The Bush Maliase

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The Bush Maliase

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1MrKris
nov 24, 2006, 2:39 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

2NewEnglandGOP
nov 24, 2006, 10:56 pm

I would say that he will be. If he did not polarize the Congress during his first six years, he perhaps would not be tossed aside like an old shoe. The Democrats' ideas didn't matter to him, now his won't matter to them--- and who can blame them? On the other hand, he'll have to work extra hard to get his ideas into Congress. Because of this, maybe he will be able to put his ideas into action with better articulation instead of going into things half-a**ed because he had a rubberstamp.

Just my thoughts, and I'm glad that opened up such a great topic to debate. There's nothing better than American politics.
~Chuck

3MrKris
Redigerat: nov 25, 2006, 1:21 am

Meddelandet raderat.

4lriley
nov 25, 2006, 12:56 pm

I'm afraid that when you start a war that America loses your legacy is going to be really bad. I think his legacy wouldn't be much good anyway. There has been just too much incompetence and corruption. The Katrina thing was really the last straw I think in the minds of a lot of people. For me it was Iraq which I didn't believe from the get-go. It's been gradually worsening there and in the past week it's been particularly awful. This kind of violence just feeds off of itself. I don't know how they are going to hold this together and just attempting to will quite likely just make it worse for our own servicemen. It's obvious to me that we are grasping at straws as far as solutions. Cheney going to Saudi Arabia. What is that going to do? Not talking to the Syrians or the Iranians without preconditions. We don't hold any cards. Who are we going to talk to then? Sadr telling Maliki not to talk to us seems to carry more political weight in the respect that Sadr can bring Maliki down and then there won't be even a puppet head of state. I don't know how it can get more gloomy but I'm expecting it to anyway.

5MrKris
nov 25, 2006, 1:44 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

6lriley
nov 25, 2006, 3:05 pm

The corruption over the past several years is mostly in the republican camp. It's not unique to either party that when they hold power that they become arrogant in the use of it--however the no bid contracts of this regime are particularly egregious. Corporate kinds of welfare--tax relief for oil companies etc.--the Katrina mess of $14.00 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at a cost of 3 cents to the dollar for the provider--that was a no bid contract too. It also speaks to why the region is still such a mess. Over the course of this presidency there has been almost no oversight on anything.

A long time ago I read 'The seven pillars of wisdom' by T. E. Lawrence otherwise known as Lawrence of Arabia. Very interesting book. How far had Iraq come since those times? I don't really know if I have much right to say. Dismantling the political infastructure and also the army were huge mistakes. Originally before Bremer was given control for a brief time it was going to go to an army general--Jay (or James) Garner. He had no intention of dismantling anything. He wanted elections almost right away. It may have worked if they had kept Garner. Now it's not. Besides Sadr's Mehdi army you have another very strong Shia militia the Badr (Bader) brigade--remnants of the Sunni disbanded army, the actual terrorists of al quaeda and various and sundry others. The borders aren't controlled and we're not going to talk to either Syria or Iran but Iran a mostly Shia nation is more than willing to talk to (take your pick whether he's our puppet or Sadr's puppet) Maliki. The Sunni's are afraid not only about being butchered in the thousands but of having no say and no oil revenue. They do seem to have quite a bit of knowledge in the area of high explosive devices. This army that we're always training--you might as well add the police force too--seems to be made of a much higher percentage of Shias and their motivation and their reliability are very dubious. I don't think there is much question that they've been infiltrated by all sorts and that at an individual level they are not loyal to their uniform (or any idea of country) at all. They are loyal to their families, tribes or their specific religious upbringing--at least that's the way they seem to act to me. I think training soldiers or policemen when there is no guarantee of loyalty or commitment on their part is worse than useless--it is in fact very harmful. An idea that the Kurdish units might be used in some of the most violent areas is worth exploring or building an Iraqi army using primarily a Kurdish base. The Kurds no doubt would have to agree and I'm not sure they would. But that would be a longer term solution and I don't think we have the time to do it in. Iran and Syria have shown much more political savvy than we have since the beginning of the year. They have maneuvered us into a corner. I don't know how the President is going to come up with some kind of rational solution without their input and issuing mandates is definitely not going to work. There's going to have to be some give on his part for anything at all to begin to work. I actually think he would prefer continuing on with things just the way they are. What I would prefer is --us out--maybe staging some troops in neighboring Kuwait--and the UN in with as many Middle Eastern troops (and non-Israeli at that) as possible. Unfortunately depending again on religious affiliation that might be tricky too as the Shias if I'm not mistaken are primarily to be found in Iraq and Iran.

