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Taco John
08-27-2005, 03:13 AM
Iraq Charter Strife Hurts U.S. Strategy
Bush was counting on a consensual process for a new constitution, but the increasing discord is sinking hopes for peace.

By Tyler Marshall and Alissa J. Rubin, Times Staff Writers


WASHINGTON Deep divisions in Iraq over the country's draft constitution carry seeds that could destroy the Bush administration's beleaguered strategy for turning the strife-torn country into a unified and stable democracy.

More than any single act, a telephone call Thursday by President Bush to Shiite leader Abdelaziz Hakim to discuss the process underscored how important the document is to the administration. Even if American pressure forces the Iraqis to reach a deal, few who have followed the negotiations expect that it can hold.

Critics of the drafting process now include some Sunni Arabs the administration had been able to count on in the past, such as Ghazi Ajil Yawer, one of Iraq's two vice presidents. Respected Middle East specialists, including some who have advised the administration in Iraq, worry about the way events have unfolded.

"I see developments on the constitutional side as potentially disastrous," said Larry Diamond, a scholar at Stanford University and former senior advisor in the defunct Coalition Provisional Authority. "I think the Bush administration has miscalculated profoundly by trying to get this constitution done by Aug. 15 at any price."

On Friday, the deadlock continued, with Sunni negotiators unwilling to accept new wording proposed by Shiites, amid increasing indications that the Iraqi electorate will be asked, in a national referendum set for Oct. 15, to approve a document that has not been endorsed by Sunni leaders.

Besides exposing the chasm between Sunni and Shiite Arabs, the fractious debate coincides with a darkening of the American public's mood about the war. Gallup Poll results released Friday show Bush's approval rating fell 5 points in August to 40%, the lowest since he took office. Also worrisome for the administration is that doubts are being voiced more forcefully, although still privately, by some senior military officers, civilian Pentagon officials and U.S. diplomats.

Bush was counting on a consensus on the constitution as a sign of progress to counter growing doubts at home and to further his goal of a stable Iraq.

Instead, Middle East specialists worry that the bitterness of the battle over the constitution could turn wavering Sunnis toward the insurgents and add to sectarian tensions.

The likelihood of violence will only increase, experts fear, if Sunnis attempt to defeat the draft in the referendum.

However the vote plays out, there is a sense among observers that America's endeavor in Iraq is coming to the crunch. The next few months are seen as crucial a successful referendum in October followed by December elections for a new national government could either begin to turn the tide against the insurgency or so polarize the country that it sinks into civil war.

"It is an extremely fateful time," said Diamond, whose recent book, "Squandered Victory," is critical of the administration's post-invasion handling of Iraq.

Experts said it had always been unlikely that any draft constitution could satisfy all three major groups: Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Kurds. The Kurds and the Shiites had more in common, since both favored autonomy for their regions, and both groups wanted greater control over their regions' oil revenue.

In contrast, the Sunnis wanted to retain the old order, with power centered in Baghdad.

"The fundamental fight is a Sunni-Shia one," said Peter W. Galbraith, the former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, who has been advising Kurdish politicians. "The Sunnis don't want anything for themselves. It's that they don't want the Shiites to have autonomy."

Kurdish leaders, who are non-Arab Sunnis, recognized the importance of Sunni Arabs' participation but were unsure how to involve them given the latter's rejection of regional autonomy, a Kurdish must.

"The state cannot become stable unless the Sunnis are involved," said Barham Salih, Iraq's planning minister and a leading Kurdish politician.

Joost Hiltermann, an expert on the Middle East and the director of the International Crisis Group's Jordan office, said the Kurds were already poised to separate if they sensed that the country was too troubled by sectarian fighting or becoming too dominated by religious factions.

"The Kurds are looking for a way to say: 'We played the game, we acted in good faith, it's not working, we'll set up our separate country,' " Hiltermann said.

The unexpected difficulties of containing the violence in Iraq have already forced U.S. military commanders to lower their goals for quelling the insurgency. They shifted last year to the more modest objective of protecting the evolving political process that would produce the stable, viable Iraqi democracy envisioned by Bush.

