My First is in Quick, but not in Thick

by Kieran Healy on October 5, 2004

“David Brooks”: today:

bq. Every few weeks I hear about a new twist in American strategy or tactics. It always seems promising, but conditions don’t improve. On the other hand, officials in this administration don’t have a thought in their heads about not sticking this out.

I know there’s a word for this. Just give me a minute and it’ll come to me. Alternatively, the CT “time machine”: can bring us back to last September:

bq. The U.S.’s day-to-day problems in Iraq may end up resembling Northern Ireland rather than Vietnam: car bombings, political assassinations, a general effort by terrorists to violently undermine civil society and resist the occupying power. The cost in terms of soldiers’ lives would be much lower than in Vietnam, but if there’s no viable way to extricate yourself the feeling of the situation may be much the same.



cleek 10.05.04 at 6:05 pm

wow. Brooks is dumb.


norbizness 10.05.04 at 6:17 pm

“Bespectacled douchebag”? Oh, you’re talking about the situation, not Brooks. I believe it’s called “a corner being turned… forever.”


von 10.05.04 at 6:19 pm

Reaction posted at Obsidian Wings.


von 10.05.04 at 6:30 pm

(I should note that my reaction is kinda a zig from your zag, and that, due to my being an idiot, I have no idea how to operate your trackback feature and thus must leave these pointless, OT comments.)


General Glut 10.05.04 at 6:39 pm

If only it could be as good as Northern Ireland! Try the Gaza Strip and you’re a lot closer.


jif 10.05.04 at 6:49 pm

You know, I hear there are two kinds of people. The people who get it wrong and admit it, and the kind who get it wrong and pretend they didn’t have it wrong. It’s like the difference between breakfast cereals.


bob mcmanus 10.05.04 at 8:13 pm

“On the other hand, officials in this administration don’t have a thought in their heads about not sticking this out.”

Hell, I don’t even know if this true. It is becoming a very expensive war that DeLay et al don’t want to finance, and I would not be shocked to see Bushco declare victory in the spring and be halfway withdrawn by fall 2005.
Taxcuts uber Alles.
Brooks gets through the entire article, propping up the sock puppet and not mentioning the real man in Iraq, Sistani. Read Juan Cole today.

Sistani sayeth: “Elections” Americans say “Give us six months.” We are on our third or fourth chance here, and Sistani may be losing his patience. Sistani wants those Sunni areas (Fallujah,etc) represented in January. SCIRI and DAWA could live without them. Talk recently of Sistani joining forces with Sadr(and Chalabi) against Allawi, SCIRI, DAWA, etc.

We have, umm, a pressing need to get all of Iraq ready for elections. Yes, Sistani could have all the Americans dead, all 150k, by simply asking, when he is willing to sacrifice several hundred thousand Iraqis. Fact. Praise Allah, Sistani a good guy, and probably will never do it. Big game of chicken being played.

Or I could misunderstand everything.


bob mcmanus 10.05.04 at 8:55 pm

Lot of little clues:

1) Sistani is upset that Allawi, and DAWA are dominating the election lists, and giving the Southern Tribal Chieftains no representation.

2) Chalabi visiting Kurdistan
3) Chalabi meeting with Sadr
4) Chalabi meeting with Hezbollah(Iran)
5) Chalabi meeting with Marsh Arabs in the Southeast (see 1). Britain pulling some troops out of SE.

I don’t know that Bush doesn’t want to lose the election so he can blame Kerry. Cause I can really see America losing the war in the next six months, with an Iraq controlled by Chalabi, Sistani, Sadr and Iran. We have been played.


abb1 10.05.04 at 9:30 pm

Don’t be silly. Those who need to win the election will win the election.

“Those who vote decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything.” – Joseph Djugashvili


skeeter 10.05.04 at 10:50 pm

If he’d just ended that sentence after “heads,” then he might’ve achieved some glancing contact with reality.

As it is, the column’s just the usual smarmy counterfactual pap.


skeeter 10.05.04 at 10:54 pm

If he’d ended that sentence after “heads,” he’d at least be within shouting distance of reality.

As it is, the column’s just his usual smarmy counterfactual pap.


william 10.06.04 at 1:21 am

I don’t think ayatollah al-Sistani will be allying himself with any street-level, inexperienced thug mullah like al-Sadr.


bob mcmanus 10.06.04 at 2:45 am

“I don’t think ayatollah al-Sistani will be allying himself with any street-level, inexperienced thug mullah like al-Sadr.”

Well, as of this afternoon Allawi says he has reached an accomodation with Sadr. Whatever this means, or however much truth there is in it.

There was a point in early summer where Sistani was backed to the wall on the issue of appointed representatives vs elections. Sistani got I think 30k to the street in Basra, followed by 100k+ in Baghdad. The CPA/IGC backed down, and the process with Brahimi etc was compromised. At that point Sadr got 5-10k marching in Sadr City in an unauthorized “me too” gesture. Sistani has directly intervened to save Sadr twice. Sadr would like to be able to deliver a constituency to Sistani, out of Sadr City. as a way of gaining status equal to the other clerics. No he does not deserve it, and is not respected.

I have some trouble understanding the positions and roles of the clerics beyond Sistani and Sadr. If they have joined with Allawi to rig the election lists and install a puppet gov’t, Sistani may get alienated.

If there is going to be general uprising, and Juan Cole says much of the insurgency is intended to create a disaffected populace as a precursor to a general uprising, then maybe only Sistani, Sadr, and Chalabi have the anti-American credibility to get Shia, and even Sunni into the streets. Sadr has some credibility, I think with the insurgent Sunni. Of course Sistani is the only National figure.

Juan Cole

This is what has shook me today. Sistani does not bullshit. The greatest superpower ever has had ample time to make fair elections possible.

Sistani may not ally with Sadr, but Sadr may have been picking the side he thinks will survive, and hoping to benefit after the smoke clears.


No Preference 10.06.04 at 2:25 pm

Northern Ireland is a poor analogy for Iraq. In Northern Ireland a majority of the population saw itself as belonging on the same side as the occupiers. True, some Protestants felt alienated from the Brits, but that was nothing compared to the enormous gulf between the US occupying forces and the Iraqi populace. The basic situation in Iraq is different and far more dire.


John Faughnan 10.08.04 at 3:46 am

Not Vietnam. Not Northern Ireland.


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