made a peep since almost three weeks ago when he suggested troop withdrawals might start this year. If Gates doesn’t side with Pace he may face a Pentagon revolt; if he does than Bush may shove him out like he did Rumsfeld on this same issue nearly a year ago.
    We have a situation in our ‘democracy’ where palace intrigue might (MIGHT) do what our elected reps are unwilling to do, i.e. obey the will of the people.

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    Election Central America Abroad Warren Reports Coffee House Discussion Tables
    What Candidates Need To Say on the Middle East
    By M.J. Rosenberg | bio
    The Iowa straw poll and a good half dozen Democratic debates are behind us but the campaigns have yet to fully engage in the predictable, and by now ritualistic, arguments about who is “better” on Israel. That is probably because none of the major candidates has said or posted very much about Israel that is not routine fare, designed not to offend anyone.
    Campaign staffers tell their bosses to tread very carefully (if at all) on this issue, recalling the trouble Howard Dean got into in 2004 when he suggested that America’s Middle East policy should be “even-handed.” Having never served in Congress, Dean did not know that the inside-the-beltway guardians of the Israel issue had decided that the phrase “even-handed” was code for anti-Israel and was therefore verboten. I doubt any candidate will make that mistake again.
    But there will be other “mistakes.”
    Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has already come up against the sheer craziness that surrounds Jewish issues in a Presidential campaign. Huckabee, who is famous for having shed a hundred pounds, not long ago joked that for awhile he looked like he “just come out of six weeks at a concentration camp held by the Democratic Party of Arkansas in an undisclosed location….”
    Huckabee was immediately pounced upon, with one Jewish organizational official demanding Huckabee apologize to the Jewish community. “It’s insensitive, and we think making light of the Holocaust isn’t something any elected official should be doing.”
    The Holocaust?
    To his credit, Huckabee – who is now as well-known for talking straight as losing weight — refused to apologize. “I never identified a particular kind of camp, and to make such a far-reaching statement is laughable and is the type of allegation that makes people cynical.”
    And cynical is precisely what people should be – or at least skeptical – as they hear candidates and their spokespeople call out other candidates for being anti-Israel when they deviate from the script each campaign is handed on Middle East issues.
    This is nothing new. It has been happening virtually every four years since the establishment of Israel. However, it was only after the Six Day War of 1967, that both parties began exploiting the Israel issue with anything like the vigor – not to mention the nastiness – we see today.
    There is a certain irony here. In the first two decades after the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel — when there were millions of Holocaust survivors still among us and Israel was truly fighting for its life — it did not occur to ideologues and partisans within the pro-Israel or Jewish communities to use either as wedge issues to score political gain.
    That all changed after ’67. At the very moment when Israel was at its strongest, suddenly it became acceptable, even necessary, to defend Israel as never before. Of course, at this point, it was no longer Israel itself that was being defended but rather Israel’s right to the occupied territories.
    After all, in the wake of the Six Day War and the threats to Israel’s existence that preceded it, there was no need to convince any American politician that Israel had the right to defend itself. The only question was whether it had a right to the territories. That hasn’t changed in the 40 years since.
