Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Changes in US policy in Iraq?

The problem with most politicians is that they rarely declare their true objectives, particularly their ultimate objectives. This has unfortunately become a fact of life in today’s world. Smokescreens and curtains of secrecy are frequently used – allegedly to protect the interests of the State. These curtains prevent us from seeing their intentions and evaluating them objectively. We can only evaluate results – usually after it is too late.

My own personal view of this process, practicalities of life notwithstanding, is rather dismal, I’m afraid; Leaders of nations should be people of principle and honest statesmen. But I am realistic enough to know that that cannot be.


There have been many signals coming out of America lately. There is definitely a change of mood in political America. But the nagging question was: will there be a change of policy?

The US administration has suffered some setbacks and criticisms recently. Popular approval rates for the war effort in Iraq have been steadily declining since “Mission Accomplished”. The scandals of the white phosphorous and the ‘sudden’ discovery of torture houses run by US-trained Iraqi forces that so far have been the pride and joy of this administration, have raised a few eyebrows. There has been some sharp disapproval cries in Congress; there have even been some calls for immediate withdrawal; one hasty call to this effect was put to the vote in Congress recently.

Yet, there has been no official indication of a major shift in policy towards Iraq.

We have been treated to the same dull, repetitive noises about "Freedom and Democracy" and "War on Terror" again and again, regardless of realities on the ground. We have heard hints here and there from US policy makers that some troops will be withdrawn soon. Those statements were seen by some people to mean one of two things:

• Political ploys designed to appease American public opinion by obliquely addressing the anxiety of Americans concerned about their loved ones in Iraq… particularly that the original declared reasons for their presence in Iraq in the first place have been demonstrated to be less than truthful.

• Another possibility, aired by a few observers, was that the US administration was adopting a new approach of relying on air strikes to support Iraqi ground forces in crushing the insurgency.

But does that signify a change of policy?

The declared objective is to have a sufficient number of US-trained Iraqi forces to do the job. But what forces? The same forces that have been committing atrocities that are worse than those committed by those infamous bad American apples? The same forces infested and infiltrated by sectarian pro-Iran militias, crooks, thugs and criminals that have been causing havoc in the country, abducting people and arresting then killing them for a variety of known and unknown reasons?

What will that achieve? Only more sectarian strife, more lawlessness and more chaos. And in the unlikely event that they will succeed, we will only have an obnoxious police state.

That policy would be as subtle and as ‘thoughtful’ as the bygone policy of winning the hearts and minds of people while humiliating, torturing and killing them and devastating their country. It has about the same chances of success.

It doesn’t make sense… unless, of course, the objective remains to “bomb the living daylight out of them”.

Meanwhile, the administration kept making the familiar threatening noises against Iran and, more viciously, against Syria as if nothing had changed.

Furthermore, following the Cairo agreement reached recently between several factions of Iraqi politicians (who agreed, among other things, to distinguish between terrorists and nationalistic resistance) General Casey quickly responded by saying that the US forces were in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. So anybody who attacked the US forces must be a terrorist. In effect, there was no resistance – only terrorists.

So, it seemed that, after all, the administration is “staying the course”… but at lower profile.

At Last something tangible!

Today, Ambassador Khalilzad gave three clues:


“[He] is to hold the first high-level talks for decades with officials from Iran… with a narrow mandate to focus only on Iraq”

"There will be meetings, and that's also a departure and an adjustment," he said.


“The US is also seeking to open negotiations with some of the insurgent groups involved in the violence that has plagued Iraq since the invasion in 2003, Mr Khalilzad says”.

[Doesn’t Mr. Khalilzad know what General Casey said only last week?]

And, even more significantly…

"I believe you cannot win the kind of conflict we are facing by military means alone... You need to have an integrated approach that wins populations over."

I find these statements extremely significant, if they turn out not to be more smokescreens.

Is this administration finally realizing that they have been wasting American blood and treasure in an effort that is going to produce results that are exactly the opposite of their declared objectives? Or is it that they have lost hope in achieving their undeclared objectives?

When will these people admit that they were wrong on both counts? And what price will they pay when they do? We all know the price America paid. Some of us even know the price Iraq paid.


"The same forces infested and infiltrated by sectarian pro-Iran militias, crooks, thugs and criminals that have been causing havoc in the country, abducting people and arresting then killing them for a variety of known and unknown reasons?"
Yes, this is what is causing much of the concern--the secret cells and Allawi's statement. Such questions eat thru the apparatus like strong acids.
It's no smoke screen, Bush is in trouble, but he still has the reins of power. The problems is Republican legislators are 'off the reservation', ignoring his commands. As this increasing paralysis takes hold, Bush will become more rigid and changes will become less likely in the short run. At some point Congress may reassert its authority and enter the policy arena and that will force a change.

