Friday, January 05, 2007

Bush to replace 2 top generals in Iraq

What a shock.

The bit at the end about bribing Iraqis with a jobs program (paid for by Americans) is as silly as calling a death cult a religion of peace. Oh well, on a positive note, booting Negroponte as "Intelligence Czar" isn't a bad thing. His successor will have to really work to do less than Negroponte did.

The Ethiopian solution - no prisoners, no problems - seems to be working well.
"They have dug huge trenches around Ras Kamboni but have only two options: to drown in the sea or to fight and die."
Best of luck to Col. Barre "Hirale" Aden Shire and his men. Hopefully, the sharks waiting for al Queada snacks won't suffer much indigestion.


Fresh Air said...

Michael Ledeen says the infiltration of Iraq by Iranian agents is almost total, and that a "wiring diagram" of the whole apparatus was captured on the person of a spy/agent provacateur from Iran.

It was so flabbergasting, he said, that Bush had no choice but to roll some heads.

Rick Ballard said...


ML mentions the possibility that Negroponte got the ax based upon that capture in the comments on the piece. It could well be true. Someone vetted Hakim for his visit to the WH - and the President's use of rather flowery language to describe him. You have to have some sympathy for those unable to discern between between regular jihadislamist liars and really bad jihadislamist liars. It's that fine distinction that had to be drawn between all those good Germans who voted for Hitler as opposed to the really bad Germans who actually carried membership cards in the National Socialist party. Not much actual difference but the distinction is paramount. To some.

terrye said...


Death Cult? Yeah hell, the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. They don't need jobs, they don't need to feed their families it is not like they are people or anything. Sheesh Rick, ease up. I want to agree with you, but you make it so hard.

As for Ladeen, I have my doubts about him. Sorry, but I always have.

Besides he says we should help the Iranians over throw their government, but the Iranians are mostly Muslim and all Muslims are part of a death cult so why bother?

I guess all those soldiers I have heard talk about how they think they are doing some good in Iraq must be full of it too, after all teaching a Muslim about democracy is like teaching a pig to sing. It is a waste of your time and it annoys the pig. Right?

But in reality I do think it is time for some changes, has been for some time and all of this might have something to do with the two carrier groups going to the Gulf.

terrye said...

As for the Ethiopans, I hope it works well for them but maybe we ought to wait awhile and find out. These people have a habit of melting into the background when it gets hot and then coming out again.

Rick, I do not mean to be unkind to you. I know you lost someone you cared about. But that does not make it alright to hate a billion people. I have known some old boys from WW2 who had to suffer awful things at the hands of th enemy. As far as that is concerned, Korea and Viet Nam and yet we do not hate all Japanes or all Germans or all Koreans or all Viet Namese. The fact that it is even necessary to point that out is depressing.

I do not believe that Islam is a death cult. And yes I have read Robert Spencer and I know the history..but the Iraqis are not all bad people, nor are they all thugs or murderers either. Only a fool or a bigot would believe that.

Fresh Air said...

Well, as always, Ledeen diagnoses the problem perfectly and then proposes a feckless "solution," akin to a cancer surgeon suggesting incantations twice a day to ward off lymphoma.

A recent article in Commentary discusses a military solution to the Iranian problem that does include a blockade of the Straits of Hormuz. It makes for interesting reading.

I cannot imagine, however, that this president has the willpower to do it, nor can I imagine the Europeans, who would benefit the most, even thanking us for it.

So here is my prediction: Iran will be unfree for decades, it will continue to spread its evil throughout the region and the only thing that will bring the regime down is the development of alternative fuels that will ruin its economy. Same goes for Saudi Arabia. As Bernard Lewis so eloquently put it, "Taxation without representation also works in reverse."

Rick Ballard said...


There are undoubtedly tens of millions of very good, honest, hardworking muslims in the world. That's an incontrovertible fact, just as it is an uncontrovertible fact that there were millions of Germans who didn't care for Hitler. So what.

There are hundreds of millions of jihadislamists - more than enough to elect thugs like Sadr, Hakim, Maliki and Ahmadinejad "honestly" to the offices which they routinely betray. Just as there were tens of millions of Germans who were taken with the glorious future promised by Hitler. The Iraqis and the Iranians have the governments that they have chosen (freely chosen, in the case of the Iraqis).