    Nevertheless, since 1967 almost every candidate has been accused of being weak on Israel. At the same time, each of the six Presidents elected since 1968 has maintained the basic policy first endorsed by President Lyndon B. Johnson following the 1967 war, i.e. to implement United Nations Resolution 242 (and later 338), calling for the exchange of lands occupied in the Six Day War for a secure and lasting peace.
    Each President since LBJ has favored the land for peace formula, and so will the next President.
    But that won’t deter campaigns from using the Israel issue for maximum advantage in 2008, because that is what politicians do. It is a game called “gotcha.” It is played by scouring an opponent’s record or utterances to find the one phrase or comment that will cause a particular interest group to come down on him like a ton of bricks. “Gotcha” is at the heart of every negative campaign and, no wonder, it often works.
    Is it any wonder that candidates seem to go to great lengths to avoid saying anything remotely substantive on the Middle East. They simply utter platitudes about supporting Israel, despising terrorism, and believing in peace – in the abstract. Knowing that any substantive statement could be used against them, candidates just play it safe. And the most vocal segments of the pro-Israel community encourage them by criticizing constructive suggestions as anti-Israel, and by giving ovations and donations to candidates who tell them what they want to hear.
    It’s all a game, but a dangerous one. That is because although each President since 1968 has been committed to the peace process, few have dared to do anything about it (Carter, Bush I, and Clinton being the exceptions). Most have felt locked in both by the commitments they made during the campaign and because they know that, whether Democrat or Republican, they will be pounced on by House and Senate Members who will try to score political points, and enhance their prospects for re-election, by demonstrating that they will defend Israel against any President who puts Middle East peace near the top of his agenda.
    So what should a candidate say? I’ve put forth my prescription before and I’ll say it again. He or she should say: “If I am elected president, I will do everything in my power to bring about negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians with the goal of achieving peace and security for Israel and a secure state for the Palestinians.”
    One more thing. Reading the candidates statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issued so far, I see that they tend to focus only on what Palestinians need to do to end the conflict. They must agree to live in peace with Israel, extirpate the terrorists, accept all previous agreements with Israel, build democratic institutions, clean up their textbooks, monitor hate speech in mosques etc, etc. That is usually just for starters. As for Israel, it need not do anything. The candidates do not mention the illegal outposts, the settlements, the checkpoints, or even the occupation itself. It is as if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one in which one side is all victim and the other all perpetrator. This, of course, bears no resemblance to reality and the candidates know it.
    Candidates and their advisers need to know that we understand that the lowest-common-denominator pandering he or she engages in as a candidate is a harbinger of policies he will pursue as President. And they need to know that we understand that those policies will make more terrorism and violence more likely, not less, including here at home.
    The status quo is bad for Israel and for Palestinians, and disastrous for America’s interests throughout the Middle East. Candidates should not listen to those who tell them that they must endorse it.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    “and disastrous for America’s interests throughout the Middle East.”
    And I might add disastrous to all humanity.
    Well I am one voter/donor who is not going to play this game on Israel or any other corruption any longer…and I am putting this reason for my non vote in writting and sending it to both the dem and repub heads and the candidates.
    The revolt has to start somewhere. Do I want to destroy my county? No, I want to destroy this government. This government isn’t my country.

