Armed Liberal re-crunches the numbers on IED deaths in Iraq from an article in The Atlantic.
There's really no other word for what the authors have done - and the Atlantic has condoned - except fraud. I say fraud, which is deliberate, rather than error, which is unintentional, because anyone smart enough to make graphs is smart enough to look at the numbers and come to the same conclusion I came to.
The comments provide some further support of AL's math.
QandO has an excerpt from the latest Stratfor briefing which will spin your head...right 'round, baby.
What the Iranians want, of course, are guarantees on future Iraqi policy. They also want to make certain that their Baathist enemies are never again in a position to return to power. And they are expecting the United States to guarantee all these things. Of course the Sunnis are expecting the United States to guarantee their interests. The Kurds have always relied on the United States. And the Israelis want to make sure that the Iranian nuclear threat is not left to them to handle. Each has its own threat. The Sunnis can crank up the insurgency. The Shia can invite in more Iranians. The Kurds can try to instigate an uprising in Turkey (or Iraq, Iran or Syria). The Iranians can threaten Israel with nuclear weapons, and the Israelis can threaten a preemptive strike.
Washington does not want any of these things. That means the United States must juggle a series of nearly incompatible interests to get a situation where it can draw down its troops. On the other hand, the Shia need the Americans to protect them from the Sunnis and the Iranians. The Sunnis need the Americans to protect them from the Shia. The Kurds need the Americans to protect them from the Turks (and the Sunnis). The Iranians need the Americans to protect them from the Israelis. And the Israelis generally need the Americans.
The complaints that this election in Iraq doesn't really prove anything are a little hysterical. I don't think anyone thinks that those purple fingers mean that Zarqawi's going to just give up and Iraq will be an efficiently run democracy now. But as Reynolds has been saying all along, "Democratization is a process, not an event."
I think this timeline (scroll down) of post-WWII Germany should provide a little perspective and context on what this "process" really is. First, it was over 4 years (5/45-8/49) from the German surrender to the first election of a West German Bundestag. From the fall of the Saddam statue in 4/03 to today is under 3 years.
Of course these two reconstructions aren't exactly analogous. I mean, there was no Zarqawi in Germany, the only minor complication was, oh, I don't know, the fact that the country was split in half and being within pissing distance of Stalin & Co. Now there's a challenge. I'd imagine that there was some apprehension staring the Soviets down and pressing forward with the Berlin Airlift. But we did it.
There's a long way to go in Iraq to be sure, I mean we're still in Germany after all these years.
Joe Lieberman is a man of utmost integrity who speaks and governs by his values and principles, even when they lead him against the popular tide. He is a man who always puts his country above his party or his personal interests. Those are qualities we should cherish, not disdain, in today's far too polarized politics.
We need more, not fewer, people with Joe Lieberman's character in the Democratic Party, and I'm proud to call him my friend.
But then the DLC doesn't seem to have such good standing with the Kos-wing, so this is probably just a waste of breath.
...It's 10:14pm EST, and I just flicked on CNN. It's Cooper, Amapour and Nic apparently fanned out in Iraq. While Nic's doing his report via green night vision camera (is it necessary?) they split the screen and roll footage of a couple of masked muj firing AK's in an alley. It's obviously not live and possibly not even recent, but they're talking about the security situation for the elections so: show some jihadis. I'd like to see them--and every other news channel--throw up a graphic with the date of the images when they're rolling stock footage. I'm sure CNN does it but it doesn't seem to be consistent. Is there an industry standard for this?
OK, now Kerry's on and I'm once again grateful I don't have to listen to this robot drone on from the White House.
A woman who carried out a suicide attack in Iraq two weeks ago was identified Tuesday as the first European female suicide bomber.
The Belgian anti-terrorism unit has confirmed that the woman was a Belgian citizen who converted to Islam after her marriage to a Muslim fundamentalist, news service RTL reported Tuesday.
