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:: Friday, April 23, 2004 ::

White House Says Iraq Sovereignty Could Be Limited

Now, what's the number one complaint of rebelling Iraqis? It's their belief that American intends to turn Iraq into a puppet state, forever doing the West's bidding. How does George Bush address those problems?
The Bush administration's plans for a new caretaker government in Iraq would place severe limits on its sovereignty, including only partial command over its armed forces and no authority to enact new laws, administration officials said Thursday.

These restrictions to the plan negotiated with Lakhdar Brahimi, the special United Nations envoy, were presented in detail for the first time by top administration officials at Congressional hearings this week, culminating in long and intense questioning on Thursday at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's hearing on the goal of returning Iraq to self-rule on June 30.
I can hear the guerrillas in Fallujah and the would-be martyrs in Najaf laying down their weapons with a vast sigh of relief, secure in the knowledge that they will rule their own lives.

I realize this is only an "interim" government until elections are held, but I'd be hard pressed to think of a more inflammatory set of restrictions than these, short of requiring baptism prior to voting.
:: Morat 9:43 AM :: ::

Dog Update

Well, I just got back from the vet. The younger dog (Dala) is fine. She was given her rabies and distemper/parvo shots, as well as a heartworm shot. The older dog (Elvis) however, is a different case. He was given his rabies and distemper shots, but unfortunately he has heartworms. Thankfully, they're considerably easier to treat than they were twenty years ago (the last time anyone in my family owned a dog with heartworms), but it's still an expensive treatment.

Currently, I'm waiting on some lab results. An advanced case of heartworms can damage a dog's kidney and liver functions, and the best treatment for heartworms requires a well functioning liver and kidneys. On the bright side, the dog isn't showing any overt symptoms. No congestion, no weight loss, and no loss of energy (if anything, he's got more energy than Dala, who is half his age). So I'm hoping he's only been infected since last summer.

If the lab tests come back okay, then he'll be spending the weekend at the vet's, and I'll bring him back in a month for a follow up shot. For the next six months he's on the chewable heartworm pills, and after that -- should he test free of worms -- he'll go on the six month injection series. They're a bit cheaper, and they're certainly easier to keep up (at least for me).

The bill damn near broke me, being just shy of seven hundred dollars. That covers the entire treatment, including the followup, but doesn't cover any costs related to complications (generally congestion requiring steroids). Oh well. I knew I was getting too optimistic about money. Thank god that, for once, I have enough in savings to cover it. It might make late summer a bit harder, cash wise, but that's a problem for another day.

Update: Liver and kidney fuctions tested out fine, and treatment began around 11:00 AM.
:: Morat 8:54 AM :: ::

:: Thursday, April 22, 2004 ::

Barking up the wrong tree

While I can understand Tacitus' frustration, because each country bailing out places more of the burden on the backs of American soldiers, I think he's simply off base on his conclusion:
Hot on the heels of the detailed British instructions on How to Beat Us, we see the Thais issuing the same explicit directions (note to Thai PM: you just guaranteed a dead Thai soldier), and the Italians paying ransom to terrorist hostage-takers. All this on top of the Americans' supine willingness to call war 'peace.' And of course the Spanish fiction that withdrawing from Iraq doesn't constitute a terrorist victory.

Is there any participant in this war with a backbone? Besides the jihadis?
I don't think it's a matter of "backbone" at all, but a simple matter of risk versus reward. If I buy into a stock at 20 a share, and it drops to 15 and all indicators are that it's going to continue to plunge, am I a coward by cutting my losses and selling? Would holding that stock until the better end somehow mean I have more backbone?

No. The situation changed, and the reward was no longer worth the risk.

Those few nations that were ever members of the "Coalition of the Willing" joined against the express wishes of their constituents...the very people they're supposed to represent. They showed backbone by bucking the populace and agreeing to send their troops into harm's way to deal with what they believed was a threat.

Is it cowardly to rethink your position? Why should they stay?

There are no weapons of mass destruction, no international terrorists, no threats to their homeland. Just a bloody war of choice that gets worse by the day...and a dawning realization that nothing they do can fix it. There was, in fact, no reward (no threats to be neutralized) and plenty of risk no one told them about.

