True to Form

Monday, November 20, 2006
Levin and Syria are on the same page, they both want a timetable for surrender, I mean troop withdrawal.

Rangel calls for bringing back the draft. In all the tons of campaign propaganda I got from Democrats in the lead up to the midterms there was no mention of a draft. Makes you wonder.

Last but not least AJ has an interesting post about a story of Iraqis fighting AlQaida:

While the Democrats push for America’s complete surrender to Al Qaeda in Iraq, thankfully the Iraqis themselves are stilling clawing their way to a democratic future. More indications are being seen that Al Qaeda’s brutality against Iraqis is starting to pay off - for the Coalition. Sunni’s are openly standing up against the Al Qaeda outsiders -0 and winning:

A power struggle is taking place in the Sunni triangle, with tribal leaders and coalition forces aligning against a common enemy …

While the world’s attention has been focused on Baghdad’s slide into sectarian warfare, something remarkable has been happening in Ramadi, a city of 400,000 inhabitants that al-Qaeda and its Iraqi allies have controlled since mid-2004 and would like to make the capital of their cherished Islamic caliphate.

A power struggle has erupted: al-Qaeda’s reign of terror is being challenged. Sheikh Sittar and many of his fellow tribal leaders have cast their lot with the once-reviled US military. They are persuading hundreds of their followers to sign up for the previously defunct Iraqi police. American troops are moving into a city that was, until recently, a virtual no-go area. A battle is raging for the allegiance of Ramadi’s battered and terrified citizens and the outcome could have far-reaching consequences.


I made a comment to that post that I will add here. The outlaws of the Wild West ruled the place until ordinary people stood up to them. The same could be true of Iraq.

18 comments:

Knucklehead said...

And the gangsters of the 20's and 30's flourished throughout what we now refer to as the Midwest until people finally moved beyond their "do what you like but don't do it here" attitude.

Go here for a brief "tour" of the history of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Twin Cities but the bit I reference above is this:

During the 1920s a new era played out in St. Paul. The Roaring Twenties was the era of gangsters, and many of them fled from Chicago northward to the Twin Cities area to escape the law. The lawmakers in St. Paul decided the criminals could stay, but only if they did not break any further laws. Clemency evidently lost its allure after some time, because the gangsters became active in the area and corruption of public officials followed. The old federal courthouse, now called The Landmark Center, was home to several of the gangsters for short periods of time.

Hubert H. Humphrey, for whom the Metrodome is named, rose to political prominence as he fought the corruption that had started with the gangsters.


It is a recurring theme that even we Murricans need to learn again and again. Theiving murderers cannot be accomodated and placated - at least not for long. Never send for whom the gangsters victimize, they victimize you - sooner or later.

Rick Ballard said...

Knuck,

The problem with Ramadi is that gansterism has always been the preferred method of making a living. Saddam recruited his most vicious thugs there and even he never had 'control' of the area. Encouraging both sides to fight to the last man is probably a good move but the sheiks involved are fighting because al Quaeda was cutting into their profits. The sheiks should prevail but the result is going to be Capone's Chicago - without an Elliot Ness in sight.

terrye said...

I think that is one reason people are thinking more and more along the lines of making work for these people. I am srue they would rather terrorize epople for a living but giving them an alternative might attract enough people to undercut the bad element.

Knucklehead said...

Rick,

Your points are well taken but mine was that we never get to Elliot Ness until people with no direct stake in The Twin Cities or Chicago decide that Capone or the St. Paul gangs need to be gotten rid of. The gangs of Ramali need to be rejected by Iraqis outside Ramali.

Things will reach the tipping point when people from Ramali are sending police to Baghdad and vice-versa.

Knucklehead said...

Not to make too much of my weak analogy but people love to point out that Capone was finally put away for a steenking tax evasion charge. Much of the work done to track down and finish off the mudering rampagers, Bonnie and Clyde, was done buy the FBI (they may not have been the "FBI" yet) who no claim to jurisdiction other than transporting a stolen auto across state lines.

The reason we got federal law enforcement was because local and state enforcement was often uninterested in stirring up trouble about stuff that happened elsewhere.

The Iraqis need to reach the point of not tolerating Ramali just because Ramali is Ramali's problem.

I tend to believe they are moving in that direction. The idea they can get there quickly is naive. It took two years for police from Lousiana and Texas, using information largely developed by the FBI, to finally put and end to a small gang of murdering thugs who'd run run loose through several states.

It takes the locals to cooperate, or at least to cease aiding and abetting, but it also takes a national effort. Am I mistaken that the Iraqis are developing that?

terrye said...

knuck:

I live about an hours drive from a place that that Dillinger used to come all the time. Shoals, little place, the locals thought he was a regular celebrity. I guess along as it was not their deputy sheriff with two young kids he gunned down, they could not be bothered to turn him in.

Ever see the movie Hang em High? That hanging Judge Parker was a real judge and that was Oklahoma when my grandfather was a boy.

Rick Ballard said...

The precursor to state and local cooperation with federal agents was a civil war that established federal sovereignty in a rather convincing manner. Regional differences were hammered out by cannon firre.

The Iraqis seem bent on attempting the same solution. Maliki was just in Ankara promising the Turks that he was going to bring the Kurds into line very soon. I would not bet on the continued existence of the current Iraqi government for more than a few months at most.

Terrye,

There is no need to "make work for these people" - thuggery is their work and they're pretty good at it. Seven hundred years of practice should count for something. There is a huge surplus of young males throughout the Islamic world. The trick is to get them to work off the surplus within their own borders. I wouldn't be surprised to see Egypt start some saber rattling toward Israel by this spring. I hope the Israelis get their act together because I doubt that our al Queada dominated Congress is going to be of much help.

terrye said...