    Reply

  14. ToddinHB says:

    Punchy says,
    “They have an uncaged tiger by the tail and don’t know how to let go.”
    Instead, try this one on for size:
    In the docudrama, “Touching the Void,” two mountain climbers are caught in a storm descending a perilous face. One has a broken leg and is being lowered by a line tied to the other. When the disabled climber falls over a precipice, the other climber sits with the straining rope, unable to see or communicate with the disabled climber. He is faced with a choice. He can either continue holding the line until he succumbs to the elements and they both die, or he can cut the line and live, possibly killing his partner in the process.
    Ultimately, he cuts the line and descends the mountain, only to find that his partner is also alive, having survived the fall and managing to make the descent successfully, even with a busted leg and no assistance.
    That, my friend, is where we find ourselves in Iraq. We’re holding the rope and we can either hold tight and die, or cut it and survive.
    Where’s the knife?

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    BTW….does removing all but 80,000 US troops include removing the 160,000 merc contractors also?
    Or will the bulk of mercs remain as “enforcers” for Allawi’s regime if we install him?
    And what are 80,000 left going to do that 140,00 couldn’t accomplish?

    Reply

  16. Carroll says:

    The major thing about this is it reflects the absolute DESPERATION of US/Isr. If they installed Allawi as the Isrmerica strongman then you will see a total bloodbath and Allawi will be assassinated in short order.
    “PM Nuri al-Maliki responded to Senator Carl Levin’s (D-Michigan) call for him to be unseated, and Bush’s failure to support him on Tuesday by unwisely getting hot under the collar and saying he can find other friends in the world to support his endeavor.
    I predicted that Levin’s unwise and inappropriate comment (in a conference call with Tel Aviv!– Americans have no clue about Middle Eastern politics) would elicit an angry response.
    Levin managed to make it look as though he were ordered by the Israeli government to see al-Maliki gotten rid of because he was making economic deals with Syria (thus strengthening the latter). I underline that such an interpretation is unfounded, but that is how many in the region see it. Levin is usually sure-footed and careful on Middle East issues, including especially Iraq, so I can’t understand why he wants to appoint himself secretary of state all of a sudden.
    The serial episodes of unwisdom are lengthening and feeding on one another. Now Hillary Clinton has urgedthat al-Maliki be unseated.
    But as Farah Stockman of the Boston Globe and Damien Cave of the NYT point out, it may not be easy for parliament to dump al-Maliki. And, Senator Clinton should be more careful about this sort of thing. Here’s a scenario: al-Maliki survives and is PM in January 2009, and Hillary is inaugurated as US president. She now has to deal with him in arranging for an orderly withdrawal of US troops. She needs him, depends on his sway with Shiite militias to have them avoid harassing our troops on their way through the Shiite south to Kuwait. And he should put himself out to help her at that point. . . why?
    Of course, al-Maliki’s survival is a little unlikely (see above), but it is not out of the bounds of the possible and wisdom would dictate taking that possibility into account.
    Presidential candidates should not box themselves in on foreign policy issues by making categorical statements of this sort. Hillary Clinton has to stop talking like a junior senator and start thinking like a president if she wants to succeed abroad.
    Labels: Iraq
    posted by Juan Cole @ 8/23/2007
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Burn Washington the the Ground and Start Over

    Reply

  17. easy e says:

    Earl writes: “Only Israel benefits from these endless Middle East wars.”
    I’d be interested in hearing how you thinks this “benefiting” works.
    Posted by MP at August 24, 2007 02:10 PM
    distracts from palestinian issue, zionist/likudnik expansion aims, and keeping arab neighbors de-fanged. divide & conquer.

    Reply

  18. Carroll says:

    Earl writes: “Only Israel benefits from these endless Middle East wars.”
    I’d be interested in hearing how you thinks this “benefiting” works.
    Posted by MP at August 24, 2007 02:10 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    I think what he is trying to say is that the US Israeli Lukids “think” their war mongerling benefits their Greater Israel dream.
    However Israel has benefited by that 25% increase in US taxpayer aid for the next 10 years. Israel has to stay at war and create turmoil in the region in order to stay on the US welfare roll. If they ever made peace they lose their reason for demanding so much US money. They will always be at one war or another…right up to the very end…which the Lukids in their amazing hubris and stupidity are assuring.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    A guy named Hazem Shaalan, Allawi’s “billion dollar buddy”. Looks like he’s part of the INC crowd that embezzled billions from Iraq’s coffers in ’04…..most probably with U.S. assistance (can you say neocon?).
    http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/003990.php
    Posted by easy e at August 24, 2007 12:50 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Interesting.
    And most telling is that the US did not demand that Jordan hand over details of that account.
    Why would the US not demand that?
    Because that billion was stolen with Isrmerica help and has long been divied up for covert operations and as payoffs to the errand boy theifs.
    “How does Allawi pay for his lucrative contract with GOP lobbying powerhouse Barbour Griffith & Rogers? The obvious guess is that his old buddies at the CIA pay for him. But he may not need the agency’s cash. One member of his coterie is suspected of participating in what an Iraqi public-corruption judge calls “possibly the largest robbery in the world” — the theft of approximately $1 billion from the Iraqi treasury.
    What happened to the rest of the fund and other missing defense-ministry cash remains a mystery. But Iraqi auditors determined that around $1 billion moved from the Central Bank to accounts in Jordan held by a man named Naer Jumaili, an Iraqi businessman whom Shaalan made his unofficial procurement chief. Jordanian banks refused requests from Ali Allawi and other investigators to peruse the details of Jumaili’s accounts, so it remains unclear exactly how much money they possess.”
    >>>>>>>>
    Butn Washington to the Ground and Start Over.

