March 28, 2008

The Pitiful Josh Marshall

I don't typically go after other bloggers directly, but this particular combination of smugness and idiocy got under my skin.

Perhaps if one intends to publicly attack a political figure for the craven act of extending a deadline when things start getting dicey in combat, one should actually verify that such an extension has been made.

It hasn't, according to the AP article appended to the very NPR story he linked to.

Al-Maliki's office also announced it has given residents in Basra until April 8 to turn over "heavy and medium-size weapons" in return for unspecified monetary compensation.

The deadline is separate from the three-day ultimatum announced Wednesday for gunmen to surrender their arms and renounce violence or face harsher measures, government adviser Sadiq al-Rikabi said.

The move instead appeared to be aimed at noncombatants who may have weapons like machine-guns and grenade launchers either for smuggling purposes or to sell to militants or criminal gangs.

Two different deadlines have been set down, the original being a deadline on small arms, and the second, separate deadline for "heavy and medium-size weapons." The small arms deadline has not been changed, and it is the deadline on larger weapons that takes effect on April 8th.

On the bright side, he can always find work among his peers.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 28, 2008 11:38 AM

The left is absolutely desperate, desperate beyond all rationality, to see a US defeat in Iraq. Nothing turns on the spigots like any possible setback.

The word a year ago was that the Iraqi government wouldn't fight the Shia militias, therefore why should the US help stabilize the country? Now they start fighting the Shia militias and the usual suspects are in a high state of animation, running around flapping their wings like a bunch of old hens, shreiking "disaster" at the top of their tiny lungs.

A hundred men desert out of over 12,000 troops deployed and the liberal media makes it sound like the whole army went over to the other side. The entire initiative is less than 72 hours old and we are already being bombarded with enemy propaganda -- quotes from angry Sadrists, and dire predictions of doom. And most of it is being written by those who echo uncritically whatever the Jihadists spew out.

I admit I slapped my forehead and said "oh no" when I read Josh Marshall's poorly researched hit piece, wondering if we were going to see failed resolve by Maliki. Well, maybe not.

Thank you Confederate Yankee for being on top of this one and puncturing another defeatist hot air balloon. Nice job!

Posted by: DaMav at March 28, 2008 12:44 PM

"Saddam has no ties to terrorism"

- lame, false, leftist cant

Posted by: mishu at March 28, 2008 01:25 PM

It's a freaking POWER STRUGGLE between Shiite Muslims in Iraq... why is America involved with this crap???


Posted by: David at March 28, 2008 01:39 PM

Nice catch Bob.

Yglesias' analysis has been almost as bad, claiming this was just a brawl between militias when the Iraqi Army is 90% of the force.

Posted by: TallDave at March 28, 2008 01:49 PM

Yeah, Maliki's resolve has not failed. He called in the US to do his work for him.

Posted by: Twodox at March 28, 2008 01:51 PM

David, you are right on one part. It is a power struggle. However, it is between the democratically elected Iraqi government and Shia militias. I pray the government wins in this case.

Posted by: Mark at March 28, 2008 01:53 PM

Shockingly, Reuters has it wrong too.;_ylt=AlcKDra92wDhJgVJXEF5T1dX6GMA

In Iraq's second-biggest city Basra where he launched the crackdown on Tuesday, Maliki extended a 72 hours deadline he had given militants to surrender, saying they had until April 8 to turn in their weapons for cash

Maybe they already hired Josh.

Posted by: TallDave at March 28, 2008 02:25 PM

Yeah, Maliki's resolve has not failed. He called in the US to do his work for him.

Iraqi Army units are routinely supported by U.S. airstrikes. It's pretty much SOP.

Posted by: TallDave at March 28, 2008 02:27 PM

The fact that Iraqi Police are deserting shouldn't surprise anybody. They've always been unreliable and far more loyal to their tribal connections than the government. I'm certainly hope the Iraqi leaders took this into account accordingly.

I always get a kick out comments such as "It's a Civil War, what are we doing there" as if we didn't have anything to do with it and can absolve ourselves of any responsibility. It's certainly a long way from the "We shall pay any price, bear any burden..." of yesteryear.

Posted by: mindnumbrobot at March 28, 2008 02:31 PM

Did they remove the second two paragraphs from the story? I can't find them when I followed your link.

I did find them from other news sources on the web, although it is was unclear whether the deadline for the original order was extended, as well as adding the new compensation for medium to large size weapons.

Too bad they can't be more clear on the issue. Anybody know Arabic?

Posted by: DR at March 28, 2008 02:34 PM

Allies help allies. Iraq is our ally, yet they don't have much of an air force... so we send ours to assist the Iraqi Army.

I thought this was the kind of "war" that lefties loved... wasn't the "war" in Bosnia supposed to be just fine, because it was just us using our planes to bomb people.

Or, could it be something else? Could it be that airstrikes and wars are just fine when started by a Democrat President, but when started by a Republican, they're evil and bad and terrible?

Double standard, anyone?

Posted by: C-C-G at March 28, 2008 02:35 PM

"David, you are right on one part. It is a power struggle. However, it is between the democratically elected Iraqi government and Shia militias. I pray the government wins in this case."

Will you change your tune if Sadr's party wins the upcoming election?

Posted by: scarshapedstar at March 28, 2008 03:26 PM

One of the remaining benchmarks is disarming of militias. Are we supposed to see them disarmed or not?

If so, did they imagine it would happen without a little coercion? If not, isn't it an admission the benchmarks were a sham from the beginning?

Posted by: Charlie (Colorado) at March 28, 2008 04:40 PM

My nephew is over there, somewhere. According to him the Iraqis seldom need backup anymore, and he and his men get a plenty of respect from the local citizens when they have to deploy.