7MrKris
nov 25, 2006, 3:23 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

8lriley
nov 25, 2006, 6:44 pm

You should read the first sentence in #6 over again. I will put it this way--that political corruption goes hand in hand with a kind of arrogance of power--I understand very well the democratic party's own corruption eventually undid them in '94. That was fine and well deserved though what they were replaced with wasn't all that great either. That may be about the same scenario that '06 turns into also. We shall see.

In any case I'm not interested in focusing on the Clinton years. If you want an opinion I think both he and the present white house occupant have done things worthy of impeachment. The Clinton years though are over and done. I'm more interested in the problems of the here and now. The track record of the present occupant is IMO absolutely horrible and not just on Iraq but Iraq is what I'm afraid he's going to be most known for. Again this is only an opinion but we're losing servicemen at the rate of about 1000 dead a year. Many more wounded and maimed. There is no real strategy other than 'we're going to win no matter how long it takes'. I think they intend to string it out as long as possible. That's not acceptable to me and in reality--ugly as this will sound we can sustain the losses in manpower but quite possibly not in the equipment and vehicles needed to carry this on. This is a problem that is not getting deserved attention either. Vehicles destroyed, equipment replacement is a bigger problem than most people realize. Under battlefield conditions things break down. Logistics will catch up to us sooner or later. To go further though that rate of 1000 per year will almost certainly go up if the situation continues to boil over like it is now. And keep in mind from a political perspective if the present administration continues on the path it's on and the situation continues to get worse and there's no rational reason that I can see at the present why it's not going to get worse--this will be an even bigger issue in 2008 and may have the potential of turning our democracy into a one party democracy which by the way is not a good thing either. As it is I feel pretty safe in saying that whoever comes out of the primaries for the Democratic party in '08 is going to be laying some real kind of solution for Iraq (most probably getting out) and quite possibly the republican nominee as well. Plain and simple this is Bush's war. Whoever is sworn in in January '09 is going to have distanced him/herself from it.

9MrKris
Redigerat: nov 26, 2006, 12:07 am

Meddelandet raderat.

10lriley
nov 26, 2006, 7:09 am

And I will stick to my view that it's been in the past few years--mostly republican.

11AsYouKnow_Bob
nov 26, 2006, 12:18 pm

Hi, glad to see some familar names here.

I wasn't going to join this group, but I had to jump in to refute MrKris' #7:

Not only was "Whitewater" - the deal itself - a full quarter century ago - - but no wrongdoing was ever found. Despite a decade of Republican smoke and mirrors, there never was a scandal there.

If THAT'S your best example of "Democratic corruption", well, you've got nothin'. Lriley is right; MrKris, you're just flatly wrong here.

It's hard to claim that "corruption is on both sides of the aisle" when the Democrats have been completely out of power for six years.

Who would even bother to corrupt a politician who lacks the power to deliver?

12nickhoonaloon
Redigerat: nov 26, 2006, 2:15 pm

I joined this for no other reason than it`s open to people of both left and right wing persuasion, which appealed to me.

It might be right factually that the Democrats have been involved in less corruption than the Republicans - I don`t know one way or the other.

It doesn`t hurt to remember that in the UK, the Conserevatives were once widely dubbed `the party of slease`, but Labour have shown they can do it too.

Bob,

I`m not sure it`s a good defence of the Democrats to say they aren`t corrupt because no-one thinks they`re important enough to be worth corrupting !

Lastly, it`s all good knockabout stuff watching the Republicans and Democrats fighting amongst themselves, but anyone of progressive leanings needs to think about what kind of changes they want to see. I`m all for democracy, but a change of administration is a different thing to social change.

