January 11, 2010

No, Duh.

The NYT notes that intel analysts are awash in data from the drones flying over Afghanistan and Iraq. Really? Whoda thunk it; more sensors equal more data; more data and the same number of analysts equals less analysis. Of significantly...
Posted by baltar at 07:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2009

Torture: A Continuing Series

I continue to be confused by the right-wing assertions in this scandal. They've claimed everything from "the techniques we used were not torture" (wrong) to "the Democrats can't/shouldn't change the laws to criminalize acts of the previous administration" (wrong again:...
Posted by baltar at 08:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 18, 2009

This is Moderately Cool

What the NYT Baghdad bureau is reading right now. Not completely cool, but moderately so....
Posted by baltar at 08:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2009

The Plight of Iraqi Widows

Hilzoy highlighted this New York Times story. It's exceedingly depressing, and a reminder of why the US my not be winning "hearts and minds" in the region.Still, only about 120,000 widows - roughly one in six - receive any state...
Posted by armand at 09:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 11, 2008

Meanwhile, in Kirkuk

Over 150 casualties in a restaurant bombing....
Posted by armand at 03:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 01, 2008

Iraq, November 2008

A story on the latest bombings concludes with a look at recent trends. The US death toll is down. The civilian death toll is up....
Posted by armand at 02:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 26, 2008

Counting the Votes: Iraq's New Election Law

It's neither an open list system nor a closed list system....
Posted by armand at 05:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Turkey Bombs Iraqi Sites (Already Attacked by Iran)

Since a different military clash in South Asia is getting more press, I thought I'd note this one. Turkish warplanes crossed the border into northern Iraqi airspace to bomb 16 Kurdish rebel sites, a spokesman for Turkey' s military said...
Posted by armand at 01:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 01, 2008

A $3 Billion Iraq-China Oil Contract

It's the first deal of its kind since the 2003 invasion. Iraq and China signed a $3 billion deal this week to develop a large Iraqi oil field, the first major commercial oil contract here with a foreign company since...
Posted by armand at 12:19 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 20, 2008

McCain Was Screwed Before Maliki Spoke

I think Hilzoy is right here. And if the press is paying attention the larger trend, I think Maliki's comments could be even worse for McCain than they at first appear. First the Bush administration started appeasing negotiating with Iran,...
Posted by armand at 05:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2008

A Friendly Reminder - The Surge Is a Failure

Eric Martin restates the obvious.Of course a simple way of seeing that is that it's been extended long past the date when the president first promised it would end. But somehow that's viewed as a sign of success, not failure....
Posted by armand at 01:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2008

Cheney, Rumsfeld and Their Circle - Duped by Iran?

I can't decide which of these two paragraphs is more troubling. A top aide to then-secretary of defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, however, shut down the 2003 investigation into the Pentagon officials' activities after only a month, and the Defense Department's...
Posted by armand at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2008

Juan Cole on Why Grand Ayatollah Sistani Might Turn Against US Troops in Iraq

Cole has a long post on this important issue, and notes a few possibilities of why Sistani might choose to do this now. Personally, I think this is the most likely reason about the timing. I have all along believed...
Posted by armand at 10:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2008

Greg Gause Makes the Case for Early National Elections in Iraq

He's got some very good arguments. Of course whether or not they might actually come to pass is an entirely different matter....
Posted by armand at 04:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2008

The US in Iraq - Trying to Secure a Terrorist-Funded Army Maintains Power

Yeah, this really does cut to the chase, doesn't it: So, just so that we're clear on this. We are building an army full of people who are still getting pension payments from an organization that the U.S. has designated...
Posted by armand at 11:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 04, 2008

Many Desertions During the Basra Fight

Via War is Boring I see this depressing story touching on the capabilities and strength of the Iraqi military. More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen either refused to fight or simply abandoned their posts during the inconclusive assault against...
Posted by armand at 12:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 02, 2008

More Things John McCain Doesn't Know About Iraq

In this case he doesn't even know his own mind. Yesterday in one interview he described Sadr as a major player whose influence must be reduced. In a different interview yesterday he said Sadr's influence had been on the...
Posted by armand at 10:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 01, 2008

Iranian Broker of Iraqi Peace Is on Terrorist Watch Lists

Something else to make many nervous about the outcome of the recent fighting between the Iraqi government and Sadr's forces. Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, who helped U.S.-backed Iraqi leaders negotiate a deal with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to...
Posted by armand at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 26, 2008

Now Is the Time to Pressure Maliki to Integrate the Sunni Militias

High problematic from a Shiite point of view, sure, but Marc Lynch makes a pretty good case for it here. Why now and what can be gained? The downside is that if Maliki doesn't go along, dragging his feet and...
Posted by armand at 10:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2008

The Police Chief in Fallujah

Yesterday the Washington Post ran this profile of the police chief in Fallujah, a former member of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard, and a man who enthusiastically fought Americans in the wake of the war. For the next two years, Zobaie...
Posted by armand at 02:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2008


Yep. That's what you call it: The account that emerges from those interviews, and from access to previously unpublished documents, makes clear that Mr. Bremer’s decree reversed an earlier plan - one that would have relied on the Iraqi military...
Posted by binky at 09:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 28, 2008

The Week's News From Iraq Includes ...

Kevin Drum was kind of funny yesterday, pointing out how the US loves military timetables when it involves other countries' armies leaving Iraq, but not ours. But while the hypocrisy might be amusing the situation on the ground isn't. Iraq's...
Posted by armand at 09:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2008

Sadr Extends His Ceasefire

This would seem to be good news from Iraq - at least if one's goal is to limit direct conflict between the major armed groups in the country.But it's probably also worth noting that this renewal is only until mid-August...
Posted by armand at 11:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 18, 2008

More Jihadis, Less Jihadis, Iraq is Always a Win for Team Bush - and a Loss for the Rest of Us

Matt Duss notes the contradictions, which is amusing as far as it goes, but of course still leaves us with a debacle. While on a darkly satirical level I appreciate that Gerecht's new line of pro-war bull directly contradicts previous...
Posted by armand at 10:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 11, 2008