    Reply

  20. MP says:

    Earl writes: “Only Israel benefits from these endless Middle East wars.”
    I’d be interested in hearing how you thinks this “benefiting” works.

    Reply

  21. Linda says:

    I’m not so sure any of the details above make much practical difference. Iraqis aren’t going to get it together, and without a draft we can’t sustain these troop levels for more than 6-9 months. It took more than 7 years to withdraw from Vietnam from 1968-1974–after we lost that war. Vietnamization never really succeeded because Vietnam really was one country. Iraq probably may never be. All we are seeing is a lot of political posturing within the Beltway and inside the Green Zone about details, credit, and blame. I just wonder if there will be the equivalent of a Tet Offensive between now and September 15.

    Reply

  22. Earl says:

    Nobody is going anywhere (until zionists say so). Only Israel benefits from these endless Middle East wars. Iraq is the beginning. As we commit war-crimes in Baghdad, the US gov’t commits treason at home by opening mail, eliminating habeas corpus, using the judiciary to steal private lands, banning books like “America Deceived” from Amazon and Wikipedia, conducting warrantless wiretaps and engaging in illegal wars on behalf of AIPAC’s ‘money-men’. Soon, another US false-flag operation will occur (sinking of an Aircraft Carrier by Mossad) and the US will invade Iran.. Then we’ll invade Syria, then Saudi Arabia, then Lebanon (again) then ….
    Final link (before Google Books bends to gov’t demands and censors the title):
    http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-38523-0

    Reply

  23. Kathleen says:

    What surprises me is why it took so long for Repugs to turn on Maliki. After all, he wasn’t supposed to win the election. Chalabi was. That’s who the money was backing.
    As for Dopey mouthing support for Maliki, it’s not the first time he’s said one thing and done another. Besides having Bush on your side in Iraq is the kiss of death, so perhaps Dopey is hoping to incite Iraqis against Maliki, so he can claim it was the Iraqi people who overthrew Maliki. See, freedom works.
    I’ve said from the beginning that there was no exit strategy because they never intended to leave. They need a place to park our military in the ME, now that we had to leave Saudi Arabia and they want to foment war with Iraq’s neighbors, Iran and Syria.
    Hillary gets a big fat F in my book. Who does she think would take Maliki’s place and by what “democratic method” would his replacement be chosen? If non-functionality is the criteria for a head of state stepping down, she should be calling for Dopey and Darth to step down. Clean your own house first, girl.

    Reply

  24. easy e says:

    ***ALL EYES SHOULD BE ON IRAN***
    As Pace proposes troop cuts, our criminal administration seeks to tie failed Iraq policy to Iran (IED’s instead of nukes). CIA to step up Iran operations…..
    http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Eyeing_strike_Bush_Administration_shifts_Iran_0824.html
    Also see FOX Attacks: Iran
    http://foxattacks.com/iran?utm_source=rgemail
    **************
    The bus is about to go off the cliff unless sane passengers regain control.

    Reply

  25. easy e says:

    Where is Ayad Allawi getting the money for his lobbying campaign?
    Posted by: Carroll at August 24, 2007 11:57 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    A guy named Hazem Shaalan, Allawi’s “billion dollar buddy”. Looks like he’s part of the INC crowd that embezzled billions from Iraq’s coffers in ’04…..most probably with U.S. assistance (can you say neocon?).
    http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/003990.php

    Reply

  26. JohnH says:

    Yep, Allawi da man. Here’s part of the PR blitz to promote him: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/17/AR2007081701579.html
    Allawi is a trusted CIA asset who will surely do whatever he is told, like enacting a Hydrocarbon Law written in Washington. The European democracies will surely all rush to recognize the fall of the Iraqi democracy. But how can Allawi, like his predecessors, ever expect to rule over more than the Green Zone?