But some senior officers and Pentagon officials have said privately that without additional forces or a radical shift in strategy, the American forces may not even be able to accomplish that.

"I think that we don't have very many levers out there to pull in Iraq," said a Pentagon official who was part of the U.S. occupation authority in Iraq and who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of his remarks.

As the public debate and a nascent antiwar movement gain strength, others say it is time to change the military approach. Andrew Krepinevich, a former Pentagon policymaker who now heads the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent Washington-based think tank, argues in the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine that only a major shift in strategy can give America victory in Iraq. Krepinevich contends there is no alternative to a stepped-up counterinsurgency campaign that would risk additional American casualties and require "an enduring U.S. presence in Iraq."

"There is no strategy that will win this war quickly or cheaply, so you have to balance the cost of [winning] a long, expensive war against the costs of losing it," he said in a telephone interview.

Doubts about the way forward have also prompted a new wave of soul-searching among leading Democrats, some of whom have criticized the conduct of the war, with little effect.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden of Delaware, who has made five trips to Iraq and is the Democratic Party's leading voice on foreign affairs, said he would urge the administration to bring other countries in the region into the political process, as was done in post-Taliban Afghanistan and in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

However, Biden also expressed doubts that Iraq's unity could hold without genuine consensus on a draft constitution. If it does not, he said, the only choice would be to support the Kurds and Shiites and try to prevent Sunni areas from becoming a terrorist haven.

"At this point, we have to choose between bad options: Leave with chaos in our wake or stay and squander more American lives," Biden said. "Without the Sunnis, this is a losing game."



http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/complete/la-fg-usiraq27aug27,1,7090899.story?coll=la-iraq-complete

Taco John
08-27-2005, 03:15 AM
I'm sure that the people who didn't think that Bush could drag a camel through an eye of a needle are pessimistic America haters and all ( rather than realists :rolleyes: ) , but this has all been so very predictable. Even if that predictability makes me eligible for Baby Lee's new definition of "racist."

Bush will go down as the worst president in American history. It wont even be close.

BigMeatballDave
08-27-2005, 03:23 AM
Well, lets just execute him and get it over with...

Taco John
08-27-2005, 03:24 AM
Oh yeah... and it's totally unbelievable that Bush could possibly be cracking under the pressure and acting irrationally (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=122397)... Totally.

Taco John
08-27-2005, 03:25 AM
Well, lets just execute him and get it over with...



I'd like it more if Congress would just reel the dumbasses in. How does Rumsfeld even have a job right now?

Duck Dog
08-27-2005, 04:06 AM
I think the real purpose was to get Sadom out of power in hopes that the Iraqi's would replace him with someone who didn't want to kill us.

Our biggest misjudgment was thinking that the Iraqi's would actually give a crap enough to pick up shovels and rebuild their country.

KC Jones
08-27-2005, 04:31 AM
I think the real purpose was to get Sadom out of power in hopes that the Iraqi's would replace him with someone who didn't want to kill us.

How the **** should we know what the real purpose was. They change it every 6 months. I thought it was originally to remove weapons of mass destruction, which oops weren't even ****ing there.

Taco John
08-27-2005, 05:23 AM
Our biggest misjudgment was thinking that the Iraqi's would actually give a crap enough to pick up shovels and rebuild their country.


Not even. We were way more dumb than that simple miscalculation. This isn't a case of Iraqis just being too lazy or too despondent to care, like you seem to paint. Our biggest misjudgement was calculating how wide their ethnic divide really is. Add to that hate the greed for oil rich resources, and then throw in the jealousy that goes along with it... And that's not even mentioning their differing views on religion.

Imagine if before the civil war the Yankees, the African Slaves, and the Southern Confederates were forced by the French to split up Alabama. The Yankees and the African Slaves each end up sitting on land rich in gold mines, while leaving the Southern confederates with nothing but dirt. That's an oversimplification of what's happening here, but it's a decent enough metaphor to work with... Now tell me how the Southern Confederates are going to react to that situation, watching the Yanks and the African Slaves in positions of superiority, while they're struggling to survive, knowing that not too long ago they were the slave owners/ruling party.