McCain - And Being in Iraq for 10,000 Years

Okay, I rarely find this kind of thing all that impressive - but this really is pretty funny, and actually I'd love to see someone pay to put it on tv (where it'd surely get lots of free media attention)....
Posted by armand at 10:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

RAND's 2005 "Rebuilding Iraq" on Tommy Franks

So Michael Gordon's piece on the RAND report that's been hushed up for over 2 years is interesting mostly for the continual secrecy about even things that are already widely known, so long as they might prove the slightest bit...
Posted by armand at 09:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 08, 2008

A Dilemma

This will be somewhat obscure, 'cause I don't want this to be public (this will make sense; just read on).I've been invited to have dinner with a gentleman being inducted to this august University's Alumni Hall of Fame (or whatever...
Posted by baltar at 11:26 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 23, 2008

Yet More Recruitment Woes

The Army is having trouble again. They want to have 90% of their recruits with a high school diploma, but they also need to make the recruiting numbers in order to prevent a shortfall in people to do jobs. Well,...
Posted by baltar at 11:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 21, 2008

Returning from Iraq: 1 in 5 Have Brain Injuries

If this is accurate, it's horrifying. The Pentagon is releasing a report saying, one in five American serviceman and women who have been in Iraq are coming back with brain injuries. Mild, traumatic brain injuries. More than 250,000 people. That...
Posted by armand at 08:03 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

January 17, 2008

No End in Sight

So my latest Netflix rental was this documentary on the utter ineptitude of the Bush Administration and CPA in planning for and dealing with post-war Iraq. Yes, it deserves the acclaim it's received. And I'll be floored if it's not...
Posted by armand at 07:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2008

G'Kar, Killed in Iraq

The blogger known as G'Kar was killed in Iraq yesterday. Hilzoy has posted his final words, written in advance in the event this happened....
Posted by armand at 01:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2007

Improving Death Toll Numbers in Iraq

Perhaps this is more Baltar's territory than mine, but I think this Charles Bird post is worth linking too, as it's a nice collection of news stories from Iraq that could actually be termed "good news". Now it would be...
Posted by armand at 11:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 01, 2007


I'm just completely reprinting this entire George Packer post from his blog over at Vanity Fair. My level of frustration at our conduct in this war (both on this issue and others - how can America possibly be having a...
Posted by baltar at 10:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 24, 2007

This Isn't Really Funny, But ...

Spencer Ackerman's tips for Blackwater, as it apparently needs sensitivity training: Lesson One: Don't drunkenly murder bodyguards of Iraqi dignitaries. Lesson Two: Should Lesson One fail, don't hire those who drunkenly murder bodyguards of Iraqi dignitaries. Lesson Three: Don't shoot...
Posted by armand at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 15, 2007

Have We Defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq?

Some generals say it's time to declare victory. The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a declaration of victory over the group, which...
Posted by armand at 10:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 29, 2007

The Senate Votes in Favor of the Biden Plan

By a big, big margin. So what if that's not what the Iraqi people want, it's what the US Senate (which showed such great wisdom in helping get us in this mess in the first place) wants - and that's...
Posted by armand at 04:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 28, 2007

Prime Minister Maliki - Biden's Iraq Plan Is a Catastrophe

If the senior senator from Delaware's campaign wasn't such a sad and pointless affair (which means it really doesn't merit attack ads), opponents could have a lot of fun with this. Biden's presumptuousness (something sadly backed by most senators, though...
Posted by armand at 08:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 17, 2007

Fancy That

Iraq's Interior Ministry has revoked the license of Blackwater USA......
Posted by binky at 09:23 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 12, 2007

War Critic Soldiers Killed in Iraq

Do you think the punditocracy and tv blowhards will pay attention to their op-ed now that they are dead?...
Posted by armand at 09:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gen. Petraeus - We're There As Long Is It Might Unravel

Not only does Petraeus say here that we'll be in Iraq until there's politicial reconciliation, regardless of advances in Iraqi forces' capabilities, we'll apparently be there until the Iraqi state is firmly stable. In other words, Petraeus wants us to...
Posted by armand at 08:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 11, 2007

Remix a classic

Lame dead duck... HT...
Posted by binky at 09:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 08, 2007

2% (or Less) of Our Adversaries in Iraq Are Al Qaeda in Iraq

So says Gen. Jones, who would seem to be in an excellent position to know. Would it be too much to ask for the news crews to note this fact every time the White House says that if we leave...
Posted by armand at 06:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"Who Disbanded the Iraqi Army?"

We don't know. Fred Kaplan guesses it may have been Cheney on Chalabi's advice. But regardless of who had the idea, I think we know who is responsible. Kaplan ends his article this way: Many stories have since been told...
Posted by armand at 09:47 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 07, 2007

About That Report We've Been Hearing About for Months

About that White House report (aka the Petraeus Report) ... well it turns out it won't actually exist. The general is going to give a statement to Congress and ... that's it. I guess that's one way of getting around...
Posted by armand at 03:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 04, 2007

The Surge Can Not Fail

As Ezra notes, it's impossible. But that's the genius of the surge strategy: Anything that's good is redefined as Progress, and anything that's Progress is defined as a result of the surge. Meanwhile, anything that's bad -- like the continued...
Posted by armand at 02:45 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Counting Dead Iraqis

You've got to be kidding. Sadly, our government is not....
Posted by armand at 12:27 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Petraeus' Potemkin Village

I'm rather surprised that this hasn't been more framed this way more often. The extent to which the administration and Petraeus are engaging in public relations as opposed to producing on-the-ground success continues to surprise (which you wouldn't think would...
Posted by armand at 11:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

When Thinking About the "Petraeus Report" ...

Hilzoy says you should keep these 8 points in mind....
Posted by armand at 08:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 31, 2007

Today I'm Popeye: Fisking Bush's VFW Speech

I've had all I can stand, and I can't stands no more. (NOTE: I realize this is almost a week late, but I have an actual day job, and have to do actual work at it. Thus, I got this...
Posted by baltar at 04:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 30, 2007

Success! If Meeting 3 of 18 Benchmarks Equals Success

The new GAO report on Iraq is grim. Also grim is the fact that it's being released in this form because officials think the White House will skew its findings. That's entirely predictable - but it's sad that that's become...
Posted by armand at 10:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 29, 2007

Petraeus "Softened" the NIE?