13MrKris
Redigerat: nov 26, 2006, 2:19 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

14lriley
nov 26, 2006, 2:52 pm

Maybe this will be a way to put things so that we can more or less agree on something. To me it's just how things were in '94 has very little to do with our current problems. It's like with Clinton when his presidency was over 'The king is dead. Long live the new king.' What Bush does--has and will still for the next couple years effect the future of all of us here. That is why the scrutiny. And that is why this return to things long past is practically useless for me. I'm not interested in Whitewater--much more current would be the Abramoff scandal which involves 30 some republican congressmen and senators and 3 democratic senators--why the disparity between the one party here and the other?--I think it lays in what Bob alluded to--that the Republicans have held the power and have used it almost exclusively of the other party. In any case I'm much much more interested in Iraq which is here and now--which is also rife with corruption and deceit. Hopefully a few years from now we won't be talking about Iraq though. We'll be be long gone from there and talking about something else and maybe then it will be democratic party corruption.

As for the state of Pennsylvania I think the people were rather clear---Weldon and Sherwood who were both tarred are gone. Probably deservedly so. As for Murtha--well that might be another day--he is still right on Iraq. Santorum who was very partisan in his support for the president is gone also. What to make of that? One can say the pendulum swung back hard there on the GOP. In any case that's a subject best argued about with other Pennsylvanians.

15AsYouKnow_Bob
nov 26, 2006, 6:57 pm

Several people were sent to jail

Wrong again, MrKris.

A couple of people NOT IN THE GOVERNMENT did time, mostly for refusing to cooperate with the Republican Special Prosecutor, but not only were the Dems not convicted, they weren't even indicted. Your favorite 'scandal' - from a quarter-century ago - is not even a scandal.

You've bought into a bunch of lies. The Clintons' land deals in the 70s and 80s are NOT equivalent to the latest batch of Republican corruption.

16MrKris
nov 26, 2006, 9:58 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

17lriley
Redigerat: nov 26, 2006, 10:07 pm

In that regard some of the more vociferous voices in the House clamoring for Clinton's head were Robert Livingston, Dan Burton and Henry Hyde all of whom found themselves very quickly fending off allegations about their own sexual promiscuity. A bit of hypocrisy there. I've always wondered whether the info on those 3 came from all the supposedly missing FBI files that a Clinton staffer had in his possession--and Larry Flynt steps into the breach. Anyway they didn't call Clinton 'Slick Willie' for nothing. A shrewd customer. Didn't like him. The Nafta was the last straw for me. Very pro big business--allowing all the satellite technology to go to China and trying to sell them the Long Beach ports. Tsk. Tsk. Didn't like Gore either. So I voted for Nader (who I've always liked) and very happily lost--once again.

18AsYouKnow_Bob
nov 27, 2006, 12:50 am

"distorting facts in a partisan manner???"

(Now it's personal....)

we were talking about governmental corruption.

You brought up "Whitewater" -- from over a decade ago, involving a case from nearly a quarter century ago, where no wrongdoing was ever found -- as the worst example you could think of in which Democrats were guilty of corruption.

I pointed out your various errors:
- no convictions of Democratic officials
- not even any indictments of Democratic officials

which after all, is what we were talking about.

Now you stoop to accusing ME of distortion.

These ARE the facts. The facts are not
partisan, and I am NOT distorting them.
You, sir, own me an apology.

If the facts make Republicans and their apologists out to be liars, well, argue with the facts, not with me.

If you want to talk about corruption, pick any prominent Republican - Bob Dole, say - and ask yourself how HE retired as a multi-millionaire, after a career spent entirely as a public servant.

19nickhoonaloon
nov 27, 2006, 4:50 am

"Feel free to keep distorting fact in a partisan manner"

I thought twice about the wisdom of responding when Bob can clearly look after himself, but I do have a couple of things to say.

I think the comments made are quite unwarranted. Even if Bob had the facts wrong, which I very much doubt, it does not follow that he distorted them.

Even if he had distorted the facts, a proposition which stretches credulity to breaking point, it should have then been an `open goal` (as we say over here), and Mr Kris should have had little difficulty in demolishing his arguments without rancour.

MrK, you are obviously intelligent and I know from other postings you have a sense of humour. Lighten up !

I`m not directing these comments at anyone on this thread, but I have noticed that some LT groups are increasingly becoming a vehicle for childish displays of petulance. Let`s keep it civil in this one !

I know I`ve said it before elsewhere, but it`s a bit sad if individuals can`t disagree without falling out. It is only human to quarrel over disagreements. I quarrel with my closest friends from time to time (mind you, one of them once inspired an acquaintance to come out with the immortal phrase "That bloke`d quarrel with a rock !" ), but that`s just the point - we might quarrel, but we stay friendly - there`s a difference.