The United States is coming to grips with how big a mistake the invasion was from a purely US/Israeli strategic standpoint, and is now trying to salvage what it can.

The original aim was for Chalabi to be Karzai. A "democracy" a lot like Egypt, pro-American first "democratic" second.

The insurgents together with the Shiites and Iran defeated that plan.

The plan now must be to remove enough troops that Iran cannot use them as hostages and then directly confront Iran. In the best case (or the "President Chalabi" case) there will be internal pressures that will tear Iran apart as a state. More realistically, the United States has no plausible way to remove the Iranian regime so it has to isolate it as well as it can and kind of hope for the best.

The US has to leave Iraq unless everyone in Iraq stops shooting at Americans.

Americans claim - left and right - that the insurgency really wants to enact a coup that returns a Sunni leadership to power.

That really does not make sense to me. For example, graduates of Ivy league schools in the US make up easily 60% of US leadership at 1% of the US population. If a foreign power were to end the oppression of the Ivy Leaguers and install a government of the other 99% of the population it wouldn't be that big a deal, even to Ivy League graduates.

My understanding of the Sunni-Shiite split is that it is much closer to Ivy/Non-Ivy split than to the Jewish/Arab split in Palestine or the Catholic/Protestant split in Northern Ireland.

If the Iraqi leadership believes that the Sunnis would not try to overthrow a Shiite majority government they'll tell the US to leave and the US will be out.

(1) I believe that the troops reductions are largely the result of troop levels being unsustainable due to the significant shortfall in recruiting in the US. The Iraqi Army is hardly ready to take up the slack, as evidenced by frantic debates as to whether it would be alright for Iraqi Army members to call down US airstrikes (!)

(2) It seems that the typical ideological battle is being played out in the ranks of the Americans. The ideologues (neocons) clearly want to invade Iran. The realists accept the fact that Iranian influence in Iraq is large, and they are looking for some way to deal with it. These two sides are necessarily conflicted.

My analysis here may be a little off. Our commenter-in-arms Mark will doubtless either confirm my remarks or set me straight.

“"I believe you cannot win the kind of conflict we are facing by military means alone... You need to have an integrated approach that wins populations over."”

LOL! This is a far cry from the dictatorial tone the US set when it first took charge. I wonder if, after being bombed and pillaged for almost 3 years, those populations are going to be well disposed towards those who have been fighting them?

A little late in the day for such an approach. But still, it IS a step in the right direction, without question.

Unless of course, the idea behind the appeasement of rebel groups is a strategy to set them against the “Shiites” in a bid to diminish Iranian power, even if it meant undermining the ‘democracy’ in Iraq. This would be precisely the sort of sick “divide and rule” double game I would expect.

[mr democracy] “In the best case (or the "President Chalabi" case) there will be internal pressures that will tear Iran apart as a state. More realistically, the United States has no plausible way to remove the Iranian regime so it has to isolate it as well as it can and kind of hope for the best.”

The information I have on Iran indicates it is too ethnically homogenous to tear apart like that. Hussein tried to stoke the Arab minority there into a revolt but he failed. Realistically, the best option would be some sort of containment and dialogue. Although to be perfectly honest, given Israeli and US sentiments towards Iran, I don’t blame them for wanting a Bomb. (I’m not saying it would be a good thing – I’m saying it is understandable.)

Forgotten Feelings Rekindled

I never thought that I would go through the same feelings again. Watching our former President Saddam Hussein’s many speeches on television, the feeling was almost always the same:

The President, saying things that did not make sense; talking like he was living on a different planet; every now and then, the audience would start a round of applause in appreciation of the pearls of wisdom that he was producing.

There were only two possibilities: either the man was a deluded fool who did not know what he was talking about… or he was a wicked liar. There was no other alternative.

Only this time it is the elected (and then re-elected) President of the United States of America – the beacon of the world holding the torch of Democracy, open government and enlightenment; the country leading the world into the New Century.

Well, at least officially, the subject matter of this post is settled. America is “staying the course”… at lower profile. But now we have a plan for victory.

We know where our own President took us. I wonder where this gentleman is taking America… and the rest of us.