I didn't know he had that kind of power....
Posted by armand at 09:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 27, 2007

No Deliberations - Naming Bremer, But Not Khalilzad

I didn't know this either. The president's decision-making procedures (or lack thereof) really are the worst in the history of the modern presidency. The incompetence seemingly knows no bounds....
Posted by armand at 08:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2007

A Broken Army

The New York Times Magazine article on the potential division between Captains/Majors and Generals in the US Army is well worth reading. There have been multiple arguments about "breaking" the Army by forcing it to recycle troops through Iraq multiple...
Posted by baltar at 08:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2007

Hilzoy on Bush's Speech

Good read this. Now....
Posted by armand at 01:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 23, 2007

Hirsh: How Is Iraq Like Vietnam?

Michael Hirsh notes that while a lot of what the president was saying about Iraq and Vietnam yesterday was incredibly off-base, there are one or two unfortunate similarities between the two. We need to face facts. The problem of Iraq...
Posted by armand at 03:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2007

Hot; Tired; Cranky.

It's hot (back into the high 80s, with approximately the same humidity); I'm tired (I start teaching three classes on Monday). Thus, I'm cranky. Consider this a wrap-up of the things I have muttered to myself this past week. If...
Posted by baltar at 07:40 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 15, 2007

The White House (Errr, Petraeus) Report on Iraq

Atrios thinks it's important that we keep it in mind that the "Petraeus Report" will actually be written by the White House. That's true. But I've got a question for the LA Times: Why make this paragraph - Despite Bush's...
Posted by armand at 09:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 11, 2007

Iran and Iraq, Hand in Hand

Literally. For the life of me I'll never understand why this doesn't get discussed more in the media's discussion of what victory entails, or whether the US can "win"....
Posted by armand at 06:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 06, 2007


Feeling safer yet? Think we're "supporting the troops"? Isn't this the kind of thing we'd decry Iran for? Oh my. The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in...
Posted by armand at 09:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 30, 2007

Khalilzad Accuses the Saudis of Undermining the US in Iraq

Don't you know that Condi Rice and Bob Gates are just thrilled that our UN Ambassador made these comments just before they visit Saudi Arabia? I presume the administration planned this, but talk about a way to make some difficult...
Posted by armand at 10:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2007

Abuse of the Those Building the US Embassy in Baghdad

So the Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has been investigating charges that the workers building the new US Embassy in Iraq are being abused. Here's coverage from McClatchy and The...
Posted by armand at 09:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2007

The US House Votes to Ban Permanent Bases in Iraq

This is interesting. Today, the House passed H.R. 2929, Banning Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq. This bill states that it is the policy of the United States not to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing...
Posted by armand at 04:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2007

Hilzoy's 10 Lessons From the Iraq War

Read them here....
Posted by armand at 05:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2007

The White House Report on "Progress" in Iraq

Outrageous. A sham. Dismal. Deliberately distorted. Dismaying. I think the Bush administration's mendacity has Fred Kaplan on the verge of a Howard Beale-moment. The Bush administration's distortions are that extreme....
Posted by armand at 10:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2007

The House Vote on the Responsible Redeployment Act

Could the differences between the parties on Iraq be more stark? It passed 223-201. All but 10 Democrats voted yea (the 10 were mostly conservatives, plus Kucinich). They were joined by 4 Republicans (Duncan, Emerson, Jones and Gilchrest). That's 4...
Posted by armand at 06:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2007

Good George Packer Post on Iraq

George Packer (who wrote a great book on Iraq last year) also has a blog over at the New Yorker. He muses about Phil Carter (who runs Intel-Dump, a great military blog), who has served in Iraq and now feels...
Posted by baltar at 12:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 26, 2007

What Has the Iraq War Wrought? A Surge in the Sex Trade

Read it, if you can stomach it.There are more than a million Iraqi refugees in Syria, many are women whose husbands or fathers have been killed. Banned from working legally, they have few options outside the sex trade. No one...
Posted by armand at 08:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2007

And speaking of failed states...

What happens when a state can't - or won't - rely on a standing army to accomplish its security objectives? Privatization. In the case of the war in Iraq, it looks like the private sector has found new and improved...
Posted by binky at 01:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2007

Tough Times for the Maliki Government - Turks Into Kurdistan

The Sadrists withdrew from his coalition, then the parliament blocked confirmation of his replacements for those cabinet ministers, and now the parliament has demanded that it grant permission for US troops to remain in the country. Iraqi legislators led by...
Posted by armand at 12:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2007

Is the War Going Well?

Basic counterinsurgency strategy (best discussed about forty years ago in Galula's counterinsurgency bible, written after Galula served in Algeria, and observing France's failing attempts to win in Vietnam) argues that counterinsurgency is fundamentally political. On one side is the government,...
Posted by baltar at 01:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 26, 2007

Post-War Iraq: The CIA Predicted It Before the War

Of course we already knew this to a degree (remember the White House's war against the CIA), but a new Senate Intelligence Committee report featuring previously classified information shows that the intelligence committee accurately predicted the dangerous mess that would...
Posted by armand at 09:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2007

Only 14 Nays in the Senate on the Iraq Appropriations Bill?

In the US House most Democrats voted against the Iraq appropriations bill - but in the Senate only 14 members (and only 10 Democrats!) voted against the bill. Of course among those 14 were 3 presidential candidates (Clinton, Dodd and...
Posted by armand at 04:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2007

"Well, my little pretty, I can cause accidents, too! "

"And now, my beauties, something with poison in it. Poppies... Poppies." HT...
Posted by binky at 11:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 17, 2007

"That's the difference between a free media and propaganda."

One of the prime problems with US policy in the Mid East (if not the world) is that everyone believes that the US hates all of them, wants to bomb everybody, and generally couldn't give a dead rat what happens...
Posted by baltar at 11:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 16, 2007

Only 29 Votes for Feingold-Reid

Given its wording I think Feingold-Reid matches the popular will - fight al-Qaeda, protect Americans, but don't continue to ramp up operations to protect the dismally-functioning (and basically dismal) Iraqi government. According to my reading of the polls, that's clearly...
Posted by armand at 12:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 15, 2007

What Will Clinton and Obama Do on Feingold-Reid?

