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August 26, 2007

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American commentators have become increasingly critical of the British performance in southern Iraq this year. The new CIA National Intelligence Estimate says "violence has escalated in Basra with the drawdown of coalition forces there". Some experts have said the UK forces have left a lawless void of warring Shia militias and parties and Iranian meddling in Basra, Iraq's second largest city. A few have even hinted that the US will have to take over and clean up the mess. Blaming the British for Basra is symptomatic of a larger search for scapegoats now underway in Washington as the political battle over "who lost Iraq?" gains momentum with the onset of the 2008 elections.

A tie-in with my previous post.

The withdrawal of the Brits makes our retreat to Kuwait much more difficult. And that fact makes it imperative that we begin drawing down before the end of the year so that we can get as many of our people out safely as possible.

In my post about the disputes among the military about what to do next it seemed that an implicit consensus was forming that did not have Bush/Cheney on board, to withdraw next year down to 80,000-100,000 troops and then the next Pres can decide whether to get the rest out or not.

Anbar is instructive because it was not the surge but the perception of our impending departure that had prodded the Sunni to ally with us against al Qaeda. Certainly the Shi'a are arming for the final battles against the Sunni and the Sunni are clearing the way to be able to respond. But what happens beyond that is anyone's guess. Personally, I can't see the neighbors actually invading Iraq, but I can see some nibbling at the margins and I can see much stronger Iranian influence in the Shi'a ruled areas and a pretty autonomous Kurdistan.

Basra was the site of large scale oil workers strikes earlier this year. The Iraqi oil ministry arrested union leaders and recently issued a directive declaring that the union “no longer has legal status” under "Decree 150" issued by Saddam Hussein's regime at the height of the Iraq-Iran war in 1987.

Amazing.

General Odierno joins the chorus that troop reductions will have to start no later than April, 2008. So in September Congress can call for a pull-out starting in 6 months and running through the year and be right on target.

I'd be happier with starting in 3 months, but this is something that any GOPer could vote for, given that the military brass seems to be endorsing it even if Petraeus wants to stay for 10 years.

7.5

What is the purpose of of the x.5 numbers you post?

it's how many games the Yanks trail the Red Sox ;-P

4jkb4ia is a red sox fan. Not moi.

Ah, I see. Well, 3.0 then. That would be what the local paper, ESPN and FoxSports state the Diamondbacks are up on the Padres. However, from a matter of common sense, I have never understood the way these gaps are calculated and bandied about. As a practical matter, the only number that matters is the number of losses a team has. Using that measure the Dbacks are 2.0.

The exit out of Iraq by our troops, as has been more than artfully and soulfully described by Steve Gilliard LONG ago, is indeed thru Basra . .

With the Brits moving out, and the fire they have faced from the wolves as they close in on fresh meat, well it's only a sample and taste of what OUR evac will be.

And the resultant carnage? Like Vietnam? Inevitable, as each of several forces exact pressure, control, and MANY sectarian forces exact and extract REVENGE!

Then it will settle . . . this can happen now, or it can happen in 10 F.U.'s, but it WILL happen . . . in ANY way it all plays out. And our troops are gonna run a gauntlet and die standing, all the way home at some point.

Only the use of nuke's can forestall that, and we all know where that will lead.

I don't think we WANT Russia and China to exert themselves towards us, as we evac . . . . . I sure don't want a nuke winter . . . in fact, I'll go one bolder, Russia MAY be able to stall a total slaughter of our troops as we leave. How ironic, Russia is the ONE thing that might keep us from launching nukes in the region . . . and save us from Teh Risin, soda speak . . .;-)

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