There is no doubt that American armed forces (and American contractors) have accomplished a great deal in Iraq. I just don't consider that additional effort that involves any more risk than an American cop takes patroling in Atlanta to be worth the effort. Not without changes in the ROE that make being anywhere near an attack on US forces as dangerous as skydiving without a parachute.

I wouldn't even support bombing Iran - unless the attack targeted the ayatollahs and the training colleges in Qum. The gain just wouldn't be worth the risk to American pilots.

terrye said...


I am sorry if I jumped on you. I should not have done that.

I do not know if there are hundreds of millions of jihadis, I doubt it myself. If that were true I would think hundreds of millions of jihadis could manage to kill more than 3,000 Americans in almost four years.

I think Iraq has to go through certain phazes. In other words they have to learn that dealing with Sadr gets you where Maliki is, in between a rock and hard place. They have to develop parties based on ties other than religion and tribes etc.

That is why I said give Maliki a chance..because they have to learn this for themselves. I think that some of the problems with Iran are just the Iraqis thinking we are going to bale on them and if they can not beat Iran, then some of them might want to join it.

But every day there are more and more Iraqis learning about capitalism and markets and freedom of press and speech and right now I am not so sure that Iran is an example they want to follow.

I guess we will find out though, in time.

Charlie Martin said...

As for Ladeen, I have my doubts about him. Sorry, but I always have.

I am reminded of someone who always ended speeches Carthago delenda est.

Barry Dauphin said...

I concur with frssh air's view of Ledeen. He is a pretty good diagnostician as far as I can tell and seems to understand the Iranian tentacles in great detail. I feel the same as him in "faster, please", but that slogan and $3.25 will get you a grande latte at Starbucks.

The solution to the Iranian problem is complicated for a modern liberal democracy in the age of CNN, and not enough Americans have the stomach for military action against Iran without even more flagrant forms of provocation (which the mullahs are not about to do). If these things are as documented as claimed, it is up to the Administration to make this loud and clear (especially after failure to find WMDs stockpiled in Iraq). Perhaps Bush is biding his time to present information to the public at the time of his choosing. Perhaps he does not feel politically strong enough to do more at this point.

Luther said...

If one needs a little brush up on "Carthago delenda est". This site provides some history. I especially like the "aramco" part in the url.

But, other than the obvious, I fail to see how Cato applies to our current situation.

The USA is not imperial Rome. We could be. But we are not. Personally, I see no one suggesting otherwise.

It is a new world we face now. The power of the sword has been supplanted by the power of the word.

But not Cato's word. We are less swayed by slogan's nowadays. At least some of us.

We are now led by the "enlightened one's." MSM, Academia and the State Department.

All, as far as I'm concerned, hellbent on seeing the USA brought to its knees.

We do still have some strength, we must use it, or lose it.

Did I mention... I wish the Muslim religion to have no influence on this country. I personally believe it brings no value to the table of liberty.

Syl said...


The Iraqis and the Iranians have the governments that they have chosen (freely chosen, in the case of the Iraqis).

I don't know what your problem is, Rick, but I'm glad I don't have it. People make bad decisions all the time. In your view they should all suffer horribly for being so stupid and not thinking like you.

There seems to be no room in your view for making mistakes then learning from them or making mistakes and needing a leg up to turn around. In your world we all have perfect knowledge so if we make a wrong decision we are damned.

Note that the Palestinians freely elected Hamas. Note also that there are actually a few Palestinians who regret that decision. The majority, however, don't seem to have figured it out. Decades of propaganda have taken their toll and it will take time, lots of time, to reverse the damage.

The muslim world has lived with its jihadis for centuries. Jihadis ebb and flow. The muslim world is used to them. Jihadis are a part of life--even where muslims disagree with them. Tolerance of jihadis is deep-seated and aided by threats of violence as well as the finely crafted dogma created over centuries to insulate the jihadis from dissent of any kind.

This can and will change. The world has become too small to tolerate jihadis much longer--and that includes the muslim world. But, damn, it ain't going to happen overnight. Or over a period of five years.

It may not seem worth the cost to you today. But I dare you to ask your great-grandchildren if it was worth it to them.

loner said...


The USA is not imperial Rome.

Cato and Carthago delenda est weren't either. They were republican Rome. We're not yet, in my opinion (given elsewhere God knows where on this site some months ago), comparable even to the Republic as Cato knew it. For one thing: No Cannae.