Well Abu, I dunno about turning tides and changes in policy. Maybe I’m getting a bit jaded, but it seems to me that seizing on the latest statement by Kahililzad or Casey or Bush or Murtha or whoever and hoping to make sense of it is a bit like the old Roman soothsayers interpreting chicken entrails to forecast the future. Assorted pundits and Interested Abus may read a lot into the latest lunacy, but they’d probably do as well just studying some poultry intestines.
Certainly as far as the current American leadership goes, these guys may be very good at manipulating the insane US political system, some of them may even be good at making money, but there’s no evidence I can see that they’ve ever made any intelligent decisions about Iraq, or about international relations in general if it comes to that. Taken them just five short years to alienate virtually the whole world!

Just for fun: can I refer to a site I stumbled across - - which consist of up-to-date online diaries from travellers all over the world.
Naturally I looked at Blogs from US travellers in NZ. Nothing of great interest, mostly just "Wow! scenery" sort of stuff, but I was amused by a comment from one US traveller. They were held up on a country road by a herd of cattle crossing to be milked, and he described how each cow, as it passed, "peered into the car with a disapproving look, as if to say "Ugh! Americans!""
Remember Debbie’s sad complaint in your last post - "the PLANET is hating my country for its policies?" Well mooooo, lady, looks like the cows do anyway.

Hate to say it, but my chicken entrails show that there’s unlikely to be anything good in the near future for Iraq, or the USA. If the upcoming elections are anything like the last ones, George Bush’s legacy seems likely to be the creation of another Anti-American fundamentalist Shiite state in the Middle East. Why, George, why?
Cluck cluck cluck


As opposed to the fundamentalist Sunni states?
Do you really think those are any better?

Not you again.
Don’t you know any form of debate other than making snarky, snide insinuations against your disputant? I’ve said nothing anywhere to indicate that I feel anything but disgust towards any fundamentalist regime, be it Shiite, Sunni, or born-again Christian. Gimmie secular every time.
Explain to me why you personally, like your Dear Leader, are so keen to see a fundamentalist Shiite Iraq allied with Iran?


May I offer a possible explanation? It’s typical Binary American thinking, see.

You are either with us or with the terrorists.
Sunni fundamentals are against us.
Shiite fundamentalists are against Sunni fundamentalists.
Therefore Shiite fundamentalists are with us.
Therefore they are good. We will deal with any other problems later.

Makes sense?

The fact that you are against both does not make sense.

Circular again,

Just to make use of a 'burst' of electric power for the first time in 24 hours...

According to the same Binary thinking, two decades ago, Sunni fundamentalists were good:

Soviets were bad.
You were either with us or with the Soviets.
Sunni fundamentalists fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
Therefore Sunni fundamentalists were good.
Therefore the US helped them.
They established Al-Qaeda.
It worked.
They beat the bad Soviets.

Sunni fundamentalists turned against us.
They became bad.
Now, we are dealing with that problem.

It works, see? When will you people learn? No wonder so many 5th Americans feel misunderstood by the rest of the world. If the wretched rest of the world cannot understand such simple Binary logic, what hope do we have of making them understand more intricate Binary issues?

Abu Khaleel:

This is by Juan Cole. You are likely familiar with him, he is an anti-Bush Middle East specialist in Michigan, US. In Michigan there is also a large mostly Shiite Iraqi expatriate population and I have at times suspected Cole to have at least a slight pro-Shiite bias.

Anyway this is his take on the history of the occupation so far and I find it pretty insightful myself but I thought anything Abu Khaleel would like to add would be very valuable.

I am emailing the full text to your address.

Irritating name, "Mr Democracy." Bit like calling oneself "Mr Peace" or "Mr Safe Sex."
Very interesting reference to the Juan Cole article, however. What do you make of it, Abu? Is it a reasonably accurate summary?
I was struck by this bit: "This crisis (Najaf) was resolved when Sistani returned from London after a heart procedure there to call for all Iraqis to march on Najaf. The flooding of the city by civilians made further fighting impossible, and Muqtada al-Sadr slipped away."
I can’t remember it happening that way. Did it? Certainly would seem to be a pointer towards the untapped power of the Shiite masses if they (or their leaders) decide it is time for the foreign fighters to leave. (No, not the Arab ones, Madtom.)
We don’t seem to be hearing much about the upcoming election, only two weeks away now? Is it just going to be a replay of the January one, or are there significant differences? Will Iraq have a bit of a rest from "democracy" after that, and concentrate on having a civil war instead?
This casual post is turning into a string of questions, which will get Mr Khaleel all agitated.
Nevertheless, one final one: I recall a year or two ago someone saying something to the effect that the Sunni are the wolves, the Shia the sheep: also my Iraqi acquaintance here telling me that if the US left, the Baath would be back in power "within a week." Is there any indication that the insurgency might be getting a bit discouraged now, a bit resigned to accepting a new status quo? They don’t seem inclined to ease up on the Marines!
If not, surely the indications are that the more determined Bush remains to stay the course until "victory," the more his army will get involved in a fratricidal and genocidal civil war, fighting on the side of its natural and inevitable enemies.
What a way to run an Empire!