I don't call that "cowardly". I call that "prudence". They're in a no win situation, and the only country with enough power to maybe tilt the balance has spent 12 months showing their gross incompetence. How can the leaders of Thailand, Britain, Poland, Italy, or Spain sell their continued military presence to the public? Because without public support, they'll be out on their cans next election, and the troops will come home regardless.

What's in Iraq that's worth dying for? Iraq poses no threat to the US, and never did. They harbored no terrorists -- or at least didn't -- who had aspirations to strike the US. And the idea of building a democracy in the sand appears to be more and more of a pipe dream with each passing day.

I don't blame them for not considering Iraq worth dying for. And at least they can face their populace and say: "This wasn't my idea. I believed America". I don't think Bush gets that excuse, because this was his war. He pushed it, he wanted it, he got it. And a failure to explain how it was worth 700 lives, 4000 wounded, and 200 billion dollars would constitute a gross inability to do his job.

At worst, he's created a security threat where none existed before, and one that he has demonstrated is beyond the ability of America to handle.
:: Morat 1:08 PM :: ::

U.S. losing patience with Fallujah rebels

U.S. losing patience with Fallujah rebels:
U.S. general warned insurgents in Fallujah on Thursday they had "days not weeks" to hand over their arms or face the possibility of a renewed U.S. offensive on the Iraqi city west of Baghdad.

Lt. Gen. James Conway, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based in western Iraq, said the response to a peace agreement between U.S. forces and Fallujah civic leaders had been disappointing.

Under the agreement, Marines agreed to stop offensive operations in Fallujah if guerrillas handed over their heavy weapons.

"We are not pleased at all with the turnover that we saw yesterday. The volume probably amounted to a pick-up truck full," he told reporters at Camp Fallujah, a U.S. base near the town.

He said he understood the weapons were "junk ... things that I wouldn't want my Marines to begin to fire."
No? Really? I'm shocked. It's as if the insurgents in Fallajuh can do basic math and understand the politics of the region. Heck, you'd think a good chunk of them had been born there. I realize, of course, that this is a real stretch, but it's almost as if those insurgents realize:
  1. The US doesn't have the troops to clear Fallujah without risking that stability of the rest of Iraq, and thus the US commanders are reluctant to engage.
  2. Clearing Fallujah will likely be a high-casualty affair.
  3. The American public has a low tolerance for high American casualties, and the Iraqi public is becoming increasingly irate over Iraqi ones.
Now, I could be wrong, but it appears the insurgents have -- at least from their point of view -- a win/win situation here. Either the Americans back down, effectively ceding them control of Fallujah, or the Marines begin the costly process of clearing the town. Both options are likely to strengthen the insurrection.

I feel sorry for the Marines. Quite sorry. They have no good options, thanks to the piss-poor planning of their civilian leaders.
:: Morat 9:44 AM :: ::

Kerry Issues List Detailing Contacts With Lobbyists

Interesting tactic. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays.
John F. Kerry yesterday disclosed nearly 200 meetings he has held with lobbyists since 1989, including dozens having business before his Senate committees, as the presumptive Democratic nominee sought to draw a sharp contrast with what he describes as the Bush administration's more secretive and expansive dealings with corporate lobbyists.
[...]
After days of playing defense on the disclosure issue, Kerry is going on the offensive by releasing these records. The extraordinary disclosure, which goes well beyond public disclosure laws, was an implicit and strategically timed challenge to Bush to prove that he is not in lobbyists' thrall, as Bush often portrays him. Kerry came under attack from Bush and Democratic rivals earlier in the campaign after it was reported he had received more money from lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years.

The White House is fighting to keep secret meetings between top administration officials and energy industry lobbyists. The Supreme Court on April 27 will decide whether Vice President Cheney should disclose meetings with oil, gas, coal and nuclear industry lobbyists conducted before he wrote a new national energy policy. Kerry has been a sharp critic of those deliberations, and demanded public disclosure.

"We released this information today," Kerry campaign spokesman, Chad Clanton said. "Now it's the Bush campaign's turn to release the list of oil company lobbyists in Cheney's secret energy task force that rewrote our energy policy."
I could say something substantive here, but I think it's a pretty simple line of attack...if innovative.

Bush is vulnerable on the security issue, and Kerry seems to be enjoying letting the White House get in a tizzy about his "hidden records" then releasing them in such a way as to make Bush look bad, not Kerry. Jujitsu politics is the best politics. Watching conservatives whine about Kerry's military records, then seeing what a real military record looks like, as opposed to the record of spoiled brat who couldn't stay clean long enough to pass his flight physicals....well, it was sheer poetry.