Through the years I've from time to time thought about writing an interpretive account of one event or another and I've sommetimes gotten as far as an outline and a title before abandoning the idea. One such idea was going to be titled: From the Rock to the Confusion: Alexander from Tyre to Babylon. I hope to see Tyre before I die. Thanks for the link. I did some research back in high school after reading a poem.

Rudjard Kipling's Recessional:

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boasting as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Luther said...


Point taken re imperial. As to Cannae we await.

The issue is one of time. Do we have the luxury of such? What risk's to our own are we willing to gamble?

Marcia in Phoenix said...

Everyone, take a breath. I've been a long-time lurker (hereinafter LTL) on Roger's site, Dennis' site, and Flares. Today we have demonstrable proof of life from Rick Ballard, one of my all time favorite great minds (along with Terrye and everyone else I love at Flares and in the blogosphere), and we should all be dancing the proverbial jig. How do we get to read more of Rick, whose postings at Roger's singlehandedly kept me from having a total breakdown during the tense run-up to the 2004 election results?

Rick, we need you to keep posting.
Good grief, you are one of the leading lights of the blogosphere on the War and national politics. Terrye and Syl, you too. But good grief guys, think of your thousands of LTL fans before hitting Send. If they're like me, they want to see some personal harmony and continuing affection amongst the original group who built Roger's and Flares to such fabulous heights even when you do disagree. And what ever happened to PeterUK? Another brilliant poster, sorely missed here and at Roger's--where's he blogging now?
And Jamie Irons, where are you--have read you at Belmont, but we need you back here, too.

In short, I don't care if you're posting on vitamins. Give me more, more, more. That's how much I love this blog. It's wonderful to continue to read postings from each of you. So please pat yourselves on the back for having one of the best blogs in the blogosphere. Terrye, you have done and are doing a phenomenal job, day in and day out, keep it up.

Best to all, Marcia

truepeers said...

I love it when the LTLs break their vows.

Ultimately, it's not for us to know or decide whether all of Islam has to go, or whether it can be reformed to join a world where state and "church" are separated, where freedom of association and conversion are permitted; it's not for us to decide whether violent, imperialistic Jihad is a sacrament so central to Islam that the religion can't exist long without it, and so can't exist with us as free trading non-Muslims.

We have our suspicions, and provide for our security or war accordingly. But that ultimate decision is for Muslims to make, as only they can. The so-called radicals (who at least have part-time supporters who number in the 100s of millions) have made their decision about what mainstream Islam must be. A few brave souls have gone the other way, but without developing, as far as I am aware, a theology well suited to modern free market lives (keeping in mind certain paradoxes that make such assertions debateable, such as that we often adapt to the free market by resisting it, e.g. we become productive by refusing consuming desires). But then there's a whole bunch of "moderates" who are just hemming and hawing and getting on from a pragmatic pov with the powers that be. Islam has never encouraged theological speculation among the masses. It does, after all, mean slavery or submission to the final word. So can the rank and file decide what's what with their religion before some cataclysmic war?

Well, only if we engage all of Islam now with both war and demanding alliances and make people choose sides and make those choices consequential so that there is some kind of positive learning curve.

Luther said...


Well said. All we can do is protect ourselves. We can really have no influence other than battle. They shall decide if it is worth it or not.

"make people choose sides and make those choices consequential"

That is the lack for now.

Clarifying the battlefield, bringing greater focus on the stakes, is, for now, what counts. Among ourselves more than those who wish our demise.

Luther said...


I forgot. I agree with you. These guys and gals teach me so much.

They all need to post more, yes, but more importantly, the lurkers need to come out and make comments!

Rick Ballard said...


Thank you for your kind words. I have a little more time for posting now and the jihadislamist subject isn't exhausted by any means.

Who knows, maybe one day you'll see a rebuttal containing an actual fact rather than ill reasoned ad hominem screeds.

Probably not, though. There aren't many pleasant facts available about Islam.

TorontoTechie said...

Just want to say, I too am a LTL, followed you here from Roger's like Marcia says.

I got walloped by reality in early 2003, and it was your posts and comments, along with those from wretchard, instapundit, Steven Den Beste, Bill Whittle, and so many others, that let me think things through in a pretty hostile environment.

Thank you, all. You are great people to read and this is a wonderful community. I look forward to being a bit less lurker, a bit more commenter.