The legislation requires the president to begin the "safe, phased withdrawal of U.S. forces" within 120 days. After March 31, 2008, all funds would be cut off for the deployment of troops in Iraq, with three exceptions: "targeted operations"...
Posted by armand at 12:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 10, 2007

A Major Bombing in Irbil

The McClatchy correspondents write that today's deadly truck bombing is the first major attack in the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region in 3 years. The specific target - the Interior Ministry....
Posted by armand at 01:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is Dick Cheney a Persian Mole?

That question is asked and answered by the War Nerd in this interesting discussion of who won the war in Iraq (hint, it's neither the US nor Iraq). Actually he goes on to make some thoughtful observations about who wins...
Posted by armand at 01:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2007

The War's Devastating Effects on Iraq's Christians

This is awful, though also sadly predictable. As many as 50 percent of Iraq's Christians may already have left the country, according to a report issued Wednesday by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal monitoring and advisory...
Posted by armand at 01:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 03, 2007

What's Up With Rep. Michael McNulty (D-NY)?

So Amato put up the list of the seven House Democrats who chose not to vote to override President Bush's veto of the Iraq War spending bill. Six of those seven names are awfully predictable. They vote against Democrats often,...
Posted by armand at 12:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 30, 2007

Prime Minister Maliki - Blocking Combat Against the Shiite Militias

So you've probably seen this depressing article in the Times, noting the latest depressing behavior of the Iraqi government that we are fighting (and dying) for: A department of the Iraqi prime minister's office is playing a leading role in...
Posted by armand at 11:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 29, 2007

Iraq: Even the US's Touted Successes Become Failures

The lead of James Glanz's piece in today's New York Times: In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United...
Posted by armand at 02:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2007

An Average Day for the US Army In Iraq.

Great story in the Washington Post about the absurdities, tragedies, comedies, triumphs and defeats of being the US Army trying to "win" in Iraq....
Posted by baltar at 09:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 23, 2007

The Wall Around Adhamiya and "Other Walls"

Funny, I thought Iraq was now a democracy with an independent government. Did President Bush lie to me? Because if it is a democracy with an independent government, you'd think that a call by the prime minister to stop a...
Posted by armand at 09:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 17, 2007

Faculty Killed, In Virginia and Iraq

I was struck by the fact the three of the first four names I've seen listed as killed in Blacksburg were faculty members. Though of course Virginia Tech isn't the only place where professors have been killed this week.In Mosul,...
Posted by armand at 08:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2007

Bill Richardson, Setting Himself Apart from the Others

How is Bill Richardson differentiating himself from Clinton, Obama, and Edwards? Unlike the other 3 he's calling for a removal of all US troops from Iraq. Kos has the details (including a sort of whining response from the Edwards team...
Posted by armand at 05:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Our Guy in Iraq? Chalabi! No, Allawi!, No, Jaafari! Wait Did I Say Jaafari ...

Alex Rossmiller traces the history of the Bush administration's "erratic meddling" in Iraqi domestic politics. Constancy appears to not be the Bush administration's style....
Posted by armand at 01:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Accurate Job Descriptions

From a story in today's WaPo: The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has...
Posted by baltar at 10:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 10, 2007

Team Bush: Aiding Terrorists and Supporting North Korean Arms Sales

Hypocrisy? Aiding enemies of the US? Undermining their own freakin' foreign policies? You are just shocked, I know. Though actually, maybe Kevin's preceding post is even more damning. Are US prisons in Iraq basically terrorist academies?...
Posted by armand at 10:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 09, 2007

Moises Naim on America's Learning Disability in Iraq

This was posted last Friday, but as I think it's a wise observation I figured I would still link to it. The editor in chief of Foreign Policy thinks the US is still operating under the (incorrect) assumuptions that got...
Posted by armand at 12:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 08, 2007

Politics Versus Reality

For those of us who have come to oppose the US adventures in Iraq (either recently or since 2002; either strenuously or moderately), this WaPo article presents the crux of the problem: An official in Iraq warned that executing the...
Posted by baltar at 12:16 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

April 05, 2007

The Power of the Unelected in Iraq

Quite the democracy we've established, no? The most powerful Shiite cleric in Iraq has rejected an American-backed proposal to allow thousands of former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party to return to government service, an aide to the cleric said...
Posted by armand at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 31, 2007

Tony Karon's "What's Iraq About Now?"

I found this piece by way of Yglesias, and it's quite good if you are looking for one brief post that hits the core points and problems with the war in Iraq in both 2003 and today....
Posted by armand at 10:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2007

Mazarr Brings Kingdon, Agenda Setting, Focusing Events and Policy Windows to the Decision to Go to War in Iraq

Since I was on vacation, I managed to catch up on my reading this week. That included 4 issues of The New Yorker and 2 issues of Foreign Policy Analysis. And the first article in the January issue of the...
Posted by armand at 02:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 24, 2007

Unsecured Munitions and US Casualties

So everyone's likely already seen this linked to at Kevin Drum's place, but in case not ...Remember the president took us into war with too few troops to secure Iraq, and how the military left various sites around Iraq filled...
Posted by armand at 04:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2007

A Visual Explanation For American Foreign Policy

Via YouTube, an explanation for America's Iraq policy in about four and a half minutes. Very close to accurate....
Posted by baltar at 09:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Things Going Wrong In Iraq, Part 5,498,560.

If you didn't see Sunday's WaPo story on bureaucratic infighting, you should. Long story short: DC based bureaucrats try to remake Iraq into their (ideological) image. Iraqis ignore silly Americans, continue to duck mortar shells. As I noted before, my...
Posted by baltar at 11:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 02, 2007

Good, Short Primer on Who is Doing the Violence in Iraq

Via Danger Room (Wired magazine's new blog on defense and technology) comes this nice roundup of the various insurgent/terrorist groups in Iraq. Short but comprehensive. Armand - any points of disagreements (he is the Middle East expert around here, after...
Posted by baltar at 01:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 22, 2007

Armand Hearts General Odom

That's not a new thing of course - but besting Hugh Hewitt on Iraq is pretty great....
Posted by armand at 10:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 21, 2007

An Anti-Gay Pogrom in Iraq

It's getting even worse. "Iraqi LGBTs are at daily risk of execution by the Shia death squads of the Badr and Sadr militias," Mr. Hili told delegates at the conference. "Members of these militias have infiltrated the Iraqi police and...
Posted by armand at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2007

Look, Democrats Can Be Assholes Too!