Now imagine that hated French, who forced the action, are overseeing the whole process. And now because of this fact, Ulysses S. Grant, a northerner who is very popular with the people, has started demonstrations 100,000 strong of blue blooded Yankees to oppose the Constitution being proposed (despite the good it would do for his people's cause), for the sole reason that he hates France and wants to see their effort fail in hopes that they will just pack up and go home.

Meanwhile, it's discovered that French soldiers are forcing imprisoned African Slaves and Southerners to engage in homosexual sex to satisfy their sick sexual fantasies. The French soldiers commission the best French painters to capture the perverse moments on canvass, and the paintings are then copied and paraded through every town, both in America and overseas. Some of these paintings, which depict children being sexually abused in front of their parents crying eyes, are confiscated by the French government for fear of a worldwide backlash so severe that it couldn't be contained.

And then add that French entrepreneurs, who are having our gold mines stripped in order to pay their workers for the construction of our towns, are also skimming off the top and billions of dollars worth of our gold goes mysteriously missing, while the pathetic frogs sit shrugging their shoulders saying it's no big deal. Meanwhile because the French workers are taking all of the good paying jobs to build our towns, the only thing left is to put your life in jeopardy and join the Anti-Indian Security force which is controlled by the hated French. But because nobody really wants to risk their lives for the French and they're really only doing it because it's the only way to bring in a paycheck to feed the family, they drag their feet on the training so that they're not put out in the field and they can milk the paycheck for as much as it's worth, knowing that the French taxpayers will keep the money flowing.

I could go on...

This has nothing to do with the lack of shovels, or people willing to pick them up. This has everything to do with a president so stupid that during a time of terror he would engage in the most stupid, greedy, and corrupt nation-building exercise that history could dream up while ignoring our own borders. When America was ready for zig, he zagged, and now our troops are left holding the bag.

Luckily for the troops though, the people who put this assclown in office are all sporting sideways yellow ribbons on their cars that look like Jesus fishes. Our troops can at least take comfort in that.

the Talking Can
08-27-2005, 06:01 AM
anyone who Rightly and Correctly pointed out that Bush was a lying idiot, without a clue or plan, when he started this war is a terrorist loving America hater....who also hates America and loves terrorists....

Count Alex's Losses
08-27-2005, 07:05 AM
How many liberals/democrats in congress saw the very same intelligence the bush administration saw, and voted to send us to war with financial backing from congress?

KC Jones
08-27-2005, 07:32 AM
Not even. ... <snip>

That was very well said.

memyselfI
08-27-2005, 07:39 AM
How many liberals/democrats in congress saw the very same intelligence the bush administration saw, and voted to send us to war with financial backing from congress?

Too many...and as far as I'm concerned they deserve to lose their jobs along with DUHbya.

But FWIW, they are the minority there and this disaster was going to happen whether they put their collective foot down or not.

Bowser
08-27-2005, 10:31 AM
Great post, TJ.

Bowser
08-27-2005, 10:34 AM
How many liberals/democrats in congress saw the very same intelligence the bush administration saw, and voted to send us to war with financial backing from congress?

I'm going to assume this is the same "intelligence" that Colin Powell took before the UN. The better question would be - Who came up with this "intelligence"?

Stinger
08-27-2005, 10:35 AM
Bush will go down as the worst president in American history. It wont even be close.

Ohhh a prediction from Taco. This seals it Bush will be the next President on Mt. Rushmore.

mlyonsd
08-27-2005, 10:47 AM
Our biggest misjudgement was calculating how wide their ethnic divide really is. Add to that hate the greed for oil rich resources, and then throw in the jealousy that goes along with it... And that's not even mentioning their differing views on religion.



IMO you can't argue with that.

HolyHandgernade
08-27-2005, 12:14 PM
That was an excellent post by TJ in the way things have unfolded, the question now is how to properly proceed. Here's the thing, and I stated this before we actually invaded Iraq so it isn't just Johnny come lately hindsight.