    Reply

  27. John Shreffler says:

    Good for Pace. He essentially got fired for standing up and threatening his public resignation with grounds therefor if Bush and Cheney didn’t take the nuclear annex off of the Iran war plan, or so I heard. Now on his way out, this perfectly marvelous bank shot. Steve, this is really about Iran, you know. Pace is tying to change the subject and make Bush and Cheney defend where they’re weak, rather than to try and attack them headlong on their Iran as the source of all Evil narrative. Hope it works

    Reply

  28. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH at August 24, 2007 12:03 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Could be wrong but I think the rumors of coup Cole is referring to is connected to the push to have Allawi reinstalled by the US.
    Or maybe not, could be more than one coup being planned. coups are always last resoprt. Too bad the US doesn’t have one in the pipeline at home.

    Reply

  29. Carroll says:

    A reminder on Allawi.
    If democracy doesn’t do the trick, go back to US installed strongman stooges.
    Brillant.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    * Allawi is related to Ahmed Chalabi, another prominent former exile and now disgraced though somewhat rehabilitated U.S. ally, through his sister. Former minister of trade Ali Allawi is Chalabi’s sister’s son as well as Iyad Allawi’s cousin. The relationship between Chalabi and Allawi has been described as alternating between rivals and allies.[1] In addition, Nouri Badran, interim Minister of Interior, is married to Iyad Allawi’s sister.[2]
    * US support for INA(Allawi) continued, receiving $6 million covert aid in 1996 and $5 million in 1995
    * A secret document written in 2002 by the British Overseas and Defence Secretariat reportedly stated that within Iraq, Allawi was seen as “a western stooge” who “lacked domestic credibility
    * On July 17, two Australian newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald [4], [5] and The Age [6], published an article alleging that one week before the handover of sovereignty, Allawi himself summarily executed six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station. The allegations are backed up by two independent sources[19] and the execution is said to have taken place in presence of about a dozen Iraqi police, four American security men and Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib. Mr Allawi reportedly said that the execution was to “send a clear message to the police on how to deal with insurgents”. Both Allawi’s office and Naqib have denied the report.

    Reply

  30. JohnH says:

    Yes, the Iraq discussion is totally crazy. But the beltway discussion is not what matters, because it’s just an elaborate show to make the American people believe that policies are actually being reconsidered and offer the mirage of hope for an end.
    Warner has proposed an INITIAL troop withdrawl, a symbolic gesture designed to “threaten” the Iraqi government. He specifically rejected timetables and proposed only a token withdrawl, which was probably necessitated more by over extension of the troops’ duty cycles than anything else.
    Meanwhile, Juan Cole covers the real action: “A rumor is circulating among well-connected and formerly high-level Iraqi bureaucrats in exile in places like Damascus that a military coup is being prepared for Iraq.” http://www.juancole.com/ (see August 23 post)
    Why the need for a coup? Robert Fisk explains how the Iraqi government has failed: “their elected leaders are not doing what we want them to do.” http://news.independent.co.uk/fisk/article2886358.ece
    Read: Iraq’s elected officials have not reconciled themselves to their role as underlings, whose primary job is to legitimize American exploitation of oil (via the hydrocarbon law) and to provide enough security and stability to allow that to happen.

    Reply

  31. carsick says:

    pauline,
    The neo-cons have their odious opinions but ultimately the ones responsible are the ones in power who gave their opinions credence by taking their advice. KKK supporters have the right to voice their opinions but any elected official who implements their views is the one culpable.

    Reply

  32. pauline says:

    On Fox News this morning, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol said that the escalation in Iraq should be extended at least “another six months” or even “another year or so.” “Is the cost of losing in Iraq great enough that we need to stretch our Army and Marines for another year or so?” asked Kristol rhetorically. “I think the President’s gonna make that decision.”
    Kristol also attempted to spin the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released yesterday, which described a failure of the escalation to successfully provide sufficient security for Iraqis, heralding it as proof that “the surge clearly is working” and that current troop levels should be maintained for “another six months or so.”
    Kristol’s hawkish desire to “stretch our Army and Marines” for “another year or so” is in direct contradiction to the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff, whose outgoing chairman, Gen. Peter Pace, “is likely to convey concerns by the Joint Chiefs that keeping well in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq through 2008 will severely strain the military.”
    But disregarding the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is nothing new for Kristol. In December 2006, when the Bush administration began arguing for the current troop escalation, the Joint Chiefs unanimously disagreed with the strategy. For his part, Kristol has never served in the military and was one of the most cocksure voices pushing for the current escalation strategy.
    Additionally, Kristol’s interpretation of the NIE is dishonest. While the report observed some “measurable but uneven improvements” in Iraq’s security situation, it also cautioned that violence will remain high, the national government will become more “precarious” and the refugee crisis will continue to worsen due to sectarian violence. Hardly a situation that can be deemed as “clearly working.”
    http://thinkprogress.org/

