Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Where is Levin going with this?

Carl Levin, the Senator from Michigan and the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, would probably like to see President George Bush impeached for whatever reason, but he can’t do so on Capitol Hill so he’s taking out his frustration by calling upon the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad to bring down Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

The Democrats are shifting the Iraq debate away from the parameters of military success against the insurgents towards the terrain of inter-sectarian political failure. This is no longer a question of how many terrorists are sniping at American soldiers but rather one of how many Sunni ministers get sworn into the new cabinet; keeping certain Iraqi political actors happy is their new measure of success.

This shift could cost the Democrats the 2008 Presidential Elections. Why? Because both the American and Iraqi publics will tune them out.

Here’s a current political fact: Iraq influences American politics far more than America influences Iraqi politics. The Democrats chose to make Iraq their principal issue against Bush and the Republicans, but for these talking points to find traction among easily-distracted news consumers, they’d need to deploy a macabre arsenal of scary catchphrases: “Iraq is lost”, “civil war”, “ethnic cleansing”, “this war cannot be won”, and “mounting casualties”.

But, it ain’t so: casualties, by every calculation, are falling off. Even more important that casualty tallies is the number of violent incidents, and those are really falling off. Hence, it is hard for most, including Senator Levin, not to acknowledge the positive developments of the surge.

So, on to Plan B: the labyrinth of Iraqi politics. Here’s where the Democrats lose their way and their audience: America’s attention span is not going to follow them into the machinations of the Consensus bloc and Ayad Allawi’s ambitions. They don’t care whether Sunnis join the Iraqi cabinet or flee on magic carpets to the mythical Waqwaq Island; and certainly all this stuff doesn’t matter if Bush climbs the podium and tells them that America is whipping Al-Qaeda’s ass, and has the numbers to prove it.

Then, candidates like McCain and Guiliani can come in and say, “Hey, we told you so: this war can be won; we just needed to be a little patient. Would you want a man or woman for president who’s willing to throw in the towel after the first punch?”

But back to Senator Levin: does he know that the current cabinet crises began when Iraqi police carrying an arrest warrant for a Sunni minister who is accused of ordering the murder of another Sunni lawmaker’s children were barred from carrying out their duties by the American embassy?

The Sunnis interpreted this American gesture as a carte-blanche to throw a hissy fit, even though one of their own may be a murderer. It seemed to the Sunnis that the Americans would go to any length, evening to the point of harboring alleged terrorists, in order to keep them happy. That was one huge diplomatic boo-boo.

Would it be too much to expect of someone with Levin’s stature, who keeps close tabs on Iraq, to launch an investigation into this matter? Did U.S. diplomats aid and abet an Iraqi minister accused of terrorism? Does the Iraqi judiciary really have a case against this minister?

Shouldn’t Levin be interested in all these questions?

Here’s another interesting thing: Barbour, Griffith & Rogers LLC, the registered lobbyists working on behalf of Ayad Allawi, sent out Levin’s statements to their mailing list, from the account of DrAyadAllawi@allawi-for-iraq.com

I wonder if the lobbyists canvassed Levin before he made his remarks, thereby influencing his views.

Don’t reporters find this odd: Ayad Allawi has lobbyists running around DC peddling him as Maliki’s replacement, probably influencing Demoratic thinking on Iraq, and consequently shaping Democratic strategies for the upcoming US presidential elections…Doesn’t this count as news?


Anonymous pat tryon said...

Democrats have never 'gotten' iraq. Without any underlying principles on which to base judgement they've always chased the polls.
If iraq comes good sooner than the election what should have been another slam dunk will have passed them by.
I'm absolutely astounded about your last comment regarding Allawi's lobbyists and Levin. It reinforces my belief in the brazenly political way the democrats have dealt with iraq.

Question. Can the progress at the local level that the military seems to be making influence the national politics in iraq or will it be sub-servient to the national scene?

12:58 PM, August 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, that's Haley Barbour's old firm. He's governor of Mississippi right now, and is a huge backroom player in the Republican Party. This is a Republican firm.

Someone in the WH or at State, probably both, pointed Allawi to Barbour's Senate Lobbying Shop. They don't care; Allawi is writing the checks.

The Administration is trying to come away with the notion that it has produced a "Coalition Government". It doesn't really matter, Malaki has his coalition and now he can be the Arab Big Man and stare down the Americans, who appear to have no idea what is going on.

