tNotes oc 21, 2007t

October 21, 2007 § Leave a comment

 

From Juan Cole

As long-time readers know, I believe that the only reason that the various players don’t form brigade-sized units and fight set piece battles with one another is US air power, which would take them out if they tried it. I don’t agree with the authors’ conclusion that a US withdrawal would lead to social peace, since I believe that the low intensity war is only low intensity because the US military imposes limits on intensity. If the US forces weren’t there, the local forces would fight their various wars to a conclusion or a stalemate.

And

Feisal Istrabadi, former deputy ambassador of the Shiite government of Iraq to the United Nations, has resigned in disgust with the corruption and inefficiency of the Iraqi government and is now speaking out critically. Like Gen. Rick Sanchez, apparently he told the US media all those sunny things about the situation in Iraq despite his better judgment, because it was part of his job to be a good soldier. I know and admire Mr. Istrabadi, but I really wish more people such as he and Sanchez had started speaking out earlier (summer 2004 would have been good), since they in effect ended up running interference for Bush’s reelection campaign and prolonged the agony for both countries. I debated Istrabadi more than once, as at the Lehrer Newshour, and also on radio shows such as Warren Olney’s To the Point and have to wonder whether, despite our surface disagreements (with me playing the critic and pessimist), he actually agreed privately with much of what I was saying. Another issue is that far Rightwing and mostly very dishonest blogs such as Powerline used the testimony of Iraqis such as Istrabadi to bring sharply into question my own analyses. They used to charge that Cole was way off base since our generals and the Iraqi officials agreed with Bush about the ‘improving’ situation in Iraq. And all these brain dead Rightists are now crowing about the reduced casualty counts in Iraq, as though they weren’t artificially achieved, as though they could possibly be sustained, and as though they meant anything in the absence of genuine political progress. Now that Sanchez and Istrabadi are revealing that they actually privately agreed with critics such as myself even at that time and all along, will the Rightwing blogs now apologize to those they smeared?

and

Farideh Farhi explains the significance of the resignation of Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and his replacement by a diplomatic novice close to hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. She points out that Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei signed off on these changes, suggesting that he has either lost control of the nuclear issue or that he is throwing his weight behind the far Iranian right in the form of Ahmadinejad. Either way, she says, this resignation is big news.

and, for another context

GUERRE AUX CHATEAUX, PAIX AUX CASANES [War to Palaces, peace to cottages]."

Which in a sentence is a whole way of fighting civil wars. Its potential impact on the US.?

From Kevin Drum

In a twist on offshoring that Northrop has dubbed onshoring, the global defense and technology corporation has been shipping computer work to small-town America, shunning India’s Bangalore and Mumbai.

and

PLAYING POLITICS….The chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo military commissions, who resigned his position a couple of weeks ago, explained Saturday why he did it:

Senior defense officials discussed in a September 2006 meeting the "strategic political value" of putting some prominent detainees on trial, said Air Force Col. Morris Davis…."There was a big concern that the election of 2008 is coming up," Davis said. "People wanted to get the cases going. There was a rush to get high-interest cases into court at the expense of openness."

I am thinking that we are in a very difficult period. The financial system, working for its owners and clients, lawyers and brokers, is inclined to take money out of the US rather than invest it. Hence there is less cash available for home mortgages, infrastructure repair, state and county and town budgets. But the costs are there. So taxes will fall on the middle and poorer People – energy and food price increases, road tax increases, tobacco increases.

The politicians in both parties will support this process – because there is no apparent alternative. The result will be a decline toward failure in both the large systems level and the individual level.

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