20lriley
nov 27, 2006, 10:13 am

Good post Mr. Hoonaloon. We all have opinions and even have the right to different ones (even gadzooks if they're wrong) without getting angry about it. Here in the states unfortunately there has been a lot of anger and frustration since 9-11-2001. It seemed though in the aftermath of that tragedy for a few weeks most everyone here looked around their differences with each other for common ground. Likewise it seemed around the world there was much sympathy--and where that all went is right down the toilet and that's really too bad.

21MrKris
nov 27, 2006, 11:56 am

Meddelandet raderat.

22lriley
Redigerat: nov 27, 2006, 1:23 pm

Well yes it has gotten quite a distance away from the original intent it would seem.

In that respect it would be nice to see some cooperation between the parties at least on some things. IMO Bush's own personal domestic agenda will be to hold on to some of what he's done. To me it's not good having pharmaceutical companies and health service providers or utility companies writing up bills that are favorable for themselves. Some of that legislation I would expect the Democrats at least for the time being will try to correct with the help of crossover Republicans rather than repeal. His tax cut likewise the noises that have been made have been ones towards a correction favoring upper middle class and lower class citizens at the expense of the topmost bracket. Things that may have been on the to do list such as his social security reform were dead in the water anyway--too much of his agenda if you ask me were controversial in the first place and in the second unfairly pro-business at the expense of other concerns. I don't know apart from that that there is much of a Bush 2 agenda left--it seems that Iraq and Afghanistan has turned his administration into something akin to a Bunker mentality. So if I were to guess these next two years there will be periods of Cold War (winter) but hopefully also periods of a kind of detente. The other thing is I expect there are going to be some investigations into this and into that--subject matter for that will most definitely include Iraq of course but could follow a whole host of different avenues. Abramoff will not exactly go away either. Congressman Doolittle is going to be a particular target. Some of all that might touch more on the Congress than on the White House itself.

23nickhoonaloon
nov 27, 2006, 2:52 pm

I noticed on another thread, conservative (I presume Republican) LT user `deniro` raised some interesting points about what he saw as pessimism in the conservative movement in the US today, and a mood of self-doubt - I think in the US as a whole.

I had sensed something similar, particularly in the tone of some contributions to Libertarian and Conservative threads recently. Is this a picture the rest of you recognise ? Is it part of the malaise under discussion ?

24lriley
nov 27, 2006, 4:01 pm

Nick--Probably the area where I'm most conservative is I like balanced budgets and controlled spending. At the very least my thinking in 2000 was well at least in this one area we'll be okay as the Republicans have always painted themselves as fiscally responsible. The present administration has completely undone that notion. And this is a problem I think for conservatives in other areas as well. I think in some sense many of them who believed in these characters feel now that they've been hoodwinked. Single issue supporters such as the anti-abortionists see no progress. Those wanting border control see instead a lot of doubletalk and no real action. The Corporatists and those heavily invested are really in my eyes the only real part of the party that have gotten anything they really wanted. On top of which is there anyone left of whatever political stripe who can look at Iraq, the War on terror, the Katrina disaster, the congressional scandals (Foley, Abramoff etc.), the sleazy no bid billion dollar boondoggle government guaranteed contracts with any kind of objectivity--whoever they voted for and not shudder? Take away the objectivity--yes there are still some who believe in this administration but for all too many across the spectrum of the whole society it's been a disillusioning 6 year stretch.

25MrKris
nov 27, 2006, 6:29 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

26MrKris
nov 27, 2006, 10:27 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

27lriley
nov 28, 2006, 2:29 am

On the subject of talking to Iran and Syria I don't think there is any choice. The more we ignore them the more they will work behind the scenes and keep things destabilized. In any case they are going nowhere. The day we leave they will still be sitting there right next door. There is no doubt that they have (from our perspective anyway) done much to keep the pot boiling and Syria has its hands in the Lebanon situation besides. If the President refuses to talk to them and continues to make demands I think any kind of diplomatic solution will not happen and as far as the chaos we've seen so far things will only continue to get worse and worse. Again to Murtha who we've touched on above--his assessment has turned out to be right on the money--our military is not going to solve this--it will be solved through diplomacy.