    Reply

  33. Carroll says:

    Why anyone thinks this system of government policy by “lobbies” is worth continuing or that corruption isn’t embedded in the DNA of both parties is beyond me.
    The fat lady has sung on this democracy. Live with it or overturn it.
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/index.html
    In a solid piece of reporting, CNN yesterday disclosed that the most powerful GOP lobbying firm, run by former GOP Party Chair Haley Barbour and staffed by key former Bush national security officials, is being paid by Allawi to coordinate these anti-Maliki, pro-Allawi efforts:
    A powerhouse Republican lobbying firm with close ties to the White House has begun a public campaign to undermine the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, CNN has confirmed. . . .
    A senior Bush administration official told CNN the White House is aware of the lobbying campaign by Barbour Griffith & Rogers because the firm is “blasting e-mails all over town” criticizing al-Maliki and promoting the firm’s client, former interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, as an alternative to the current Iraqi leader. . . .
    Allawi hires the most powerful GOP firm in the country, with former top Bush officials as partners, and almost immediately, the key Op-Ed pages of our nation’s newspapers open up to him and all of official Washington, beginning with the President, changes course. Suddenly, key figures in both parties begin calling for Maliki to be replaced.
    Most extraordinary of all is how deceitful this whole process is. As CNN reports: “The lobbying firm boasts the services of two onetime foreign policy hands of President Bush: Ambassador Robert Blackwill, the former Deputy National Security Adviser, and Philip Zelikow, former counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
    But currently, Zelikow in particular runs around Washington holding himself out — and being held out — as an Expert on the Future of Iraq while concealing that his firm is being paid by Allawi to undermine Maliki. As but one example, Zelikow was a featured Iraq Expert on ABC News with Charles Gibson three nights ago, on Monday.
    Reporter Martha Raddatz narrated the story which began (via LEXIS): “today, for the first time, President Bush said Maliki could be replaced.” The story then flashed to Michael O’Hanlon, who said: “I think Mr. Bush made a very significant change in his policy today. He made it clear that his support for al-Maliki is on very thin ice.”
    Shortly thereafter, Raddatz said: “The former counselor to Secretary of State Rice says a plan B is now likely being considered,” and then showed Zelikow — identified on-screen only as a “Former Counselor to the State Department” — who said:
    I can confidently guess that our government is quietly speculating about a lot of different options knowing how much concern Iraqis have about their leadership.
    So Zelikow, an Extremely Respected Washington Leader, strongly insinuates that the Bush administration is working to depose Maliki and warns the country of “how much concern Iraqis have about their leadership” without disclosing that his lobbying firm is being paid to achieve that result and that the prime beneficiary is his client. This is fraud and deceit of the highest order. How can this not, by itself, destroy Zelikow’s credibility on every level? Just fathom the reams of pious journalistic condemantion if a blogger did something like this.
    But the fraud seems even deeper than that. The CNN article yesterday, citing an anonymous Bush source, claimed that “White House officials are not privately involved or blessing the lobbying campaign to undermine al-Maliki.” CNN quoted the official: “There’s just no connection whatsoever. There’s absolutely no involvement.”
    But Zelikow, at least, now seems to have some official role in forming Bush policy on Iraq. Zelikow was originally scheduled to testify about the Future of Iraq at a July 18 hearing of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, but on the day of the hearing, the Subcommittee’s Chairman, Vic Snyder, announced (via LEXIS):
    We also had originally scheduled Dr. Philip Zelikow, who had worked with Secretary Rice I think from 1905 — I’m sorry, 2005 to 2007. I want to just touch on these details for a minute. A very smart guy, we were looking forward to him being here. He had finalized his written statement with the staff on late Monday afternoon. It was distributed to all our members on Tuesday morning and sometime in mid-morning, we received a call from his assistant that he would have to cancel.