AP: Gov. Ted Strickland delivered a message to President Bush Wednesday - don't send any refugees from the war in Iraq to our state. We also have a message for the governor - show a little compassion... Strickland said Ohioans...
Posted by binky at 11:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 30, 2007

When Football Analogies Go Awry

From Sen. Richard Lugar's column in today's Washington Post: We need to recast the geo-strategic reference points of our Iraq policy. Some commentators have compared the Bush plan to a "Hail Mary" pass in football -- a desperate heave deep...
Posted by armand at 10:07 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 28, 2007

Has Former Secretary Laird Gone Crazy?

What the hell is THIS? Former Republican Congressman and Vietnam-era Defense Secretary Mel Laird seems to have lost his marbles. Either that, or he's being disingenuous in the extreme and not playing by the "civility and bipartisanship" rules he wants...
Posted by armand at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 24, 2007

State Of The Union

I was fairly unimpressed by Bush's State of the Union speech last night. The tone was better (more engaged, more animated) than the dreary "library speech" of 10ish days ago, but the content hasn't really changed much. On domestic policy,...
Posted by baltar at 05:49 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

January 15, 2007

Bush's "Surge" - Making LemonAIDS From His Lemon of a Policy?

Fareed Zakaria isn't remotely as funny as Sarah Silverman (who originated the "when you've got lemons, make lemonaids" joke), but I have a nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach that he's right. And one of the worst...
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January 11, 2007

Is Blackadder Relevant to Our Times?

Or British military planning in World War I? AMERICAblog reports, you decide....
Posted by armand at 09:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 10, 2007

Uh, I'm Confused.

OK, I just listened to Bush's "New Strategy in Iraq Speech". I remain confused. We have something like 130,000 US troops in Iraq today. Bush is proposing sending an additional five brigades of troops to Iraq (plus 4,000 to Anbar...
Posted by baltar at 09:27 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 09, 2007

Bush's Escalation in Iraq

If you take a step back and think about it, it's really rather astonishing that this level of idiocy in our government really isn't all that surprising any more.It really does make one wish that we had a political system...
Posted by armand at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 05, 2007

Khalilzad Gets the UN Gig, While Fallon and Petraeus Replace Abizaid and Casey

More shuffling of the deck chairs? The Armchair Generalist has some concerns about the military appointments, while Steve Clemons thinks the pick for the UN is a good one. Ryan Crocker is apparently in line to be the new Ambassador...
Posted by armand at 09:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 30, 2006

A Damn Silly Reason to Criticize President Bush

Wtf? When there's so much to really criticize him for, so very, very much, why knock him for going to bed before the execution and not being awakened to hear that the deed was done? Why does the president need...
Posted by armand at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 13, 2006

The War of the Imagination

If you haven't gotten to it yet, but are interested in how exactly we got into the mess that is is Iraq in December 2006, I recommend you go read Mark Danner's piece in The New York Review of Books....
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December 10, 2006

Hasn't Joe Biden Already "Shot" His Credibility?

Ladies and gentlemen I give you the senior senator from Delaware, who's about to become Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations again. Should we laugh or cry?...
Posted by armand at 05:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 09, 2006

Catching Up

Binky pointed out to me that we haven't done much on recent political stories (our bread and butter), concentrating mostly on music, infotainment and other sundries. While this is true, I suspect our excuse is related to the fact that...
Posted by baltar at 11:10 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 01, 2006

Democracy Marches On

Via Iraq Updates, a Reuters story: Iraq's parliament will bar the media from future sessions and began yesterday by refusing access to reporters and then cutting off television coverage as a debate on mounting sectarian violence became heated. Spokesmen for...
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November 27, 2006

Atrios is correct...

...when he says "I'm sure there are college students for whom Iraq is very real." He mentions that war was real when he was a student at IUP, but notes that students at Bryn Mawr and Weslyan (CT) do not...
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November 14, 2006

One Step Closer...

Today's version of "Choose your Next Step to Civil War" brings us the end of higher eduction in Iraq: BAGHDAD, Nov. 14 - Several dozen employees of a university office were kidnapped here today, in a methodical daylight raid that...
Posted by baltar at 11:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 02, 2006

I Got Your Liberal Media Right Here.

In general I think the media is neither liberal nor conservative. It's sensationalist: it wants to sell advertising space (its a business, after all), and the more people who want to read their stories, the more they can charge to...
Posted by baltar at 09:06 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

October 28, 2006

Fearon on Civil War and Iraq

Abu Aardvark has a post on the famed Stanford political scientist testifying before a House subcommittee on the nature of civil wars and the situation in Iraq. His appraisal of the situation - depressing but illuminating....
Posted by armand at 10:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 25, 2006

Good News from Iraq

Increased independence on the part of the government: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki lashed out at the United States Wednesday, saying his popularly elected government would not bend to U.S.-imposed benchmarks and timelines and criticizing a U.S. and Iraqi military...
Posted by binky at 03:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 24, 2006

The Utter Destruction of Michael Rubin

If you enjoy someone who deserves derision being methodically taken apart bit by bit by bit, and receiving the scorn he so richly deserves, you won't want to miss Greg's response to Michael Rubin. To say that the AEI crowd...
Posted by armand at 01:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 23, 2006

Central America

Glad to see someone else picking up the connection I wrote about a year ago. Silber, via Crooks and Liars....
Posted by binky at 09:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pearls on the shore

The NYT titled its article "Stand or Fall." "As Baghdad goes, so goes Iraq," observed Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, who commands American forces throughout Iraq. Like any good child of the 80s, to escape the depression on thinking that...
Posted by binky at 06:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 07, 2006

An Actual Democratic Plan (And a Self-Inflicted Heimlich Manuever)

Via Crooks and Lians, an actual Pelosi-endorsed plan for when the Democrats take back the House of Representatives: As in the first 100 hours the House meets after Democrats - in her fondest wish - win control in the Nov....
Posted by baltar at 10:09 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

October 06, 2006

It Didn't Take Long, Part III

"State of Denial," page 254. It was all Bremer's fault. No, seriously. That's the claim that the people Woodward interviews are making. A remarkably large number of people are going on record (again, both directly and indirectly) as saying that...
Posted by baltar at 09:17 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 05, 2006

It Didn't Take Long, Part II.