Rick:

I don't know what your problem is but not everyone in Iraq is a thug. Their unemployment rate is high and some of them might prefer a job to risking getting killed.

terrye said...

BTW, that fight between the Kurds and the Turks is an old one I doubt very much if the US has been telling the Turks anything a lot different. In fact I know they haven't.

70% of the people in that country want nothing to do with the extremists and right now they are the ones dying and being maimed and their homes destroyed.

Rick Ballard said...

"70% of the people in that country want nothing to do with the extremists"

In what country in the world is that not true? The real prey/predator rate is probably much higher than that, perhaps 90/10 rather than 70/30. Of course the ones unwilling to defend themselves are going to suffer the brunt of the depredation - that's the function of prey, isn't it?

My problem with Iraq is the governments refusal to assert a monopoly on the use of force. Maliki (IMO) is as cheap an Arab thug as any in existence. His demand for the release of Sadr's murdering thugs is all the proof I will ever need.

With a bit of luck the Sunni sheiks will wrap up the al Queada bunch in short order and then start hunting Sadrists. That would be a real "jobs program" for them.

terrye said...

Rick:

The actual number of people involved in the violence are not even a fraction of the 30%. But you seem to ready to write them all off, make judgments about the character of all 26 million of them.

That is not fair. Right here in this country there are gangs and drug dealers who get away with murder everyday because people are afraid to step up, afraid to even talk to the police and yet we have not had some crazy dictator and his psycho offspring terrorizing the place for decades.

This whole thing has not been going on for what three years? You know when I was a kid I used to get really uncomfortable looking at pictures of lynch mobs for fear I would see a family resemblance among the grinning goons standing next to the dead man hanging from a tree. I loved my Mother's father, but he had this hatred in him where blacks were concerned that was just completely out of control.

How many years did it take for us to get past that kind of murder and hatred?

BTW, I remember reading a year or so ago that some Kurds crossed over into Turkey and ended up killing some Turkish soldiers, that is a very dicey situation up there and has been for year.

Rick Ballard said...

The actual killers probably comprise less than 1% - the other 9% just provide aid and comfort. You endeed your post with "The outlaws of the Wild West ruled the place until ordinary people stood up to them." - in muslim countries the ordinary people never, ever stand up. It's against the rules.

Framing what is happening in Iraq in terms of what might be expected from a people who held freedom to be a higher value than security is an error. There is no evidence available that suggests that non-secular Arabs will fight for anything other than a division of the spoils of conquest or first place in line in their whorehouse of a paradise. The seculars won't fight much at all - that's the little ongoing problem with the Iraqi security forces.

The Kurds kill Turks when they can - they've got a very long way to go to even the score for what the Turks have done to them over the years.

I hope that the Kurds do very well in the civil war - complete autonomy or even a nation of their own. They are the most secular of the groups involved and democracy has a chance to develop there. They also enjoy killing Iranians even more than Turks which could prove to be extremely useful to US interests.

It's sort of funny that the commander of the Iraqi armed forces is a secular Kurd, isn't it? It's almost as if someone had a fallback plan.

loner said...

knucklehead—

Not that it matters, but weren't you the individual who objected when I (or another of my pseudonyms) compared Al Qaeda to the Manson Family in 2004?

terrye—

Thanks for directing me to The Strata-Sphere. His musings almost always make me laugh. Kaus used to do that for me and I suspect still might if I were willing to listen to/watch him, but, alas, there's only so far I'm willing to go for a smile.

You do look something like I pictured you. I think I subconsciously associated you with someone I met (in Portland) when I was participating on political bulletin boards in the early '90s. In that group, I ended up meeting 6 of the 13 on-line personalities I hung with. I think I have a picture of myself taken back then. Now that I'm a contributor, I might include it small with a movie review vone Saturday night. Maybe.

Best.

Knucklehead said...

loner,

Not that it matters, but weren't you the individual who objected when I (or another of my pseudonyms) compared Al Qaeda to the Manson Family in 2004?

I do not think it was me. I would have tended to agree in so far as they are both a bunch of sick, murdering bastards. aQ, however, is far more dangerous than the "Manson Family" ever dreamed of being. It would be akin to comparing the local thugs of my yute with the Gambino family.

Knucklehead said...

BTW, loner, i thoroughly enjoyed your Mad Max movie review. Didn't comment, just enjoyed.

Syl said...

rick

in muslim countries the ordinary people never, ever stand up. It's against the rules.

Your underpants are showing. ISTM that when ordinary people do stand up in muslim countries they're assassinated or jailed. Kind of a disincentive doncha think? Turkey is almost democratic and, in fact, there have been several demonstrations by ordinary people against the religious influence in the current government.

Framing what is happening in Iraq in terms of what might be expected from a people who held freedom to be a higher value than security is an error.

When car bombs are going off in schools and marketplaces. When people just doing their work are kidnapped and/or assassinated. At times like those, well, security suddenly seems like a pretty damn good option.

There is no evidence available that suggests that non-secular Arabs will fight for anything other than a division of the spoils of conquest or first place in line in their whorehouse of a paradise.

You're absolutely sure of that? STM that thousands in the Iraqi army are doing their jobs just fine.

And of course, you haven't considered even one tip from an 'ordinary Iraqi' that has led to the killing or capture of any bad guys.

Methinks you have succumbed to the Iraqiphobia that is running rampant in America since the election.

Rick Ballard said...

It's Malikiphobia - time will tell. We're not going anywhere and watching the civil war will be interesting.

Turkey is the best damn democracy run by an army that exists in the ME, that's for sure.

loner said...

knucklehead—

Thanks.

Manson had big dreams—coming in to pick up the pieces after an apocalyptic race war that he caused and all. Sick, murdering bastards all. No doubt about that.