The problem with the Bush plan is that it wants to build a democracy. The majority of people who live in Iraq are either tribalistic or sectarian in a very fundamentalist sense. You simply cannot plop a democracy onto that population base and expect it to flower. It doesn't have the people there to appreciate the benefits and responsibilities of democracy. You have to have a government strong enough to curb the tribalistic eye for an eye mentalities. The only force that can provide that in that region is Islam. So what is needed over ther is a type of theocratic democracy. It should be a modernized version of the old Jewish Sanhederin setup that must also include secular voices. That way you have a secualr ideal pulling the cultural consciousnesses into a nationalistic identity under the identity of generic Islam. This generic Islam is a compromise between various represented sects for the betterment of Iraq.

But if you just give the masses the right to determine their own leaders through generic democracy, they are going to elect dictators or clerics. Unfortuantely, the politics in this country would crucify poor W for suggesting it build a theocracy, even if that is exactly what is needed. Instead, one gets the shallow idealistic plan that unfolded the way Taco allegorized.

-HH

irishjayhawk
08-27-2005, 12:38 PM
How the **** should we know what the real purpose was. They change it every 6 months. I thought it was originally to remove weapons of mass destruction, which oops weren't even ****ing there.

Sadly, its true. I think we're on excuse #6: 9/11 caused us to go to war.

Frankly, Iraq had absolutely NOTHING todo with our freedom, security or daily life here in the US unlike what bush claims.

Baby Lee
08-27-2005, 01:09 PM
Even if that predictability makes me eligible for Baby Lee's new definition of "racist."
Didn't call you a racist. There is a difference between a racist, in my opinion someone who sees all of a good portion of life through the lens of race [that's the news program with the black anchor, mexicans shop at that grocery store, Jews control Hollywood, I; didn't get the job/had to wait longer in line/never get the good melons at the market/etc., because whitey is keeping me down], and an IDEA that has racial or racist underpinnings.
Before toppling Saddam, Iraq was very sectarian and progressive [for the region] on women's rights. Are you suggesting that he was repressing the populace's innate and overwhelming desire for Sharia, or is it just possible, with the opportunity of a blank slate to form Iraq however they want, fundamentalists factions [such as reside in every nation] are asserting themselves more strongly than the silent majority.

I find it ironic that, if the temperature is too heated with fundamentalism here in America, we should [rightly] call upon the citizenry resist it and assert our voices under democratic principles. But if the temperature rises an iota in Iraq, we're supposed to say "those dumb fuggers want a religious state? Fugg 'em and leave them in their squalor."

Also found it interesting that Ball Mahar and the author of 'The Vagina Monologues' were having essentially the same argument last night. [ie, folks in Iraq are just to backwards to democratize -vs- no, just right now the wrong voices are being given too much prominence]. Evidently, I'm to the left of Maher, over in hippy, artsy-fartsy-land on this one.

KC Jones
08-27-2005, 01:24 PM
Unfortuantely, the politics in this country would crucify poor W for suggesting it build a theocracy, even if that is exactly what is needed. Instead, one gets the shallow idealistic plan that unfolded the way Taco allegorized.

-HH

Some very good points in there HH.

Please spare us the 'poor Bush' crap though. Blaming the political climate for Bush's bind is ironic - the Bush administration is largely responsible for make the political climate even worse than it was. On top of that you make a case that the climate is the reason for the 'shallow idealistic' plan? This administration specializes in vague idealistic plans, and this in particular was a plan that had been sitting around forever. This was the neocon masterpiece - take out a Middle Eastern nation, quickly convert it into a democracy, and watch the whole region become peace loving democracies who don't want to kill all of the Israelis.

HolyHandgernade
08-27-2005, 01:44 PM
Some very good points in there HH.

Please spare us the 'poor Bush' crap though. Blaming the political climate for Bush's bind is ironic - the Bush administration is largely responsible for make the political climate even worse than it was. On top of that you make a case that the climate is the reason for the 'shallow idealistic' plan? This administration specializes in vague idealistic plans, and this in particular was a plan that had been sitting around forever. This was the neocon masterpiece - take out a Middle Eastern nation, quickly convert it into a democracy, and watch the whole region become peace loving democracies who don't want to kill all of the Israelis.

I'm not saying Bush ever considered such a strategy. I'm saying any president who happened to be in power would be blasted for suggesting such a thing. And it wouldn't have mattered which party either. But sometimes, people have to rise above the rhetoric and really address what is needed. I'm not denying anything you elaborated on above.