Still, a part of me wants to challenge both of them to just whip it out and see who's bigger, as that appears to be where this is going. Given the pattern thus far, I'ld have to place my money on Kerry have the bigger "constituency", so to speak. (Link via Best of the Blogs)
:: Morat 8:57 AM :: ::

Diebold apologizes for failure

Diebold is scrambling to retain the California market, as it looks likely that some -- or all -- of their systems will be decertified in California. However, I found something interesting in their response (bolding mine):
It is an uncommon day when the nation's second-largest provider of voting systems concedes that its flagship products in California have significant security flaws and that it supplied hundreds of poorly designed electronic-voting devices that disenfranchised voters in the March presidential primary.
Diebold Election Systems Inc. President Bob Urosevich admitted this and more, and apologized 'for any embarrassment.'

'We were caught. We apologize for that,' Urosevich said of the mass failures of devices needed to call up digital ballots.
Not for disenfranchising voters, which Urosevich admits happening. Not for being incompetent screw-ups entrusted with the most crucial task in a democracy....

Nope. For being caught. (Link via a Daily Kos diary)
:: Morat 8:39 AM :: ::

I need to be better organized

I was digging through my CD collection last night, and it occurred to me that I have mislaid at least half a dozen of my favorite CD's. Well, not exactly favorite. But good ones, and ones I was really in the mood to listen to last night. After searching high and low, I was pretty much forced to consider them "permanently lost" and work out the price for recovery.

After all, these were my They Might Be Giants CDs, and they represent about 90% of the "Music of Daddy's that the child is happy enough with to be quiet during trips". Plus, he's really cute when he sings "Dr. Worm".

So I'm stuck buying Then, Dial-a-Song, John Henry, Severe Tire Damage, and Flood. On the bright side, I still have Back to Skull (a 5 song disc, but has the incomparable "Mrs. Train"), Apollo 18, and Factory Showroom.

I think I miss my Flood CD the most.

Luckily, it's not all bad. I found most of my classical selection, and my complete Star Wars soundtrack, as well as the first two LoTR soundtracks (I still need to get Return of the King). Sadly, the gigantic collection of "CD's I bought because I liked just one song" is pretty much complete.

Oh, and I found Busted Stuff. "Grey Street" and "Bartender" are both worth the price of the album. Admittedly, I'm pretty much a Dave fan because I went to a few excellent live shows, and tend to prefer bands with a complex sound and at least a bit of the ole' jazz feel (if you don't use a trumpet or sax on occasion, you're really wasting yourself) in any case. Come to think of it, I like some of Paul Simon for much the same reason. Graceland is an excellent CD (which is, alas, also lost) and I liked Rhythm of the Saints as well (the percussion on The Obvious Child is great). I'm still a bit ambivalent over You're The One.
:: Morat 7:33 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 ::

Computer woes

Well, I've given up on buying a brand-new system this year. First off, I understand there will be a few changes near the end of the year (new case standard, new Pentium iteration -- although not a big one) so it's worth waiting. More realistically, I won't be able to afford the 3 or so grand for a cutting-edge, top of the line system until next January at the earliest.

So I'm looking hard at my P3/700 right now, trying to decide what to do with it. I'm considering cannibalizing it for parts and building a fairly cheap 2.6 system. Obviously, I'll need a new case, new RAM, a motherboard and CPU. I also need another drive. As in the past, I'll end up with a 4 Gig master drive (so I don't have to reinstall windows or hassle with Ghost) from my old computer, with the new 120 or 150 gig "slave". Which isn't really a problem, other than having to change the "default install" option on everything. If I've only got four gigs on my primary, I won't be putting much on there besides the OS.

I'll just bring over the GeForce 4 card, the CD-ROM, and the network card.

I'll probably pay the extra 20 or 30 bucks for a fairly fun case (LED lights and such) as my child might end up with this system in a year or so, and he'd be pretty thrilled with having a glowing computer.

Any suggestions on parts or places to shop? I need a motherboard with an integrated sound card, I want a 2.6 or equivalent, and at least 120 gig hard drive, and at least 512 megs of RAM. MWave seems like a decent spot so far, but it's been so long since I've priced this stuff I'm not sure how good their prices are. Oh, and if you want an example of the sort of case my child would enjoy (and me as well, to be honest), this is a good example. Of course, I'm not sure how well my white CD-ROM drive would look on that, although since I'd only be mounting three drives (CD-ROM, CD-burner, and 3.5) I could probably find a case that has at least three drive bays with covered by a panel.