American military forces identified the woman at a combat scene in Baghdad. She was carrying recently issued Belgian identity papers which revealed she had traveled via Turkey. There are no traces of her radical husband who is believed to have organized her trip.
If you're keeping track, this suicide bombing is "believed a first for a Western woman who has converted to Islam."
Congrats to Belgium. The smart money was on France.
Belgian authorities "want to dismantle this network, which we knew was on our territory and which aimed to send volunteers for the jihad to the battlefield," federal police director Glenn Audenaert told reporters, referring to an Arabic word which among extremists can mean holy war in addition to its definition as the Islamic concept of the struggle to do good. [Is it really necessary for the AP to exlplain the two versions of jihad to us 4+ years into this war? Especially when the second meaning is obviously not what this is about.--Rob A.]
The dawn raids in Brussels and three other cities across the country involved more than 200 police officers and followed media reports that a Belgian woman had blown herself up in a Nov. 9 attack in Baghdad.
She was 38, her first name was Mireille and she came from a middle class background in Charleroi, said an official close to the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The woman had converted to fundamentalist Islam after she married a man from Morocco, officials said. "This is how she came into contact with the organization which allowed her to become a fighter for jihad," Audenaert said.
Her husband was killed in Iraq in a separate incident, officials said. Audenaert refused to give any further information about the couple.
TigerHawk links to what will surely be one of the most linked to posts of the next few weeks: American Future's working on compiling the NYT's editorials on Iraq going back to the Clinton administration. The first installment encompasses 1993-2000.
A couple of quick thoughts: First, you'll remember what a complete ballbuster "keeping Saddam in his box" really was.
(9/4/96) The American cruise-missile attacks on military targets in southern Iraq yesterday were a reasonable, proportionate response to Mr. Hussein’s latest act of aggression, this one directed against thousands of his own countrymen.
Second, there really was never any doubt in the minds of the Times (or the rest of the damn planet) that Saddam was hiding some kind of weapons program.
(8/12/98) Iraq has resisted inspection at every turn, leaving inspectors convinced it retains the ambition and means to develop biological and chemical weapons. Mr. Hussein has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to attack his neighbors, even his countrymen. Allowing him to replenish his stockpile of biological and chemical weapons would threaten the Persian Gulf region and its oilfields, as well as Israel. Few developments would so directly endanger American security interests.
Bust out a flannel shirt, put on Badmotorfinger, and take the walk down memory lane, because as TigerHawk puts it:
One cannot understand the arguments about the purposes of today's war without understanding the arguments during the Clinton years.
On the streets of Saddam Hussein's hometown, young men were hanging campaign posters Thursday, some even reaching out to members of the jailed dictator's banned political party.
Dozens of political groups in this city of 200,000 are competing in next month's national election, and turnout throughout the heavily Sunni Arab province is expected to be high.
The activity in Tikrit is a marked contrast to the Jan. 30 parliamentary elections, which most Sunni Arabs boycotted. Their absence from the polls enabled Shiites and Kurds to win an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly, worsening sectarian tensions.
The United States hopes a big turnout will encourage Sunni Arabs to abandon the insurgency in favor of politics, hastening the day the U.S. and other international troops can go home.
The article goes on to explain how some Sunni-Tikritis are still cautious about this whole deal but also how they're realizing what a dumb move it was to sit out the last go around.
Many Sunni Arabs now agree the January boycott was a mistake. This time, Sunni politicians are complaining that Shiite-led security services are trying to prevent them from voting through a campaign of arrests and intimidation amid allegations of torture and maltreatment at an Interior Ministry detention center in Baghdad.
On Thursday, however, the talk was not of voter intimidation or torture allegations. The main complaint from local politicians was that the province's 1.1 million people — the vast majority of them Sunni Arabs — are going to get swindled out of their fair share of National Assembly seats under the current election law.
While there's still a long way to go, this sounds like cause for optimism not defeatism to me. Or you could just dismiss this report since it's from VRWC mouthpiece FoxNews.