State of Denial, by Woodward, page 179. This is really a facinating book. It's very different from "Bush at War" and "Plan of Attack" (previous books by Woodward; the first about Afghanistan, the second about Iraq up to the day...
Posted by baltar at 10:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It Didn't Take Long.

I'm on page 71 of "State of Denial" by Woodward. Rumsfeld has managed to be a complete idiot once, and a partial idiot twice. Chronologically, we haven't even gotten to August, 2001. Gonna be a long book. (Oh, Woodward's usual...
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September 26, 2006

NIE online

Excerpts here and a link to the PDF file....
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September 24, 2006

Why The Democrats Will Lose Seats In This November's Elections.*

(* And If They Don't, Why They Deserve To.) Dear Democratic Party, We (the country) recently had an interesting debate about torture. It was called something besides torture (stress positions, "cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment", whatever the hell the latest...
Posted by baltar at 12:11 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

September 17, 2006

Words Fail Me.

We blew up a country, parked 130,000 of our own troops (and several tens of thousands of our allies) on it, declared we owned the place, and then hired politically loyal but supremely incompetant idiots to rebuild it: Many of...
Posted by baltar at 12:13 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

September 09, 2006

Postwar plan = grounds for dismissal?

There are some times when you see something like this, you just move on, 'cause you know it's a weak link. Or you think, this can't possibly be true. Just no way. On the other hand, it's Crooks and Liars...
Posted by binky at 12:05 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

September 07, 2006

Creative Insults

I've just started Fiasco by Tom Ricks, a book I've assigned as extra credit for my "Global Political Issues" class. I'm only a few pages in, but I did find this aside somewhat entertaining: [Wolfowitz's] soft voice and mild manner...
Posted by baltar at 11:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 05, 2006

Is That Blood On The Floor?

Belgravia Dispatch Wow. When the moderates loathe you, it's time to hang it up....
Posted by baltar at 09:51 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 03, 2006

The Iraqi Flag Is Banned ... in Northern Iraq

The head of Iraqi Kurdistan has banned the national Iraqi flag from being flown in the region. One more step toward the collapse of what remains of the central government's control over the country?...
Posted by armand at 03:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 25, 2006

Turkey Bombs Kurdish Bases in Northern Iraq

I think this could be said of lots and lots of things happening in Iraq right now - but really, how in the hell is this not bigger news? Has any US tv news network covered it?...
Posted by armand at 08:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 24, 2006

Joe Biden's Partition Plan

I'm not judging if it's a good or bad idea, and Biden's far from the first to share these thoughts, I just have one question - Is Iraq ours to divide? And isn't this proposal rather short on saying how...
Posted by armand at 01:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

We're All Doomed! Oh, and Bush is Dumb - Really Dumb

That seems to be the gist of Fred Kaplan's utterly depressing "What a Moronic Presidential Press Conference!"....
Posted by armand at 09:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Greatest Paragraph Ever Written About Thomas Friedman

The World is Flat is a book by Thomas Friedman. As I refuse to recognize Thomas Friedman's right to exist, I decided to read Cobra II by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor instead. Found at Lawyers, Guns, and Money....
Posted by baltar at 10:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Yes, He's Really That Dumb.

The New York Times had a headline this morning: Bush Said to Be Frustrated by Level of Public Support in Iraq. The article goes on to describe a meeting Bush had with advisors last week, where the President seem annoyed...
Posted by baltar at 09:00 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

August 07, 2006

Force and Politics

I'm disturbed by the continued arguments (most, though not exclusively, right wing) that the use of force solves problems for states. I'm not going to bother with a laundry list of sites who argue this, but it's inherent in the...
Posted by baltar at 08:03 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Bush Commits US Soldiers to Fighting in Iraq's Civil War?

The early blog coverage of these comments by the president seems focused on his uh, interesting, take on the relationship between elections and civil wars. For an example, see Atrios. Coming in the wake of Peter Galbraith's comments that before...
Posted by armand at 01:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 30, 2006

Yet More Secrecy.

Does anyone remember the debates about the numbers of "Level 1" versus "Level 2" Iraqi battalions? You remember, a "Level 1" battalion can stand and fight without US assistance, while a "Level 2" could fight with US support (logistics, air,...
Posted by baltar at 08:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 23, 2006

Sunday Afternoon Newspaper Roundup

I read the Sunday papers so you don't have to: Most Interesting Story: The US is reducing our military spending in Africa. Why is this interesting? Al Qaeda (short term) and raw materials (long term). Follow me here. The Republican...
Posted by baltar at 01:56 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 21, 2006

A Good Iraq Post, and Some Inside Baseball for IR Geeks

Duck of Minerva has a retrospective on the buildup and execution of the Iraq War (2003 - 200?): The overall assumption evident throughout the political appointees of the Administration (and among Neo-con talking heads) was that inside each little Iraqi...
Posted by baltar at 11:02 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 20, 2006

Our Iraqi Friends on Our Israeli Friends

Yeah, this is sort of dog bites man stuff - but the vehemence with which the Iraqi prime minister and some of the Shiite clergy are excoriating Israel's actions is kind of interesting.Obviously our buddies who like Iran less than...
Posted by armand at 09:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Comparing Iraq and Lebanon

Yesterday was the deadliest day yet in Lebanon since the recent fighting broke out, with 55 Lebanese killed. The instability in the region and the ability of reporters to travel there obviously makes it a big news story. But how...
Posted by armand at 08:53 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 18, 2006

Dead Iraqis as a Sign of Progress

As Lawyers, Guns, and Money notes, some 3100 Iraqi civilians died in June alone. Of course, this is either good news or bad news - depending on your ideological position. The Right Wing will argue that this result is good...
Posted by baltar at 11:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 17, 2006

Right-Wing Nutosphere

I try not to feed the right-wing loonies that exist in the world wide internet webby thing. There are sufficient blogs to play that game. However, Hugh Hewitt took a dive off the very, very deep end into solid concrete...
Posted by baltar at 11:52 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 10, 2006

Good news from Iraq!