Like I said, I'm open to suggestions. It's been a very long time since I've shopped for more than the odd part. I've always considered the tradeoff of higher prices for a decent and long term warranty to be worth it. (As opposed of trying to keep track of 8 receipts and where you bought what...and how long it's covered).

And, of course, anyone wishing to purchase me a machine is happily encouraged to do so.
:: Morat 10:37 AM :: ::

The first 'homicide bomber

Mark Kleiman notes that the first suicide bomber was Samson, who sacrificed his life to bring down a temple upon the heads of three thousand men and women. A feat that, I might add, is considered a "noble" and "good" one by most Christians.

The overall thrust of the post (which you should read) is that just because they're suicide bombers doesn't mean they're insane, sociopaths, or lacking a conscience. And assuming that they are is a major barrier to finding effective solutions.
:: Morat 7:45 AM :: ::

War May Require More Money Soon

I'm shocked. Seriously. A Bush program costing many times more than Bush claimed? Why, something so insane has never happened before! There must be some sort of mistake:
Intense combat in Iraq is chewing up military hardware and consuming money at an unexpectedly rapid rate -- depleting military coffers, straining defense contractors and putting pressure on Bush administration officials to seek a major boost in war funding long before they had hoped.
There's quite a bit of interesting data in the story. Troops aren't getting armor and equipment, but the White House refuses to ask for more money. Even Republicans are turning against the White House, accusing Bush of playing political games by postponing funding requests. Rep. Weldon (R-Pa) notes: "There needs to be a supplemental, where it's a presidential election year or not".

Harsh words from a fellow Republican. I think the problem here is that even Bush realizes he's gone to the cookie jar too many times in the last few years. Doing it again will cost him heavily...in an election he's already struggling with. He can either support the troops, or have a shot at re-election, but not both.

Is it any surprise which choice he's leaning towards?
:: Morat 7:37 AM :: ::

Iraq update

It appears the ceasefire in Fallujah isn't going to be terribly effective, as 20 to 30 insurgents attacked a Marine position today. Nine of the insurgents were killed, and at least three Marines wounded.

A ceasefire isn't going to work, because there is no central authority here. These are guerrillas. They don't have a supreme commander. They're not an army. 90% of them might agree to the ceasefire, but if the other 10% don't, it doesn't matter a bit what the US does or does not agree with. Add in the long cultural history of revenge and honor killing, coupled with the usual "collateral damage" of urban fighting, and you've got a recipe for never-ending war.

A problem it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out, but probably requires one to explain to Rumsfeld. He seems a bit dense. Still, I'm sure that if we'd followed his plan and used only 60,000 soldiers we'd be doing even better....

In worse news, there was a several bombings in Basra today. At least 68 people were killed, several British soldiers badly injured...and according to at least one report, coalition forces trying to help out at the scene were stoned by locals.

I'm still shocked at how quickly it went from "bad" to "worse". For some reason, I expected a slow spiral into civil war...not a sudden tipping into violence, death and chaos.
:: Morat 7:28 AM :: ::

Musical Musings

My wife and I were having a discussion over a few songs, and since we couldn't come to an agreement, I'm soliciting outside opinions.

Obviously The Saga Begins is Weird Al's best Star Wars song, if not his best song ever, but the real question is: Is it better than Mark Davis' Star Wars Cantina? I'm hoping Jaquandor, at least, weighs in on this important question.
:: Morat 6:45 AM :: ::

Dog Update

Well, my dog slept for the last 18 hours. She only stirred herself at the words "treat", "outside" and "Elvis". She might be tired, but she's not dead, and there's no way Elvis -- our tan mutt -- gets free attention. And no, I didn't name Elvis. He came pre-equipped with a name.

She looks really odd right now. First off, she's got a collie coat with rottweiler markings (and teeth). She looks, basically, like a black collie with really big teeth. And she sheds constantly. To deal with the burrs, however, they shaved the poor girl. We're talking cocker spaniel type cut, one notch away from "bald" on the ol' trimmer. Except her tail, which is still long and bushy. So she looks like she has some sort of pennant attached to the back of her butt.