28nickhoonaloon
nov 28, 2006, 4:28 am

Iriley, I don`t want to sidetrack the discussion from this interesting area, but just to say thanks for #24 - I`ve got the picture now. It`s funny how some aspects are specific to your time and place whereas others have paralells over here.

For decades, the Conservatives (our equiv of Republicans) had a reputation as the fiscally responsible party, a reputation that was very Teflon even when questions were asked. That`s history now, I think.

I should stess that deniro, whose comments prompted my question, wasn`t necessarily thinking along those lines, being a Bush supporter I believe.

29nickhoonaloon
nov 28, 2006, 5:08 am

...and I`ve encountered the word `boondoggle` for the first time ! Another bonus !

30lriley
Redigerat: nov 28, 2006, 1:12 pm

C'mon even in Britian you must have encountered a boondoggle before?--if not in word at least in deed. Anyway to win elections here and I suspect in most democracies--you have to have your base (partisans) with you and you also have to move towards middle positions to pick up the large share of free agents--but that does mean more people with more wants to keep satisfied. A party can't afford big catastrophes--and they have had at least two huge ones. The thing about Iraq is there were always large numbers of democrats and liberals outraged by it (and wondering by the way why so man prominent democrats were being so cowardly and sitting on the fence) but it's only been the last year or so that the incompetence of the govt. (so Iraq-like during and after Katrina drove the point home for a lot of people) that the public finally turned against it. I think it's obvious to the great majority now that this administration is in way over their heads and solutions are in short supply and that everything that led us up to it and into it and everything that has happened afterwards will be wasted. The Democratic party should also IMO at least shoulder some of the blame as they did very little for so long.

31MrKris
nov 29, 2006, 12:45 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

32lriley
nov 29, 2006, 4:36 pm

In fairness there seem to be so many factions and it's almost impossible to figure out who is fighting who sometimes. Even amongst co-religionists there seems to be some at least low-key internecine squabbling. I consider it a civil war but I'm not sure it's very important what you call it--I'm sure there are many thousands involved now just in the spirit of revenge for their own personal loss(es). These things feed on each other. In any case the role of our footsoldiers is a little mistifying at times. Try to keep the peace? This Sadr city has something like 2-3 million people?--and quite a number of them are heavily armed and have some training. The pot has been boiling for a while but IMO it hasn't really exploded yet. Hopefully it won't but something is going to have to happen to keep it from doing so.

33MrKris
nov 29, 2006, 4:38 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

34lriley
nov 29, 2006, 5:27 pm

Senator Hagel likewise has started calling for a staged withdrawal. There has been criticism from the right all along at this but never much momentum. I think we're beginning to see more momentum. Hagel is a smart guy and a possible presidential contender--he would be one of the better choices IMO the Republicans could make for 2008.

35MrKris
nov 29, 2006, 5:54 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

36lriley
nov 29, 2006, 6:46 pm

Maybe being a little more explicit about what a 'regional framework' actually means would be helpful. Also helpful would be how long it would take to implement such a framework and I'm afraid there is not much time left for that. A chaotic situation going into presidential primary season is tantamount to hanging an albatross on the neck of the republican party I'm afraid. I'm afraid also that the administration has been too cute with language for too long and the public is increasingly tiring of the bs. The point that there will be more security worries with such a withdrawal is well taken but the point also is time is running out on this adventure. It's more than likely that the public will vote in the next administration with the explicit intent of ending it at once which means the GOP will be less likely to win. If the public continues to sour--and there is no reason that I can see that it won't continue to it becomes more and more unlikely the GOP will be the winners--in fact it may be more of the same scenario in Congress and in the Senate. I think also if it continues to sour you will see more and more GOP politicians breaking with the White House. A solution is needed and quickly--unfortunately those in charge here don't seem to be getting it.

37MrKris
nov 29, 2006, 8:21 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

38lriley
nov 30, 2006, 2:29 am

Bush should for once try to do the right thing. He should forget about his legacy. It's not going to be good anyway. Webb is a good example of what's going on. Here really is a republican--a former Reagan cabinet holder coming out of retirement and beating a safe and intrenched Republican icon and short list Presidential contender in a squeaker as a member of the other party. That exchange between him and Bush about Webb's son speaks volumes. The recommendations of the study group come out next week I expect that they are going to follow the path of public opinion. This can turn into a political hand grenade for the President. He quipped several weeks ago about how if it came to it all he needs is the support of Laura and Barney his dog. Well the possibility exists that it may come to this. Many of his neo-con friends have already jumped ship. A few days ago was Hagel. Now comes Powell. McCain wants to beef up everything. I believe Lindsay Graham is of the same opinion. Normally I think Graham is usually logical. I think the problem is we don't really have the reserves in men to sustain it for any length of time and I don't think we have the equipment either. Tanks and helicopters cost tons of money.

