ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Bhutto Assination - Very Bad News Indeed

I woke up here on the West Coast to the horrifying if predictable news that Benazir Bhutto had been assinated. The talking heads are babbling their usual vapid platitudes. Turning to The Corner I found this from Mark Steyn, and it is about as good a first impression as I have seen or heard:

Benazir Bhutto [Mark Steyn]

Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan had a mad recklessness about it which give today's events a horrible inevitability. As I always say when I'm asked about her, she was my next-door neighbor for a while - which affects a kind of intimacy, though in fact I knew her only for sidewalk pleasantries. She was beautiful and charming and sophisticated and smart and modern, and everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be - though in practice, as Pakistan's Prime Minister, she was just another grubby wardheeler from one of the world's most corrupt political classes.

Since her last spell in power, Pakistan has changed, profoundly. Its sovereignty is meaningless in increasingly significant chunks of its territory, and, within the portions Musharraf is just about holding together, to an ever more radicalized generation of young Muslim men Miss Bhutto was entirely unacceptable as the leader of their nation. "Everyone’s an expert on Pakistan, a faraway country of which we know everything," I wrote last month. "It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate." The State Department geniuses thought they had it all figured out. They'd arranged a shotgun marriage between the Bhutto and Sharif factions as a "united" "democratic" "movement" and were pushing Musharraf to reach a deal with them. That's what diplomats do: They find guys in suits and get 'em round a table. But none of those representatives represents the rapidly evolving reality of Pakistan. Miss Bhutto could never have been a viable leader of a post-Musharraf settlement, and the delusion that she could have been sent her to her death. Earlier this year, I had an argument with an old (infidel) boyfriend of Benazir's, who swatted my concerns aside with the sweeping claim that "the whole of the western world" was behind her. On the streets of Islamabad, that and a dime'll get you a cup of coffee.

As I said, she was everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be. We should be modest enough to acknowledge when reality conflicts with our illusions. Rest in peace, Benazir.

Update from Cliff May also at The Corner:

Pakistan Lessons [Cliff May]

Bhutto's murder points to a lesson we (the Foreign Policy Establishment in particular) has been slow to learn:

This is not some extraordinary event. This is not the work of some lone madman. This is how militant Islamists contest elections – not just in Pakistan but also in Lebanon and Gaza and wherever they they get a foothold.

Why bother with opeds, TV commercials, high-priced campaign strategists, spin doctors and pollsters when with one suicide bomber you can eliminate your opponent entirely?

Hard to argue with the logic.

It amazes me that there are still people in this country that think we can reason with the terrorists or find some way to deal with them other than killing them.

Your Co-Conspirator,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Willing Suspension of Disbelief, Part 2

Part 1 here

Idiot professor of the Left tries to dispel the Top 10 Myths about Iraq today. Fortunately, Dr. Sanity weighs in with an excellent, point-by-point refutation of the lowly professor.

Here's my response to Dr. Cole:
10. Myth: The US public no longer sees Iraq as a central issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Ummm - What's with all the questions in the Presidential debates about Iraq? (And, why is it that the debate moderators ask questions that would indicate that the violence in Iraq has increased, not decreased?)

[Update - I realize that I misread Dr. Cole's Myth #10 - Iraq is still a main issue in the presidential election (although it seems like debate moderators are spending less and less time on the issue as it seems that success is being realized. Hey, at least Juan and I agree on something!]

9. Myth: There have been religious and political reconciliation in Iraq in 2007.

Religious reconciliation is certainly in its early stage. As I have argued, political reconciliation is taking place at the local level and must be successful there before it can be provided by a national government.

8. Myth: The US troop surge stopped the civil war that had been raging between Sunni Arabs and Shiites in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad

yeah... rrrrrrrrrright. I assume that if we had pulled out of Iraq in the Spring of 2007, the "civil war" would've simply disappeared.

7. Myth: Iran was supplying explosively formed projectiles (a deadly form of roadside bomb) to Salafi Jihadi (radical Sunni) guerrilla groups in Iraq.

Why is Cole so desirous of eliminating any responsibility from the blood-stained hand of the Iranian government? He no doubt thinks that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is just some misunderstood version of the Boy Scouts. Why is it that Juan trusts President Tom more than anyone else?

6. Myth: The US overthrow of the Baath regime and military occupation of Iraq has helped liberate Iraqi women.

I know that the young girls who were abducted by the Hussein brothers to play their part with the Two Wild & Crazy guys (shortly before being shot in the back of the head) would agree with Juan.

5. Myth: Some progress has been made by the Iraqi government in meeting the "benchmarks" worked out with the Bush administration.

So, if the Iraqi government meets 3 of 5 benchmarks, do we simply throw our hands up, pull our troops out, and watch as the country disintegrates into an Al-Qaeda led rogue nation state of concern? Or do we attempt to assist the Iraqi government to achieve those benchmarks? And, given that relative stability in the security of the country are only recent achievements, it should be no surprise that some benchmarks have been unmet.

4. Myth: The Sunni Arab "Awakening Councils," who are on the US payroll, are reconciling with the Shiite government of PM Nuri al-Maliki even as they take on al-Qaeda remnants

Well, Sunni employment in Iraqi police forces and military is one step towards reconciliation with the national government (led by a Shiite). Baby steps, Juan... baby steps. I'm sure you didn't become an avowed anti-American socialist overnight. No, it took you some time to develop into an America hating idiot. Give them some time, dear boy. Look - they're starting to make some movement... Just need some time.

3. Myth: The Iraqi north is relatively quiet and a site of economic growth. Juan makes this ridiculous claim: The north is so unstable that the Iraqi south is now undergoing regular bombing raids from Turkey.

(The Turks are bombing the South of Iraq? WHAT?!?

Besides this idiotic statement, Cole points out that the Kurdish region is a political minefield because of the historical antagonism between the Kurds and the Turks. This is true and is a situation which the US is working with the Turks, the Kurds, and the national Iraqi government to resolve. But be sure that Turkish bombing of the Iraqi North is not happening without our knowledge.

[Update - Apparently Juan has fixed his mistake in his original post. Glad I could help. However, it doesn't minimize the fact that Turkey, the US, and the central Iraqi government have an interest in making sure the PKK does not destabilize the relatively quiet north and will likely work together to achieve that goal.]

2. Myth: Iraq has been "calm" in fall of 2007 and the Iraqi public, despite some grumbling, is not eager for the US to depart.

Iraq has been calm and average Iraqis (and especially those who've lived under the AlQaeda yoke) recognize that our pullout would insure their doom.

1. Myth: The reduction in violence in Iraq is mostly because of the escalation in the number of US troops, or "surge."

Wait... wasn't this Cole's point number 8? What is it about the Left that makes them go apesh!t over the Surge? They have to recognize that they are wrong. Even John Murtha, former champion of the White Flag, recognizes that the Surge has worked.

In fact, some Leftards are taking credit for the success of the Surge (even though it isn't working), because without the Democrat takeover in 2006, the change in strategy wouldn't have occurred, so any credit for the surge (which isn't working, by the way) should go to the Democrats.

A bit of tortured logic, but we shouldn't be surprised by anything that comes from the Left.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler