HUMINT: Dec 03, 2006

White House to resist Iraq Study Group
Posted by humint to Steel Wolf; FairOpinion
On News/Activism 12/03/2006 3:01:29 PM PST · 65 of 65

ARTICLE: Mr Bush is to meet with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the powerful head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, in Washington today. "If we have to pick sides, it will be the Shi'ites," Mr Goure said. "It is the only strategy because they are the majority."

STEEL WOLF: The President will play hard to get, but will find himself overcome with the spirit of bipartisanship, and give it a chance. Troop levels will go down, Iraqi security forces will step up. Once the U.S. body counts drops off to nothing, and Iraq stabilizes, the U.S. public will forget all about the 'cut and run' fixation, and be pleased with the progress. That's as close to victory as President Bush is going to get in 2 years, and it's not a bad one. Maybe not as cathartic as getting a declaration of surrender signed on the deck of the Missouri, but it'll be good enough.

HUMINT: you paint a nice picture Steel, but I have to ask about the flow of Sunni foreign fighters from Saudi, Egypt and other countries that we should expect are going to start streaming across the border when the Shiite Death Squads step up the killing of Sunnis around the country? Under Iran's guidance, maybe Iraq won’t devolve completely into a wasteland like Afghanistan under the Taliban but in terms of US national interests, it might as well. Do we know Tehran pulls Muqtada Al-Sadr's strings well enough to prevent him from murdering his way to the top? Or do you think the Iraqi Shi’i are going to establish a confrontational relationship with the Iranian Shi’i to establish a Karbala-Qom spiritual balance? Given that the ideology held by the theocratic government of Iran translates into cycles of upheaval and war, why should we pick sides with the Shi’i? Based on who SCIRI represents how can we consider your scenario plausible? Is the ISG the right group to be getting advice from at all, given their history? The message is loud and clear right now and I don't like what I'm hearing.

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The latest casualty: Detailed foreign news
Posted by humint to Starman417
On News/Activism 12/03/2006 2:03:20 PM PST · 28 of 28

Yet the same economic pressures driving mid-size papers to close foreign bureaus are also squeezing big papers; both the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune may soon be sold. Who knows how long these papers will maintain all their foreign outposts? Get your news from blogs? Those that comment on foreign affairs also depend on mainstream media for their information. With more newspapers closing foreign bureaus, will we soon depend on a shrinking pool of foreign correspondents to inform the whole country? Or will most Americans come to view the world through the prism of partisan bloggers who don't feel the need for facts?

This article is simply self promotion at the expense of the competition. Bloggers hate the MSM and the MSM hates bloggers. Why, because one is a legitimate alternative of the other. Blog commentary is by far superior to print commentary in terms of flexibility. There are no editors to filter out articles outside of a current or prospective readership. Blogs are not subject to space requirements. Newspapers require zero technical expertise. They are two very different animals that actually compliment each other - but that doesn't quell the mutual hatred. The core of this author’s argument is that the information of her media is superior to the information contained in other media. I don’t believe her. She is right about a corollary point. The fewer journalists you have, the fewer stories are going to get coverage. But the trade off is to do with career journalists who sacrifice tough questions for access. Bloggers produce far more information most of which is lower quality so skepticism becomes a part of the process of searching for information. It is harder to crosscheck an article in print than a blog so… I think I’ll stick to blogging.

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Fighting to win in Iraq [Stone Cold Must-Read With Revelations of Past Baker Failures]
Posted by humint to McGavin999
On News/Activism 12/03/2006 12:23:39 PM PST · 38 of 40

It's a bit more simple than that. When you start down a road and it starts raining, there are always a certain number of people who think taking a trip was a bad idea.

Excellent analogy. Cognitive imprecision in the time domain is what you're talking about. You've astutely pointed out an interesting pattern. Beyond the time domain - individuals often make bad decisions due to other forms of cognitive imprecision. But the mechanics "wrong or right" tend to lead back to personal responsibility and respect for individual liberty. It's an age old problem that the founding fathers of the United States nearly solved. They did the hard work - Lincoln did a little more - Wilson did a little more - GWB is doing a little more - and so on.

In history diverse societies have demonstrated incredible resilience. Just like a free market has self correcting properties, so too do free societies. No, the sky is not falling. It's being held aloft by philosophical genius.

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Fighting to win in Iraq [Stone Cold Must-Read With Revelations of Past Baker Failures]
Posted by humint to uncbob; McGavin999
On News/Activism 12/03/2006 10:18:49 AM PST · 36 of 40

McGavin999: Why is everyone so worried about the study group? President Bush isn't going to do what they say. He's going to thank them for their wise council and then go ahead and do what he planned to do all along.

uncbob:That is true BUT what has he planned all along and why wasn't that explained to the American Public instead of letting the democrats frame the issue

humint: In today's complex communications matrix, grabbing the microphone and keeping an audience's attention is extremely difficult. The expectations of the crowd leave little if any room for leadership. By observation, a free minded citizenry is in fact prone to rejecting authority. My guess as to why we do this – it’s for the sake of building within us a perception of independence. It’s not uncommon for smart people to test the waters of dissent. Some never graduate past that phase of their politics. But what if the logical conclusion of a type of dissent is corrosive to freedom in general? If responsibility is not married to freedom in society, anarchy will ensue. To quell anarchy, the same authority that couldn’t encourage responsibility will have to restrict freedom to protect the society from itself.