39MrKris
nov 30, 2006, 11:54 am

Meddelandet raderat.

40lriley
nov 30, 2006, 12:28 pm

If you say so.

41MrKris
nov 30, 2006, 2:45 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

42MrKris
dec 1, 2006, 1:08 am

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43MrKris
dec 2, 2006, 12:46 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

44MrKris
Redigerat: dec 3, 2006, 11:19 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

45MrKris
dec 5, 2006, 12:49 am

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46MrKris
dec 7, 2006, 1:02 pm

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47MrKris
dec 8, 2006, 5:48 pm

Meddelandet raderat.

48MrKris
Redigerat: dec 12, 2006, 11:54 am

Meddelandet raderat.

49MrKris
dec 12, 2006, 4:55 pm

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50MrKris
Redigerat: dec 13, 2006, 4:11 pm

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51MrKris
dec 15, 2006, 3:16 pm

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52abemarch
dec 20, 2006, 4:23 pm

I'm going to jump in here. I've been reading your posts concerning the current situation in Iraq and the Middle East in general. Also the latest about Jimmy Carter's new book.
I lived and worked in the Middle East, headquartered in Lebanon. I was there at the start of the Civil War and up to the 27th Cease Fire. During that time and afterward I corresponded with Jimmy Carter. He was a man who wanted to be knowledgeable on the Middle East since he knew, as he does now, the root cause of the problem. I applaud the courage he displayed to go public with the truth. For others it has been political suicide to speak out and many who agree with Carter simply won't say anything publicly.
Of course with Iraq, Bush, and apparently his staff, was ignorant of the mentality of the people. I personally think his ambition was to get his hands on the oil and looked for justification to invade. He was advised against the invasion by the majority of world leaders. These were people who knew the region and the people and held a dim view of winning. Yes, the American military can win battles, but they will lose the war just as in Vietnam.
Instead of admitting a mistake, Bush compounds it by trying to stay the course that is costing more lives on a daily basis. He should be held accountable.

53almigwin
Redigerat: apr 15, 2007, 11:30 am

In my chrystal ball, I see parallels between the war in Nigeria/Biafra-Ibo/Yoruba, and the war in Rwanda-Hutu/Tutsi. The Sunnis in Iraq are a minority that wielded power for 20+ years at the expense of the impoverished Shia, like the Ibo in Nigeria where there also was oil to be fought over.
There has been a brain drain recently in Iraq, of about 2 million so far and that must increase, given the danger and deprivation of living there . The cross border incursions of Kurds into/out of Turkey is heating up fears on the part of Turkey that her Kurdish population will try to Join Iraqi Kurds to form what used to be Kurdistan. Turkey is now threatening the Kurds in Iraq with military force.
We are in an utterly hopeless quagmire, because we want to see power sharing and oil revenue sharing between the Sunnis, Kurds and Shia, and they don't want to play ball. The Shia want it all, because they are the majority. The Kurds want Kirkuk, and don't want to share anything,because they are already separate, and have their own security, their own army and their own ethnic identity. And the Sunni want their power back. The only way this will improve is if the three groups make peace with each other, or if the Sunni leave and settle in Sunni lands with the help of Saudi Arabian money, the Kurds secede with a promise to leave the Turkish Kurds alone, and the Shia take over what is left of the country.I don't think there is much chance of this happening, or at least not until much more suffering has occurred on all sides. As the infrastructure deteriorates (see the recent blowing up of the bridge), and the security situation doesn't improve (see the bombing at the Parliament building) we are banging our proverbial heads against a stone wall. Our soldiers and our treasure are being poured down a cesspit. And furthermore, our materiel is being used up and our soldiers stretched so thin that if we had a real threat to our own security, we wouldn't be able to meet it. I say get out at any price and rebuild the armed forces and their equipment, not for a high tech set of engagements a la Rumsfeld. but to fight insurgency and become peacekeepers wherever it is needed.