Mr. Democracy,

Good article as usual from Juan Cole. but I have a few reservations:

Circular’s memory is intact! (Although he recently confused Zina with Nadia ;)

“Sunni Arabs who disliked religious Shiites, considering them backward
and Iran-oriented rather than progressive and Arab”.

He should have used the word “secular”. Anybody who is familiar with the roots of Baathism would know that this contention is wrong within the context. Baathism started and thrived mainly in Shiite quarters. Its major stronghold outside Baghdad was in what we call the Mid-Euphrates region (provinces on the Euphrates south of Baghdad) – a mostly Shiite area. The earliest senior figures were mostly secular Shiites!! Many were later purged by Saddam… for political and tribal more than “sectarian” reasons. Even now, the most outspoken neo-politician against religious Shiites and the influence of Iran in Iraq, Hazim Sha’alan is a secular Shiite.

I have often seen Cole’s major weakness to be his polarized Shiite-Sunni view of Iraq. I can’t blame him really: Looking from the outside, that is the view he gets! Ever since the 1990’s I have noticed the same polarization in many of my own Iraqi (Sunni and Shiite) friends who have lived abroad for a while. There are logical reasons for that. So, I attributed Cole’s attitudes to the same reasons.

However, thanks to Bruno, I recently found in an article we discussed a few posts back that Cole spent some years in Lebanon. Lebanon, as you may well know, is a much deeply polarized society. Thanks to the French, the ethnic and sectarian aspects of society have been enshrined in their constitution and in their political system for decades. Ultimately that led to civil war. This is probably the cause of my frequent angry bursts against the present political designs.

But I have to say that the article is an excellent account of recent history; a good distinction between Dawa and SCIRI, but less so on the Muqtada angle. He also overlooked / skimmed over the reasons why Muqtada was ignored by the “CPA”.


More questions? More questions? Who is agitated?

More seriously though, your question regarding the elections is timely. I spent most of today in the country… discussing just that. There were about a hundred people present, mostly country folk, mixed Shiite, Sunni and secular, of all ages, but mostly of the older generations. We were discussing the different slates (before and after a delicious lunch!) It was a warm, cozy gathering. Nobody became angry. Most of them tackled the issue with a sense of having a problem to solve. Both local and national concerns were discussed. I had the feeling that these people, despite their differences were deeply concerned over the future of their country and society. Many were technically illiterate. But the level, the sophistication of the discussion would have left you wondering how these people know so much!

The statement that amused me most was one made about the near impossibility of getting a ‘balanced’ Parliament. There was a general consensus that Americans will have their stooges in control of the majority no matter how people voted. Someone cheekily remarked “Regular Iraqis like us should not aim for the impossible: to gain control. What we should work for is to put our foot in the door!!”

I wish I had more time to talk some more about details.


If you remember the Charles era, I was posting anonymously at first and during a back and forth with Charles, he insisted I take a name. So I took the name "Mr. Democracy" which immediately infuriated him. At one point he called me "Mr. World Stalinism".

I understand how Charles could be offensive, but I found him thoroughly amusing.

I think Mr Democracy is as good a name as any. Nothing would make me happier than to see a stable peaceful independent and democratic Iraq. I feel that way about every country in the world.

Well, anything that infuriated Charles has to be commended, I guess. I will contain my irritation, and look forward to your future contributions.
"There was a general consensus that Americans will have their stooges in control of the majority no matter how people voted."
That’s what I’m asking, though. Despite your insistence on playing down sectarian differences, there must be some truth in the MSM version of Iraq. And I don’t see how a government dominated by fundamentalist Shia can be seen as, or long remain, American stooges. Surely they would be Iranian stooges, if anything?
I mean, do the ministers have to get US permission before popping off to Iran to discuss all manner of co-operative ventures, or do they just go, and deal with a fuming Kahalizid afterwards?

Hello Abu Khaleel,

"Iraq's most influential Shia figure, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has told followers to vote in elections on 15 December, urging them to support religious candidates(UIA)."

I realize that the binary thinking of Juan Cole on Shiite/Sunni sectarians is probably too narrow, but I am truly dismayed at Sistani's command to the Shiites to support UIA and to fight the godless seculars. LOL--How narrow-minded of him!! This 'election' will be a repeat of the last one, welcome 4 more years of Dawa/SCIRI/Sadr. What a disaster!

"Explain to me why you personally, like your Dear Leader, are so keen to see a fundamentalist Shiite Iraq allied with Iran?"

I do not, I think I have said it many times, I an not a supporter, nor did I vote for him, or his party.

About the Shi'a thing, they would appear to be the majority of people in Iraq, Explain to me how a democratic process could start in Iraq without the majority taking over? If they are fundamentalist, this is more likely to be a function of how they have been treated till now by the power in Iraq than anything we did. If they look to Iran, maybe again the treatment they get from the other Arab governments, again nothing we did.

About Binary thinking, how about the Shi'a in Iraq are shi'a and so are the Iranians, and so the Iraqi shi'a have to be Iranian oriented? Is that form any better?
Makes sense?

Abu Khaleel has brought the most interesting news

"“Regular Iraqis like us should not aim for the impossible: to gain control. What we should work for is to put our foot in the door!!”"

Hopefully they will succeed, as this is what we are looking for, or at least what I an looking for.

Dear Abu Khaleel,

On your last post I do agree with our friend Circular.

Unfortunately is useless for you - or for any Iraqi - to hope for any withdrawal of the US military from Iraq decided on its own by the Bush Government.

Yes, of course their mounting losses (and the increasing alienation from the Bush Administration of the categories 1-4 of American citizens) do constitute a problem for the Neo-Cons; but they just cannot back out.

The American public (some part of which, and especially those of category 5, do not fit into the famous definition by Aristotle of human beings as ‘rational animals’) have got, together with their incredible gullibility, a redeeming quality: that when at last they realise that they have been conned, they are capable of rather violent and radical reactions.
A US withdrawal from Iraq would trigger just such reaction (and that’s why Bush is ranting on about ‘victory’, even if by now they are incapable of stating what a US ‘victory’ in Iraq means): it would be the admission, on the part of the Neo-Con Administration, that the Iraq war was a fool’s errand, one of the most moronic in history; that it was done on behalf of Israel and, ironically, on behalf of that member of the ‘Axis of Evil’, Iran; and that they spent about 200 billion dollars, and the life of almost 2,200 of their soldiers, in order to establish and protect a nice Khomeinist regime in most of Iraq!
A US withdrawal would most likely bring very soon the members of the Bush Government into jail, and possibly even into death row (high treason, and such).
So, for their political, and possibly even physical survival, the members of this US Administration just cannot leave Iraq willingly.
They of course plan to operate some troops reductions, and to find strategies to minimise their losses; but the US occupation has got to stay up to January, 2009.
Moreover, at present the alienation of internal US public opinion hasn’t got viable political channels to make itself heard, since the leadership of the Democratic Party did support the President in starting the war.

On the other hand, the Teheran Government is dead set against any US withdrawal before the same date: the presence in Iraq of 160,000 US troops is its best insurance policy against any US or Israeli aggression, and is needed to allow its Iraqi allies, the Shiite religious fundamentalist parties, to impose their power on most of Iraq. I imagine that the Persian Government figures out that, by January 2009, either the new US Administration will be less threatening towards Iran, or they’ll have nuclear weapons by then, or both.

The same goes, of course, for the Shiite clergy and the parties united in list 555. In the elections of the 15th of December they’ll get the same result they got in January, or even a better result (having taken complete control of nine provinces out of 18, and of the State forces, thanks to the ‘purple-fingered’ vote, their management of the vote through both intimidation and fraud is, if anything, enhanced by comparison with last January; as the rigged ‘constitutional referendum’ has shown). They do need the US troops, in order to fight those patriotic Iraqis who are the only ones who could prevent the establishment of an Islamic Republic of the Iranian persuasion; at the same time, the US occupation, in the next three years, will be a good alibi for the failures of their rule (see the behaviour of the Sadrists in this ‘Interim Government’: protesting the occupation as the source of all evils, but keeping tight their four Ministries; and they are doing the same in this electoral campaign, after obtaining the parity in the number of candidates with the SCIRI/Badr in list 555).