    I put in a call to him to try to get him to change his mind. It turned out he called back later that day and informed us that somewhere in that intervening time the administration had approached him about being a consultant with the administration and work on Iraq war policy. And he didn’t think it was appropriate for him to be testifying publicly.
    At least according to what Zelikow told Chairman Snyder, “the administration had approached him about being a consultant with the administration and work on Iraq war policy.” Although it is unclear if he accepted, one can presume that he did, since he cited that formal consulting relationship with the Bush administration as the reason why it was now inappropriate for him to testify in public about Iraq. Is Zelikow formally working with his old administration colleagues to form Iraq policy while being paid by Ayad Allawi to restore him back to power?
    It really is very strange how all of Official Washington, seemingly at the same time, collectively decided to turn on Prime Minister Maliki — who, after all, was elected democratically and was the leader in whom we were placing all of our hopes for progress in Iraq. Obviously, there is a very potent and well-funded effort to induce exactly that policy change at the highest levels of Republican power. The CNN article stated the obvious:
    Pressed on why allies of the White House would be contradicting the president so publicly, the senior administration official said of the lobbyists, “They’re making a lot of money.”
    In his great undercover article in Harper’s on the seedy lobbyist industry (which many fake Beltway journalists revealingly condemned), Real Journalist Ken Silverstein documented how easily the best-paid lobbyists can single-handedly change Beltway media coverage, ensure the placement in key Editorial spaces (such as Hiatt’s Washington Post) of positive Op-Eds, and even “develop[] seemingly independent and therefore more credible allies to offer favorable views about” their clients. That is obviously exactly what is going on here. Our Very Serious People are making Serious Decisions about our war policy influenced, at least, by people with all sorts of financial incentives that are undisclosed.
    The whole media/Beltway edifice is built on this rotating, interconnected filth. But this case is so egregious. One of Washington’s Most Respected National Security Experts, key Rice advisor (and 9/11 Commission Executive Director) Philip Zelikow, is running around Washington trying to engineer the fall of the Iraqi government — testifying at Congressional hearings and appearing on network news programs, perhaps even working officially again for the Bush administration — all while being fraudulently held out as an objective expert and concealing that he is being paid by the prime beneficiary of these policies.
    In a political culture with even the most minimal amounts of integrity, this would be a major scandal. But in our political culture, it is simply a vivid exhibit illustrating how our political system works.
    UPDATE: Joan Walsh has the excerpt where White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, when asked why GOP lobbyists would be undermining Maliki, said: “Maybe it’s a really good contract.”
    But, as Walsh notes, that is not really the main issue here. That is just garden-variety Beltway corruption — top government officials leave and then immediately collect large amounts of money to influence their former colleagues to obtain favorable governmental policies. Numerous top Clinton officials have spent the last six years getting rich doing exactly that. That this happens even when it comes to our war policies is striking, but still par for the Beltway course.
    But what is extraordinary is Zelikow’s deceitful pretense that he is a neutral Iraq commentator — both while testifying before Congress and pontificating on our network news programs. That really is just outright fraud.
    Moreover, the strident denials by Bush officials that the administration is involved in any way in these efforts appears to be contradicted by what Zelikow told Rep. Snyder about his new formal relationship with the administration — something that is, at the very least, worth looking further into.
    — Glenn Greenwald
    >>>>>>>>
    Where is Ayad Allawi getting the money for his lobbying campaign?

    Reply

  34. MP says:

    Pauline writes: “How is it the Defense Policy Board has more say so than the Pentagon in war matters?”
    But it doesn’t. There were OTHER generals who agreed. Generals don’t all think alike.