Our knickers would be even more twisty if we had half a clue what was going on over there. Including blacklisting reporters who don't toe the government's line on what's happening in Iraq: But the military has started censoring many...
Posted by binky at 08:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2006

Yet Another Wound from Iraq

The headline from the NYT story says it all: Hate Groups Are Infiltrating the Military. The article reports that the Southern Poverty Law Center (granted, a left-of-center group, but one that has a good track record for research in this...
Posted by baltar at 10:08 AM | Comments (39) | TrackBack

June 25, 2006

Defeatism by the Iraqi Embassy

Still catching up on all the fun stuff I missed. Via The Cunning Realist, I read this (warning: pdf) cable/message from Khalilzad to the State Department Headquarters sent last week. It's depressing stuff: among the Iraqi employees of the embassy,...
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June 21, 2006

Was Killing Zarqawi Really a "Win" for the US?

Uh-oh. As Spencer Ackerman noted, there are indications that Zarqawi's replacement might be "just as barbaric as Zarqawi, but not as stupid." It's the "not as stupid part" that is a cause for concern. This is potentially bad - potentially...
Posted by armand at 09:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2006


Via today's WaPo, we see that Maliki (the new Iraqi Prime Minister) is making a serious attempt at fixing the security situation by both increasing troops (Baghdad is filled with Iraqi police and military) and by political strategy - he...
Posted by baltar at 10:22 AM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

June 08, 2006

So Zarqawi Finally Outlived His Usefulness?

OK, with news this big, I'm afraid I've got to post today. Make no mistake, I think bringing a vicious killer to justice is a good thing (though I think people need to be very cautious about seeing this as...
Posted by armand at 10:55 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

May 27, 2006

Americans Killed Innocents in Haditha

This is precisely the sort of event that's behind why I'll always have grave doubts about using warfare as a means for bringing "freedom" or the like to an oppressed people. War inevitably leads to malicious, deadly horrors (often disturbingly...
Posted by armand at 02:43 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 25, 2006

Nexon Takes Apart Hanson

Victor David Hanson is one of those gifts that keeps on giving. Well, he is in the sense that Caitlin Flanagan or Ms. Malkin (and her ghost writers) are also gifts. And by gifts I mean writers who are so...
Posted by armand at 02:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2006

No, That's Not The Way It Works

I may have missed a previous occurance of this, but as far as I know this is the first recorded instance of Iraqi Army units fighting each other. This is bad news. It is, in fact, very bad news. It...
Posted by baltar at 01:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 21, 2006

The Next Iraqi Prime Minister Will Be ...

The chief candidates of the UIA now seem to be Jawad al-Maliki, a long-time Dawa Party activist exiled for decades to Syria, and Ali al-Adib of the Dawa Party's Tehran branch. It is so amusing that the saviors of the...
Posted by armand at 11:46 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 20, 2006

Gay Iraqis Fear for Their Lives

Yeah, it's a dog-bites-man story. But it's a terrible one, and one that was a completely predictable outgrowth of our invasion. I mean when a Sistani website says - "Those who commit sodomy must be killed in the harshest way"...
Posted by armand at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2006

Iraq: A US-Created "Free Fraud Zone"

American contractors swindled hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraqi funds, but so far there is no way for Iraq's government to recoup the money, according to US investigators and civil attorneys tracking fraud claims against contractors. Courts in the...
Posted by armand at 04:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 14, 2006

The Blood Continues to Flow

I'm busy today, and of course Binky's still out of town so this week's light posting will continue for a bit longer. But it occurred to me that we hadn't had an Iraq post up just lately so ...If the...
Posted by armand at 01:52 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

April 10, 2006


This post was originally titled "Packer and McMaster", but "Awesome" is much better. No one will understand either title of this post, but it just follow me here. George Packer writes for the New Yorker. He is a journalist who...
Posted by baltar at 09:51 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 01, 2006

The Bill Napolis of Hostage Criticism

Rarely do I take an interest in blog-versus-blog throwdowns, especially when it involves calling out intolerant gasbags on their stupidity. Especially when I'm busy. However, reading Steve Gilliard's post criticizing some of the wingnutosphere's response to Jill Carroll's release reminded...
Posted by binky at 06:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 21, 2006

Three Years

Everyone else has been recognizing the date with facts and figures, with policy evaluations, and with predictions for the immediate (and long term) future of U.S. involvement in Iraq. They've all done a fine job, and I'm not in the...
Posted by binky at 01:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2006

Iraqi Civil War

Is there a civil war in Iraq? Yes, though it does not immediately threaten the Iraqi Government. Interesting post, and lots of good information....
Posted by baltar at 11:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2006

Grand Ayatollah Sistani on Executing Gays

Ah, you knew the right-wing had to have something special in mind when they started to realign the Middle East in a way that would strengthen the power of Islamic religious figures and the Islamic theocracy in Iran (not things...
Posted by armand at 03:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"A Few Rotten Apples" My Ass.

Long New York Times story today about the "secret" US prison/interrogation facility in Baghdad. Suffice it to say, the abuse their was on par with (or exceeded) the abuse at Abu Ghraib. It gets harder and harder to argue that...
Posted by baltar at 02:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2006

Pres. Bush - Disciple of Emily Post or Pathetically Needy?

So either he's really insistent on thank you notes, or he's extraordinarily in need of thanks and admiration and desperate to lord his (our) generousity over the poor people who have to rely on it. In Bremer's account, the President...
Posted by armand at 11:06 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

February 24, 2006

More Good News From Iraq

The only Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded to a level requiring them to fight with American troops backing them up, the Pentagon said Friday. The battalion, made up of 700 to 800 Iraqi Army...
Posted by binky at 11:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2006

Deaths of Those in US Custody in Iraq and Afghanistan

The latest tally - 98. The report defines the 34 cases classified as homicides as "caused by intentional or reckless behaviour". It says another 11 cases have been deemed suspicious and that between eight and 12 prisoners were tortured to...
Posted by armand at 01:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Samarra Shrine's Golden Dome "Heavily Damaged"

This is merely "heavily damaged"? That's how I heard the damage described on NPR this morning. That's how they've captioned the pictures at The New York Times. And I guess if they are talking about the entire shrine that's largely...
Posted by armand at 11:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2006

OK, Then Why Are We In Iraq?