If the POTUS and other influential figures continue to feed into this trend without correcting it, the situation is going to get messy. But what if it cannot be corrected? Leadership will never disappear completely. Play the logic out - if a free citizenry collectively concludes that their independence can only be achieved by rejecting authority – for leadership to function, at best it must hide the fact that it is leading – at worst, it must be deceptive. To make progress on the economy or national security the POTUS will have to develop a strategy for success and then commit to the exact opposite strategy. In so doing, the public will predictably reject it and independently conclude that the secret strategy of the POTUS is the correct one.

It's something to think about, but not too hard. I'm no conspiracy theorist, so I'll stop here.

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Fighting to win in Iraq [Stone Cold Must-Read With Revelations of Past Baker Failures]
Posted by humint to governsleastgovernsbest
On News/Activism 12/03/2006 8:09:20 AM PST · 33 of 40

But I would wager that countless Americans are upset with Bush, not because he isn't skedaddling from Iraq quickly enough, but because he seems to have no serious strategy for winning. It is losing that Americans have no patience for -- not casualties or a protracted war. Let Bush make it clear that he is serious about victory, and that he will do whatever it takes to achieve it, and the political support will follow.

This is the crux of dissociating good leadership from bad in the midst of a national or international crisis. Responsibilities cannot be abandoned simply because the effort to live up to them is uncomfortable. Great post.

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From Beirut to Baghdad - The ghastly predictability of nihilist violence.
Posted by humint to neverdem
On News/Activism 12/03/2006 7:28:08 AM PST · 4 of 4

Those who blame the violence in Baghdad on the American presence must have a hard job persuading themselves that the mayhem in Beirut and Afghanistan—and the mayhem that is being planned and is still to come—is attributable to the same cause. But the instigators are the same in all cases: the parties of god and their foreign masters. If we cannot even stand up for Lebanon in this crisis, even rhetorically, then we are close to admitting that these parties have won.

I too am concerned about our capacity to "stand up". I've heard and read stories about Iraqis behaving chaotically and dangerously after the fall of Saddam Hussein. I'm not referring to insurgent attacks but general misdemeanors - driving the wrong way down one way streets - sexually harassing women - littering - When asked why they were doing what they were doing, they replied, "this is democracy, I can do whatever I want". That behavior sounds as if Iraqis were not ready for democracy and the system is too unstable for them. Among other things, democracy is managed chaos so their misunderstanding of democratic behavior and governance does not suggest stability through democracy in the Middle East is not possible. What it really means is that it will be a long and hard road to establish.

I then realized something about Westerners. How different is the average Westerner's understanding of democracy? If our law abiding compatriots in the West are only civil in society because they don't know any other way to behave then there is no moral justification to "stand up" for anything. If standing up for something like democracy in Lebanon is not done in Western Democracies then one might ask if representative government has any room at all for genuine leadership, even in times of crisis. If the trail of blood and bread crumbs previous generations of Westerners made for us is so faded and can't be recovered then all that is left are habits. So what's the danger if our habits are healthy? Simply exercising healthy democratic habits while the philosophy that created them is disparaged or even ignored will engender new habits. Apparently, one new habit is the West's inability to "stand up" for our allies when doing so is inconvenient.

Part of the logic that delivered the West to where it is today is the realization that the forces of chaos never actually win but only guarantees that we all lose. Fortunately, it is never too late to "stand up". Good post.

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EXCLUSIVE: Iranian Weapons Arm Iraqi Militia
Posted by humint to jmc1969
On News/Activism 12/02/2006 11:43:00 PM PST · 202 of 203

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2006 — U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006. This suggests, say the sources, that the material is going directly from Iranian factories to Shia militias, rather than taking a roundabout path through the black market. "There is no way this could be done without (Iranian) government approval," says a senior official.

I wonder why the factory that produced these weapons still stands? My expectations are for a 3 or 4 second video taken by a predator drone - or some other high tech gadget - showing the site being struck hard followed by a fire and dust cloud. I expect to see the video of the factory being destroyed and at the same time I expect to see the weapons that that burning factory produced. At the same time I want to see the dead bodies of the terrorists who were using the weapons produced at the burning factory. I'd expect that all of these events unfolded within a reasonable amount of time.

Justice in war must be delivered quickly or the enemy takes the advantage. How selfish of me. What about all of the other factors making my countrymen indecisive?!?!?




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