As you suggest, Maliki gets mojo by standing up to us. Probably the only one who gets this is Rice. Why Crocker appears to be off the reservation is beyond me. More than likely, it's because Maliki has been acting like a PM and looking out for Iraq's national interest and talking with the Persians.

6:04 PM, August 21, 2007

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

This is an interesting Reuters piece, 'Democrat split on Iraq may hurt '08 chances-analysts':


And this is what I just heard Bush say to the veterans:

"Maliki is a good man, with a hard job, and I support him. It is not up to the politicians in Washington to chose Iraq's leaders."

8:30 AM, August 22, 2007

Blogger bg said...


"And this is what I just heard Bush say to the veterans"

here you go TG.. :)

President Bush Attends Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention, Discusses War on Terror


5:51 PM, August 22, 2007

Blogger bg said...


albeit from the spin king WaPo..

Clinton Urges Ouster of Iraq's Al-Maliki

[In a statement released by her Senate office, Clinton echoed a call by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin for Iraq's Parliament to oust al-Maliki in favor of a leader who could restore order to Iraq's unity government.]

yep, it's the Dems doing the dirty work.. they were the
ones who recruited Allawi in the first place.. Prez Bush
kicked him out when he found out he was a crook..

don't give a fig about the firm..

["I support him," Bush said. "It's not up to the politicians in Washington, D.C., to say whether he will remain in his position. It is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy and not a dictatorship."]

evidentally, neither does Bush..


10:38 PM, August 22, 2007

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi BG,

I just wanted to thank you for enlivening the comments section and keeping us informed.



12:30 AM, August 23, 2007

Blogger bg said...


oh you're quite welcome TG.. :)

and good luck untangling the decietful web that's been weaved..

it has been my "looking at the forest" opinion that Bush has had to face many obstacle's & persitant opposition from every direction, ie: CIA, UN, State Dept, DOD, Dems, etc.. including some Republicans..

albeit he has to play games, i truly believe Bush is the only honest man left standing in today's political climate..

i believe Bush was more or less "set up" due to the corruption in politics (wherever politics are involved, you will have corruption to some extent)..

the Democrats were all for the war in Iraq pre 9/11 under Clinton.. Bush was actually quite hesitent to go into Iraq, but everyone else convinced him we must.. however, i believe his final decision to go into Iraq was based on his honest assessment of the dictator Saddam coupled with his belief that "freedom & democracy" is the right thing to afford all oppressed people's.. in much the same sense John F. Kennedy did..

i could go on, but the bottom line is.. Bush will not abandon the Iraqi or Afghanistna people.. no matter what kind of devious brush his enemies, both foreign & domestic, paint him with..


10:14 AM, August 23, 2007

Blogger Caged Fury said...

"casualties, by every calculation, are falling off."

What war are you talking about? Here are the casualty figures I see from icasaulties.org:

Period US UK Other* Total Avg Days

8-2007 65 4 0 69 3 23
7-2007 79 8 1 88 2.84 31
6-2007 101 7 0 108 3.6 30
5-2007 126 3 2 131 4.23 31
4-2007 104 12 1 117 3.9 30
3-2007 81 1 0 82 2.65 31
2-2007 81 3 1 85 3.04 28
1-2007 83 3 0 86 2.77 31
12-2006 112 1 2 115 3.71 31
11-2006 70 6 2 78 2.6 30
10-2006 106 2 2 110 3.55 31

Here are the Iraqi casualty figures:

Period Total
Aug-07 1252
Jul-07 1690
Jun-07 1345
May-07 1980
Apr-07 1821
Mar-07 2977
Feb-07 3014
Jan-07 1802
Dec-06 1752
Nov-06 1864
Oct-06 1539
Sep-06 3539
Aug-06 2966
Jul-06 1280

So, what trend are you seeing again??

2:54 PM, August 23, 2007

Blogger bg said...


Caged Fury @ 2:54 PM, August 23, 2007

August 22, 2007


[In Iraq, our troops are taking the fight to the extremists and radicals and murderers all throughout the country. Our troops have killed or captured an average of more than 1,500 al Qaeda terrorists and other extremists every month since January of this year. (Applause.) We're in the fight. Today our troops are carrying out a surge that is helping bring former Sunni insurgents into the fight against the extremists and radicals, into the fight against al Qaeda, into the fight against the enemy that would do us harm. They're clearing out the terrorists out of population centers, they're giving families in liberated Iraqi cities a look at a decent and hopeful life.]

okay, what do you think the trend would be should
the COTW be forced to abandon the Iraqi people??


4:57 PM, August 23, 2007

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