That George Bush has kept this doofus employed for the last few years is astonishing - and in and of itself merits ranking this president's job performance alongside that of the other greatest incompetents and failures who have held the...
Posted by armand at 02:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 18, 2006


If you're interested, FOIA'd notes of Rummy's 9/11 comments urging a link to Saddam: here. Via Laura Rozen....
Posted by binky at 12:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2006

Quote of the Day (and a reading suggestion)

Not that this is new news, but winning the (smaller) war in Iraq and the (larger) war against fundamentalist Islam will be harder than we thought, and take longer than we want: ...the number of books translated by the whole...
Posted by baltar at 12:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 12, 2006

Sadr Instrumental in Jaafari Pick

Remember when the US military was engaged in multiple military operations against him, shutting down his newspapers, and considering him the #1 destabilizing force in Iraq? Well, guess who's picked the Iraqi Prime Minister....
Posted by armand at 02:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 06, 2006

Iraqi Electricity

Into the "corruption and stupidity really matter" files, goes this story about the attempts to get the power turned back on in Iraq. I won't quote any bits; it's a short blog post - go read it. I'll add the...
Posted by baltar at 09:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2006

Why Winning In Iraq is Complicated, Part 293

It's a three day old story, but it showcases something important. Galloway (one of the prominent KnightRidder reporters in Iraq) wrote about the downing of a US helicopter on Friday (three days ago). More recent reports have indicated that the...
Posted by baltar at 11:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 14, 2006

The 1991 Iraq War - Balancing Sarin, Mass Murder and Shiite Power

Did we really "win" the 1991 Iraq War? We achieved our main publicly stated goal. But I find it interesting that in the public imagination that's viewed as such a smashing US victory - given that after 100 hours of...
Posted by armand at 09:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 13, 2006

It's the Small Stories out of Iraq that Kill Me.

The Washington Post reported today that one of Saddam's palaces had been looted. Big deal, right? Yes and no. This palace was one that hadn't previously been looted, because it had been a base for US soldiers up until it...
Posted by baltar at 11:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 29, 2005

Well, what do you know?

Even though people are gullible, many of them eventually figure out that the government lies like a rug and change their minds. However, all of these beliefs and others have declined sharply since the questions were asked in February 2005....
Posted by binky at 06:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 27, 2005

Juan Cole's 10 Myths About Iraq in 2005

The famed historian has created a list that features observations that both Bush fans and Bush critics will find points of agreement with. Taken as a whole they remind us just how difficult things will be there, both for Iraqis...
Posted by armand at 03:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 20, 2005

Baathist Poker Whoopsie

Remember that embarrassing PR gambit that featured major Iraqi figures as characters in a deck of cards? It would appear that not all of those "most wanted" figures were really so important after all, since we are releasing some of...
Posted by armand at 02:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 12, 2005

Uh, Bill Bennett Loses It Again.

Via Tbogg, we get this National Review column by Bill Bennett asking everyone to die their fingers purple (yes, you read that correctly): Starting on Monday, December 12th, I and tens of thousands of others across America will...
Posted by baltar at 04:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Assassinations and Torture Prisons in Iraq

As Iraq goes through the process of getting close to totally shut down so that elections can happen there this week, it's worth remembering what the parties who are likely to win are up to. As Riverbend writes from Iraq:blockquote>Who...
Posted by armand at 01:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 02, 2005

We Won, Let's Leave

So sayeth the Downtown Lad....
Posted by armand at 11:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 01, 2005

Building Legitimate Indigenous Democracy

No comment. Titled "The Sands Are Blowing Toward a Democratic Iraq," an article written this week for publication in the Iraqi press was scornful of outsiders' pessimism about the country's future. "Western press and frequently those self-styled 'objective' observers of...
Posted by binky at 10:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 30, 2005

Donald Rumsfeld - Language Policeman

You probably never heard the word "insurgency" before the war in Iraq. And now Donald Rumsfeld doesn't want you to hear it again (regardless of its accuracy).I find General Pace's reaction to the Secretary's comments pretty funny. I doubt Secretary...
Posted by armand at 09:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005

Ramping Up the Use of Air Power in Iraq

This Seymour Hersh article in The New Yorker points to considerable changes that are being proposed regarding how we should continue the fight in Iraq. The basic thrust of the piece is that some are calling for pulling some of...
Posted by armand at 10:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Flypaper not as sticky as advertised"

Eric Martin comments on a Juan Cole post noting the arrest of "two more graduates from the "world's most expensive school for terrorism". Thankfully they were nabbed before they could carry out their planned attack in Morocco. But it's a...
Posted by armand at 01:32 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

November 25, 2005

"I Guess the Lucky Ones Go to Abu Ghraib"

Riverbend has put up this post on the torture house that was "uncovered" in Jadriya.For over a year corpses have been turning up all over Baghdad. Corpses of people who are taken from their homes in the middle of the...
Posted by armand at 04:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 18, 2005

Republican War Strategy Walks the Plank

Likely, everyone has seen the comments by Representaive Murtha (D-Integrity) by now. Murtha, a Vietnam veteran and long time member (respected, by the way, by both sides) of the House Armed Services Committee, came out yesterday and gave an emotional...
Posted by baltar at 02:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Juan Cole Lets Bob Dylan Ask the Questions

Yes, 'n' how many years can some people existBefore they're allowed to be free? . . . The US has detained around 83,000 persons during the four years of the "war on terror," most of them in Iraq. Some 14,500...
Posted by binky at 01:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 16, 2005

Military Misses 2005 Recruiting Goals

As this has been a topic at Bloodless before, I thought it worth finally noting the official end-of-2005 tallies: The Department of Defense this week announced the Army missed its fiscal 2005 recruiting goal by more than 6,600 soldiers, bringing...
Posted by baltar at 10:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005


Two thousand. Why?...
Posted by binky at 03:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack