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September 17, 2007


Oh come on!! You know those Iraqi's really want us there. They are just doing this to make it "look" like they don't want the american gov't there. Their lips are saying "no" but their gov't is saying "take our oil".

When I remember the t.v. special of Iraqi high school students interviewed about the way they felt about an invasion from the u.s before the war I feel so quilty. It's very sad that so many of our troops have been injured but if the reports are anywhere near true of a million Iraqi deaths, I am sickened beyond the pale. What a tragic waste of human life.

I wonder what happened to those children. I would love to see that show aired again and some kind of follow up given to the children who participated in the interviews.The show was banned from being aired until a year into the war. As I recall, I was struck by how intelligently they spoke of the looming invasion. Where are they now?

In a world where the Bush administration has steadfastly denied that contractors are covered by US law or by military law, is al-Maliki about to show our fearless leaders what it means to be hoist with your own petard?
I can't imagine that we'd allow these guys to be prosecuted under Iraqi law -- or even held.
But if al-Maliki has decided to make this move, what does this mean about his perception of his hold on power? We're conditioned to think of this government as weak, but the game could change in a heartbeat. It's always sent a chill up my spine to think of how few troops we actually have in Iraq -- and how hard it would be to protect them if we need to withdraw.
It's like watching a game of chicken. Or a dollar auction where the bidders can't and won't stop playing -- only it's lives here, not dollars.

Sorry, this is way OT, but Empty--I am eagerly awaiting your thoughts on the Mukasey nomination. How on earth can he NOT be an apparatchik? Will he turn over the docs/emails that have been subpoenaed? I can't imagine Bush/Fred Fielding appointing anyone who would allow oversight. I have a very strong suspicion they picked him because he's a big supporter of expanded presidential powers, etc., and he will block any attempts at scrutiny.

Perhaps al-Maliki is taking a page out of the GOP political operations manual.

Did the Iraqi Federal Government just find a bogeyman to replace the Sunni/Shia/Kurd sectarianism that is tearing them apart?

How galvanizing is that for Iraqis?

How can Bush refuse to take Blackwater out of Iraq, given his oft-repeated statement that we are in Iraq at the "invitation" of the "sovereign" Iraqi government? And yet how can even the elevated "surge" level of troops be sufficient to carry out Bush's strategery if the Blackwater contractors have to leave the country. As the King of Siam said to Anna, "'tis a puzzlement."

EW, I'm interested in your views of Mukasey too. He's conservative, and he's clearly willing to consider alternatives to traditional proceedings in terrorism cases. On the other hand, he was quite insistent about the need for SOME kind of meaningful process in the Padilla case, which was before him originally, and was quite critical of the DOJ's treatment of his order that Padilla be allowed to consult with a lawyer as a "suggestion" or a "request."

I don't think he will be as much of a pandering tool as Abu G. There's no question that he will be sympathetic to a lot of Bush's views. But I do think he'll be willing to say no from time to time. He was well-respected when he was on the bench in NYC. He's probably the best we could expect from Bush, despite the fact that he appears to be a Giuliani supporter (he's on Rudy's "legal advisory" board, a post he will have to drop).

"In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are - an army of occupation - and force our withdrawal."

"Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters..."

from the NYT OP-ED by the seven soldiers...

. . . . "The US would have a tough time replacing Blackwater immediately for a number of reasons--the contracts have gotten so huge, it'll be hard to ramp up that quickly (though I suppose someone could just sub-contract Blackwater). So this really does endanger the US' ability to run an empire in Iraq."

I respectfully disagree. Blackwater is simply an assembled workforce, which will quickly be hired by a Blackwater clone organized perhaps by . . Halliburton??? Think of how quickly the remaing international accounting firms hired the staff of Arthur Andersen, the audit clients of which were served with minimal disruption.

The license pulling is a flash in the pan (meaning I think it'll be reversed in short order), but it shines a brief light on a number of huge issue/realities. Others have hit on the size of the "domestic" force in Iraq (it's greater than the military force), and the general notion of dealing with Iraq as a sovereign.

Keep an eye out for discussions about "immunity" for actions of non-military security forces (immune from Iraq law); and also for a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the US and Iraq. A SOFA is what holds our stay in Germany and many other countries where the US has a persistent military presence.