She's not terribly pleased about the new look. I'm not sure I like it either, but I'm pretty sure I'll have it done each summer, at least. Her coat is too thick and long for Houston summers.

In any case, neither appears to be sick, merely tired. They're both clean and flea-free, and they see the vet Friday to get up-to-date on their shots. And I padlocked that gate, so everyone is forced to use the gate I can see from the porch and the driveway. Once was enough.
:: Morat 6:37 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 ::

Sweet!

For today, at least, I'm finally an Adorable Little Rodent. Probably won't last for long, and it's mostly due to the expansion of Kos bloggers linking to each other, but I'm happy nonetheless.

My first anniversary as a blogger is coming up. I made my first post on May 1st, 2003. I've had about 30,000 or so hits since then, which I believe means that at this rate, it will only take me another two years to achieve the same traffic Atrios gets in a single day. Go me!
:: Morat 2:24 PM :: ::

Peace in Fallujah

Tacitus isn't thrilled at all with the American terms for peace in Fallujah:
The Americans have laid out their terms for peace in Fallujah, and it's official: the offensive was all for nothing. All the guerrillas, insurgents, jihadis, rebels and fanatics have to do for the Marines to call off the fight is -- wait for it -- turn in their heavy weapons. These 'heavy weapons' -- nothing is said about light weapons, whatever they may be -- will almost assuredly be replaced in short order. I am disgusted beyond belief:
He's right, you know. That's not American compassion or mercy, that's guerilla victory. Those are not the terms offered by a sane commander to an enemy he can defeat easily.

Tacitus and I vary on "why", though. He feels -- if I'm reading him correctly -- that it is a misguided sign of "mercy" and "moderation", and the CPA's lack of a "stomach for the fight".

That's the optimistic view (we could! But we won't! Because we're the Good Guys!).

For what it's worth, I'm thinking we offered such lenient terms because we lack the ability to enforce harsher ones. Clearing Fallujah would take more men and equipment than we can spare, and probably result in more American casualties than Bush can politically afford. We're not willing to carpet bomb Fallujah -- a good thing, because doing so would turn this into a full-scale insurrection -- so we'd have to clean it out the hard way. Street by street, matching Marines against seasoned Iraqi veterans, without the benefit of our usual massive technological edge.

I'm confidant our highly trained and expert Marines would win. I just don't think we can win in Fallujuh and still hold the rest of Iraq. Once more, it comes back to a lack of boots on the ground.

We don't have enough men by half or more, and the Iraqi guerrillas know this as well as I do.
:: Morat 2:05 PM :: ::

Found them...

I found my little idiots this morning. I decided -- thankfully -- to head back to the house after checking the pound. I figured someone might have found them last night, and checked their collars this morning. And who do I find trotting down a sidewalk less than half a mile from my home? Both my idiot dogs.

And man were they filthy. Dala, the long-haired one, was covered in burrs and brambles, and both had obviously been investigating a ditch. What's worse, neither were thirsty...which means they both took a big drink somewhere. Last time I had a dog run off and find drinking water, she drank stagnant water from a ditch, and acquired a common local bacteria. The phrase "explosive diarrhea from hell" does not even come close to explaining how sick that dog was.

I tried washing them myself, but gave up when confronted with the massive tangles and burrs. Just too much to cut out without proper tools. So a local groomer managed to fit them in. They're both getting bathed, given a flea treatment (god knows where they went!), and having their nails clipped. The short-haired one doesn't need a cut, but the long-haired one is probably coming back close to shaved. Lots of burrs.

So that's eighty bucks right there, and they've got an appointment with the vet on Friday, which should -- all told -- run me another 200 bucks. That's assuming that neither picked up something nasty during their trip.

I explained, quite carefully, to my lawn service exactly how inconvenienced I was and how I'm only tolerating this once. I haven't had a complaint about them in two years, so I'm willing to forgive one mistake. I am padlocking that particular gate this weekend, which will force anyone entering my backyard to use the gate I can visually check from the driveway or the back porch, and not the one hidden out of sight around the back of the house.
:: Morat 8:39 AM :: ::

Dammit...

My dogs got out an open gate last night (I'm going to kill my lawn service). I can't see that gate without walking around the side of the house. No window looks out on it, I can't see it from the driveway. The dogs had been loose, out of the yard, for at least an hour by the time we noticed.