On the international level, even if Putin has made some noises for internal (Russian) consumption, it would be vain to hope that the UN (and the three permanent members of the Security Council not associated with the Iraqi adventure, France, Russia and China) might disown the US occupation, or ask for a US withdrawal. On the basis of realpolitik (that is cynical, and oblivious to the cost in Iraqi lives), since the Neo-Con/ PNAC plans are a danger for everybody in the world, most States are quite happy that the US stupidly fell into a trap of their own making, and are quite happy to see the US being swallowed ever more deeply into the Iraqi quagmire, since there is the chance of an American defeat even greater than Vietnam.

Unpleasant as it is, I’m afraid that the end of the occupation depends on the strength of the Iraqi resistance, both armed and political; only steadily mounting American losses will push the US public (category n° 5 excepted) to rebel against their Government and its ‘de facto’ allies in the aggression against Iraq, the Democrat politicians, with sufficient force to impose a withdrawal.

"Category 5". How convenient it is, to box and package personality. How clean and slick and pure it must make you feel. Like a knife seperating skin from the fatty layer beneath, bloodlessly. Like skinning a goat. Or a lamb. To find out what is beneath, when all you had do was let it live and feel the pulse.

Shame, and this is why there is no hope for the world at all. Too often emissaries claiming "resistance" are no more enlightened then their predecessors, constructing expectation and manipulating things that are rarely understood, having no feeling for truth outside of third grade knowledge by autopsy. There will be no rebellion, only a slow decay. And perhaps a drawn out crumbling. And finally an ocean, to wash it all away.

Italian and Circular,

Last night I was watching an interview with Abdul Aziz al Hakeem, head of SCIRI. I was shocked to hear him refer to the Cairo agreement discussed a couple of blogs back. He said that, yes, they agreed that nationalistic resistance was legitimate but (wait for this…) they were not referring to Iraq (but he didn’t say which country they were referring to!!)

Iraq is not under occupation, therefore there can be no nationalist resistance. They are all terrorists. [I am sure the other parties will have that in mind when they are next invited to participate in a dialogue.] Mr. Bush couldn’t have put it better.

The question of America and Iran in Iraq has been baffling to me for some time. It seems to me that Italian’s point about Iran not wanting the USA out of Iraq at present is certainly validated by this gentleman.

Circular, Your question is legitimate. I was only reporting there. I too frequently wonder about that issue as I have already stated a while back.

Could anyone please translate to me what the anonymous above is saying?

It's probably just MadTom, Abu, trying to out-cryptic himself.
And succeeding beyond his wildest dreams. Maybe the ocean will wash him all away.

ها عيوني


madtom always post as madtom, on all blogs.

LMAO @ Anonymous!

Yet another cryptic comment for Abu Khaleel’s blog …

I’ll do the honours – (s)he’s saying:

(1) Hey! You put us in boxes! I don’t like that. I want you to judge us on our individual merits.
(2) Iraqi resistance is creating false hope for Iraqis and in the end only spells slow decay by fighting.

Well, that’s what I *think* he’s saying. I DO like the writing style though. I recommend that the individual writes more poetry and less politics.

Oh, btw, it’s not madtom. The English is too good.

[Abu K] “Iraq is not under occupation, therefore there can be no nationalist resistance. They are all terrorists. […] Mr. Bush couldn’t have put it better.”

I should have guessed that they would twist the words around like this. Honesty is a dead virtue. On the other hand, if they stood by the statement of resistance being legitimate, this would have created huge problems for SCIRI. Heck, they may even have to do their own fighting, instead of practicing their flogging arm on defenceless prisoners.

I also have little idea what the anonymous person was saying, but it certainly was beautiful English.

I'm pretty sure it was about America, though, not Iraq. It was a response to the Italian's prediction that Americans will react violently when they learn how they've been duped.

I think he's saying America will slowly crumble, not rebel. As for the ocean, global warming sea level catastrophe perhaps?

Lots of high-quality commentators here. Diogenes is my personal fave, after Abu Khaleel himself of course.

I think he or she is saying that madmen kill beauty by overanalysing it. And that marksmanship crushes the very thing it claims to preserve and the natural order of things is disturbed by psychoanalysis. That a moth can't fly when it's wings lose silver, and that pavlov's dogs can never be free.

The world was perfect before reason set it on scales to measure the balance.

love to see this discussion! It’s great to see you all working through the issues and also, it’s great to see recommendations for testing. In the end, it’s what your actual users do and prefer that should be your biggest driver in making these decisions.

study abroad

I think it's impossible.

Maybe it's hard to tell..
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