-HH

Baby Lee
08-27-2005, 01:47 PM
But sometimes, people have to rise above the rhetoric and really address what is needed.
Hey! Stop calling KC a traitor!!! :p

KC Jones
08-27-2005, 01:47 PM
I'm not saying Bush ever considered such a strategy. I'm saying any president who happened to be in power would be blasted for suggesting such a thing. And it wouldn't have mattered which party either. But sometimes, people have to rise above the rhetoric and really address what is needed. I'm not denying anything you elaborated on above.

-HH

ok.

BTW, I think you may really have hit the nail on the head in terms of a workable solution.

Pitt Gorilla
08-27-2005, 01:56 PM
[Shill response/] Yawn. :rolleyes: [Shill response/]

Baby Lee
08-27-2005, 02:03 PM
[Shill response/] Yawn. :rolleyes: [Shill response/]
Ehh. It's decent fiction writing, but it's no John Grisham novel.

It's not true, but it could be!!!

Oh, and may I add, it's so refreshing that it's not even about the politics with you. It's just the team forming and the disdain ladling.

Pitt Gorilla
08-27-2005, 03:07 PM
Ehh. It's decent fiction writing, but it's no John Grisham novel.

It's not true, but it could be!!!

Oh, and may I add, it's so refreshing that it's not even about the politics with you. It's just the team forming and the disdain ladling.It was a joke. Chill. However, you've now piqued my interest; which team do I represent?

go bowe
08-27-2005, 03:12 PM
. . .that predictability makes me eligible for Baby Lee's new definition of "racist."
* * *ban the bitch!



ooops, wrong thread... :shrug: :shrug: :shrug:

go bowe
08-27-2005, 03:21 PM
Didn't call you a racist. There is a difference between a racist, in my opinion someone who sees all of a good portion of life through the lens of race [that's the news program with the black anchor, mexicans shop at that grocery store, Jews control Hollywood, I; didn't get the job/had to wait longer in line/never get the good melons at the market/etc., because whitey is keeping me down], and an IDEA that has racial or racist underpinnings.
Before toppling Saddam, Iraq was very sectarian and progressive [for the region] on women's rights. Are you suggesting that he was repressing the populace's innate and overwhelming desire for Sharia, or is it just possible, with the opportunity of a blank slate to form Iraq however they want, fundamentalists factions [such as reside in every nation] are asserting themselves more strongly than the silent majority.

I find it ironic that, if the temperature is too heated with fundamentalism here in America, we should [rightly] call upon the citizenry resist it and assert our voices under democratic principles. But if the temperature rises an iota in Iraq, we're supposed to say "those dumb fuggers want a religious state? Fugg 'em and leave them in their squalor."

Also found it interesting that Ball Mahar and the author of 'The Vagina Monologues' were having essentially the same argument last night. [ie, folks in Iraq are just to backwards to democratize -vs- no, just right now the wrong voices are being given too much prominence]. Evidently, I'm to the left of Maher, over in hippy, artsy-fartsy-land on this one.hey, in the sixties, hippy land was a cool place to be...

make love not war was a very good way of life, while it lasted...

go bowe
08-27-2005, 03:24 PM
It was a joke. Chill. However, you've now piqued my interest; which team do I represent?teh ghey one... :p :p :p

Pitt Gorilla
08-27-2005, 04:41 PM
teh ghey one... :p :p :pEh, I'm probably not in good enough shape, don't dress correctly, and have little flair. I shall do my best, though.

Baby Lee
08-27-2005, 05:06 PM
It was a joke. Chill. However, you've now piqued my interest; which team do I represent?
I've pointed it out before, an inordinate number of your posts consist of;

"I don't have too much to add here, but you 'righties' sure are meanie-weenies!!!"

I don't know your 'politics,' don't even know if you have any. But I'm pretty sure there are some personalities on here you live to chide.

Baby Lee
08-27-2005, 05:07 PM
hey, in the sixties, hippy land was a cool place to be...

make love not war was a very good way of life, while it lasted...
I would've loved the freedom to grow an anglo-fro without fear of reprisal. ROFL ROFL