It was maybe 7:30 when I went looking for them. Quite a few of the neighbors had seen them. Apparently the dogs just ran up and down our little neighborhood street for a solid hour or so. By the time I went looking for them, no one had seen them for at least 15 minutes to half an hour. (Estimates vary). They're both skittish dogs, so no one managed to snag them and check the collar....which has our address and phone number on the tags. I spent a good hour and a half searching, but no sign of them...and they normally stick to yards or the sidewalk.

I hope Animal Control simply picked them up after hours. They officially close after 5:00, but from past experience, you can generally get an animal control guy until 7:00 or so, and even after that the local police will occasionally snag strays and drop them off. My first stop this morning is the local pound. I'll have to wait 30 minutes or so until they open, but I'm okay with that. I hope I find them there.
:: Morat 4:40 AM :: ::

:: Monday, April 19, 2004 ::

Hitchens' latest idiocy

I'm not going to dignify this with a substantive response. However, I will kindly sum up the general thrust of Hitchens' latest piece of idiocy (helpfully entitled "What did I get wrong on Iraq?").

It consists of one paragraph blasting Colin Powell and Richard Clarke, followed four paragraphs of what "other people got wrong" and Hitchens implies he thought was nonsense from the beginning.

Then one paragraph detailing Hitchens' one mistake: He didn't realize the Shia and the Sunni really hated each other. He felt, perhaps, that they were merely mildly peeved.

He then spend a paragraph noting that Colin Powell, who otherwise is an idiot and a knave, was right with the "You bought it you broke it" theory of Iraq occupation, and then finished up with two paragraphs claiming that he was right all along, that the left was stupid, and that we'd have to fight the war anyways, so it doesn't matter that he was wrong on some trivial matter.

To sum up even further: "Everyone else was wrong about big things, and they're stupid. I was wrong about a tiny thing, and being wrong about it just shows how right I was to support the war in the first place!".

In short, the usual Hitchens drivel. I can only assume he was drunker than usual when pounded this little gem out.
:: Morat 12:12 PM :: ::

Woodward Shares War Secrets

You know what really irks me about the Bush Administration? It's the fact that, no matter how bad I think they are, the truth turns out to be worse
Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told 60 Minutes that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election - to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day.

Woodward says that Bandar understood that economic conditions were key before a presidential election: “They’re [oil prices] high. And they could go down very quickly. That's the Saudi pledge. Certainly over the summer, or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly.”
Bravo, George. You just whored out the White House in a way Nixon would be ashamed of.

It's funny, you know...for a guy trying so hard to be the "unClinton", you're more like Clinton -- at least the Arkansas Spectator version -- than Clinton ever was.
:: Morat 8:25 AM :: ::

Bremer Is Increasing Pressure for a Quick End to Iraqi Uprisings

Oh yeah, this is a workable solution:
With no sign of a breakthrough in talks with rebels in Falluja and Najaf, the leader of the American occupation appeared to move closer on Sunday to a military showdown, saying that the rebels' failure to submit to American demands would require decisive action against those who 'want to shoot their way to power.'

'They must be dealt with, and they will be dealt with,' the administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, said, breaking a week of silence on the confrontation with Moktada al-Sadr, an anti-American Shiite cleric, in Najaf and Sunni Muslim insurgents in Falluja. Mr. Bremer spoke of the need to bring an early end to the standoffs, to return Iraq to the political path the United States has mapped out, starting with the formal return of sovereignty on June 30.
Laying aside Najaf, where Sistani has basically said "Shoot your way in there and my followers are coming after you, I don't see a "crackdown" having quite the result Bremer is looking for here.

Do you? I mean, does any sane person honestly believe that a "show of force" is going to end this? We're facing an armed insurrection made up of experienced ex-soldiers. Religiously inspired ex-soldiers, in a country with a long history of nationalism.

We're facing trained soldiers willing to die for God or country -- or both -- in settings where we've got strict limits on the amount of force we can bring to bear (no carpet bombing Falluja)...and we're using bone-tired soldiers who have been in country far too long.

Bremer is completely out of touch with reality here. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is not a good thing. About the only thing that's going to intimidate the rebels is bringing in the B-52s. Of course, a few days after we do that we'll be facing a lot more pissed off Iraqis than we were before we leveled Falluja or Najaf.
:: Morat 7:15 AM :: ::

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