    Reply

  35. pauline says:

    How is it the Defense Policy Board has more say so than the Pentagon in war matters?
    Our military’s commander-in-chief followed the Defense Policy Board’s “recommendations” for going to war with Iraq over the objections of several generals — all when Perle and the warmonger neocons were running the DPB.
    Anyone who thinks the neocon firsters weren’t in there throwing our troops into a winless, unnecessary conflict just for the sake of Israel’s desires to let someone else do their misguided dirty work — all these firsters should be jailed for treason.
    Oh, wait…though…many of them would all just escape using their dual passports — never to be returned to the US for justice!

    Reply

  36. EA says:

    Great points carsick.
    Iraq has usurped so much. China and Russia have been on the sidelines basking in the light of our distraction. We have been pathetic poker players: we have shown our inevitable competitors our hand. We have shown our limits, our vulnerabilities.
    Our foreign policy must look mad to an outsider. Like a patient with OCD (obsessive complusive disorder). We continue to react to our reactions ad infinitum. The policy loop of death. Washing our hands to the point of bleeding.
    The Dems will ride this loop on their political surfboard to cash in on the angst, expressed at the ballot box, that will continue to build against Repubs. We are beholden to the Big Game of these two teams (D v. R). R has got us into a mess. D won’t get us out; they’ll cash in at the polls (because they are non-R’s). We are leaderless, adrift, at the mercy of this vicious loop. These are the loops that send empires from Hegemonic levels to Fallen ones.

    Reply

  37. DonS says:

    Digby is conviced it’s all Kabuki on Warner’s part, and that the dems don’t mind having a scapegoat either, kick the can down the road and all that.
    http://tinyurl.com/3ymb7a
    It is hard to imagine what other purpose Warner’s much nuanced, ever-so-polite formulation might be except as a coordinated move with the White House. The guy’s cultivaed this courtly kind of demeanor, but still his ‘critique’ is so milquetoast it is impossible to take it seriously as protest and real diversion from the President — although that is just what the main stream drones have done of course.
    Warner, along with the vast majority of politicians continue to heap disgrace on themselves, their office, and American stature. It’s way too late for anything but abject confession and radical shift in direction.
    As for Pace, I really don’t have a read on what his game/aim is.

    Reply

  38. MP says:

    Posted by Kathleen at August 24, 2007 09:56 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You are most certainly not alone.
    I don’t even think it’s “oil” anymore.
    They have an uncaged tiger by the tail and don’t know how to let go.

    Reply

  39. Punchy says:

    General Pace is living in la-la land if he thinks Bush will reduce troop levels. He will never do so, because it opens him up to blame if/when things go REALLY south. Bush neither understands nor cares what a “strained military” means.
    This is the terrible yet predictable outcome of having a president and vice-pres. without any military experience.

    Reply

  40. carsick says:

    It seems to me the debate is still so Middle East centric that it is overlooking other contingencies that have traditionally cropped up. Russia is reasserting itself which may require some flexing of muscle we don’t have. The African continent still has emerging issues which may require more flexing. Global environmental changes may require our Reserves and National Guard domestically in some way.
    Iran gets the focus but Israel/Syria/Lebanon et. al. may also require attention at some point.
    I’m sure other issues will crop up that are currently unknown unknowns.
    A broken military is a broken military and if we are thinking of patching it up (not fixing it) just for the sake of attacking Iran is more of the nearsighted thinking that got us into our current predicament.

    Reply

  41. Kathleen says:

    Is it just me or does anyone else think the discussion of Iraq policy seems totally off the wall crazy these days? It is all over the place with no coherent end goal. Neither Dopey and Darth or the Demz have a grip on how to extricate ourselves from the disaster of our own making.
    There are perfectly sensible plans for withdrawing our troops offered both by the elected Iraqi Parliament and Dennis Kucinich.
    Our intransigence and refusal to respect the wishes of the Iraqi people can only mean that Demz as well as Repugs want the oil, at whatever cost, except of course paying the Iraqis a fair price for it.
    The confusion comes from all the dissembling on both sides of the aisle to cover up their true desire for the Iraqi oil law to be passed. That’s all we care about, so we can have a piece of paper that makes our piracy “legal”.
    Sick.

    Reply

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