A friend of mine reads Arabic translated graffiti on a CNN back ground. It said:

Saddam slapped us with one hand
But he fed us with the other

How are we helping these people?
Why can't we get a working water and power grid AFTER 5 YEARS!

Blackwater is currently a hot topic in San Diego because they are trying to build a new training center in a rural part of eastern San Diego county and the locals are none too thrilled. Duncan Hunter has been the big force behind Blackwater.

If I recall correctly, Blackwater's application was for a training facility, not just for mercenaries "over there" but for domestic applications too. That made me uneasy.

Bush and Company best watch their backs. The sovereign government in Iraq may eventually charge the thugs with war crimes. How sweet that would be.


Agree--I think this is just one move on Maliki's part (or his subordinates, getting unruly in a way that may not help Maliki himself) to try to reclaim some power. Which is going to precipitate some discussions to clarify the status of non-military personnel in Iraq. Which might be a might interesting discussion. Not to mention the fact, that the Shiite Interior Minister may well be thinking of the warmongering we're doing against Iran, too. It'd be even more dangerous to wage war against Iran if the US loses is work-for-hire army in Iraq.

Fascinating thought that the move actually does make Iraqi look strong (instead of weak) for a moment or two. Thereby dissing our grand old poobah. And anyone who knows about group dynamics knows that uniting against an outside threat is one of the most effective ways to unite opposing people for a common goal.

The threat would have to correlate in danger, to the degree of hatred between sects. That means that folks would have to percieve more danger from blackwater than it does from thousand year old sunni, shia, and kurdish alliances. (which technically might not be that big a leap). Interesting thought.

Now this is an interesting little development. I for one, find Blackwater's existance more than a little unsettling. A private army, loyal to the neocons with bases in the US has to be one of the worse ideas in the long sad history of bad ideas.

I think Maliki is in one of those devil and deep blue situations. He has to stand up to the Americans to hold his Shiite coilition togather, yet the Americans are the base of his power. At some point, he'll be faced with the choice of telling us to leave altogether or facing his own exile. Perhaps that point is not far away.

I can only HOPE this causes Blackwater Iraq to be absorbed into a number of smaller outfits, however I'm not holding my breath.

This will probably get worked out without too big a fuss, but my oh my it could get interesting too.

The US can not operate in Iraq for very long without the private security forces. There is just not enough reliable manpower. By the way, they also protect Iraqis, and Iraqi facilitites.

Gee, Shrub and Pelosi had their surrogates spend all of Sunday at the talkshows trying to convice the American people that the way to pressure the Iraqis into meeting US set benchmarks was to threaten to remove troops.

It looks like the Iraqis are telling us that we can't pull those troop sout fast enough to suit them.

Snicker. How freakin stupid do the beltway bunch look.

I love it. The "weak" Malaki gov't is essentailly threatening to publicly castrate dear leader.

Anyone else think this is a trial balloon to Maliki calling for us to go home? I can't imagine the Shiite majority want us around much longer with us arming Sunni's and all.

My gut tells me this is the tip of the iceburg. I feel a rumble.

if i were an Iraqi, in addition to blowing up and gunning down Oil Stealing Occupiers, i would make a very strong effort to slit the throats of every single stinking fascist filthy scum mercenary that i could slip a K-Bar into. and if i were an american soldier, i would shoot every single stinking fascist filthy scum mercenary that i could, especially the south africans.

Here's the money-line in NYTimes piece this AM, "we" are already talking about saying "NO" to the Iraqis, so who's the real authority in Babylon? Obviously, it isn't the Iraqis.

"Because Blackwater guards are so central to the American operation here, having provided protection for numerous American ambassadors, it was not clear on Monday whether the United States would agree to end a relationship with a trusted protector so quickly. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker praised private security companies in a speech on Sept. 11, referring to Blackwater by name. “This incident will be the true test of diplomacy between the State Department and the government of Iraq,” said one American official in Baghdad."

"By the way, they also protect Iraqis, and Iraqi facilitites."

By shooting them?
...sort of a "permanent" protection, huh.

I have to not this one more time, there's a whole slew of these "immediate" trolls on the blogs these days, they seem to hang out as if on assignment, posing the very same stupidisms, as if they all got together for their own talking points moment somewhere.

This dull defense of the indefensible has become so common, I suspect that Craig's list ad recruiting Republican provocatuers to infest the blogs with lemming contrarians must have come to fruition.

But they are only deluding themselves.

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