Stuff like that makes the people in Berkeley go berserk. I love it.

Posted by: tyree at March 28, 2008 04:54 PM

Uh, Charlie... that's what Maliki is trying to do, disarm the militias.

Did that little bit of logic escape you?

Posted by: C-C-G at March 28, 2008 04:55 PM

Bill Roggio says the U.S. military told him the Iraqi cops aren't deserting their posts.

The MSM appears to be lying its collective butt off again, just as it did in 2003, when it claimed the war was a "quagmire" (How original!) after three weeks.

Posted by: Tom W. at March 28, 2008 04:57 PM

Zell Miller wrote a very funny piece some years ago, early in the war, writing a dispatch from Iwo Jima, as reported by the modern media. Someone should try it again - I would suggest the Battle of the Bulge...

Posted by: Grey Fox at March 28, 2008 07:31 PM

"Zell Miller wrote a very funny piece some years ago, early in the war,..."

Guess he showed THEM!

It's only five years into this war - what's the big deal?!!

Posted by: Babycakes at March 28, 2008 10:42 PM

Exactly, Babycakes: wars come with a time limit, and if you go over, you need to quit so people don't get bored...
...oh, wait.

Posted by: DaveP. at March 28, 2008 11:25 PM

Democrats find thier resolve and tenacious perserverance in raising taxes, supporting "undocumented immigrants", defending the right of women to dispose of bothersome embryos, and defending politicians who enjoy the occasional "Lewinsky". They have little to spare after that.

Posted by: Joel Mackey at March 28, 2008 11:49 PM

Regardless of whether the extension was reported correctly or not, your post does not change the fact that the violence is increasing and the surge was what Bush hoped it would be. A way to leave it for the next President to clean up his mess.

The same thing he is doing for the economy.

He is our worst president ever, and nothing you can do will change that fact.

Posted by: Nixk at March 29, 2008 01:05 AM
Regardless of whether the extension was reported correctly or not, your post does not change the fact that the violence is increasing and the surge was what Bush hoped it would be.

Should these militias be defanged or not? That is the question. Doing so will be violent, as they are not willing, and that is the purpose of the surge. Or, Surge 2.0, if you will. Failing to do so also leads to violence.

So, yes or no: Should these militias be disarmed by the government?

Posted by: Pablo at March 29, 2008 01:19 AM

Bob, did you see the bit where our progressive friends at Think Progress accused McCain of plagarism only to have the campaign point out that McCain was the plagarised, not the plagarer? You can't make stuff like this up.

Posted by: Pablo at March 29, 2008 01:24 AM

scarshapedstar: Sadr already has a nicely 'large' block of democratically elected loyalists. If you noticed, they boycotted and/or left their administrative posts quite awhile back. Maliki is heading his coalition government without their support right now. Hence, destroying Sadrís supporter's ability to contravene the Iraqi Federal government's power is in the best interests of Iraq (IMO, for Maliki). I expect Maliki to be fairly ruthless in this current operation and eliminate Sadr's armed power-base. Not only is it good for Iraq in general; it is in Maliki's political interests to do so. (Of course I'm trying to read Maliki here and might be completely wrong.)

I fully expect Sadr-ists to have a block of representation and to perform as they have in the current system. Yet also expect their total numbers to be decreased in the next national election. If they are elected to THE majority, then I will be more than happy to support a complete pull-out of US support (inclusive of troops/money/prestige) since Sadr is anti-USA.

IOW, yes - I would happily change my stripes IF Sadr-ists gained majority power in Iraq. However, since they have an in-built counterbalance (I forget the other Shiite moniker off the top of my head), then I highly doubt they will be able to gain such a vast majority. In the next round of elections for the Federal side of Iraq, I fully expect a significant minority of Sunni representation to be elected. Any PM elected after that election will have to consider that large block of Sunnis and their potential for revolt. Couple that with a decreased amount of Sadr-loyalist and there will be a stronger Fed Gov't in Iraq.

Does that satisfy your curiosity on my resolve or do I need to go even more in-depth in my personal analysis?

Posted by: Mark at March 29, 2008 01:32 AM

Babycakes, why don't you look up how long the US occupied Germany after the war before it was considered peaceful enough to turn over to the German government?

The answer will probably surprise you, since you seem ignorant of history.

Once you've looked that up, perhaps you'll have a bit more perspective on the length of counterinsurgency campaigns.

Posted by: C-C-G at March 29, 2008 08:11 AM


The US has already lost the occupation in Iraq, after arming all major terrorist groups. I doubt the US Army can even defend the new embassy.

Posted by: IntelVet at March 29, 2008 10:22 AM

Riiiiiiiight, Vet... that's why violence in Iraq is way down.

What color is the sky in your world?

Posted by: C-C-G at March 29, 2008 10:42 AM

oh, pablow. you're so missing the point. tp actually copped to it; something unknown to republicans who just lie and lie and lie.

and, back ot -- ooops:

It appears that Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's ultimatum to Shiite Muslim militiamen to surrender to the Iraqi government might not be working precisely as he had intended.

When nobody had turned up by Friday, Maliki gave members of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army militia 10 more days to turn in their weapons and renounce violence.

Instead, about 40 members of the Shiite-dominated Iraqi army and National Police offered to surrender their AK-47s and other weapons this morning to Sadr's representatives in the cleric's east Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City.

Posted by: linda at March 29, 2008 12:28 PM

That the MSM is spinning like mad the very early reports in this conflict surprises no one. They will always seize on each fragment of bad news during conflict--of which there is always plenty in supply--as evidence we are failing and have to retreat to Okinawa, Hawaii, or California.

This way, trolls can beclown themselves with pathetic posts about violence increase despite the surge--despite the fact that the surge was envisioned TO INCREASE the violence in order TO WIN. The success against AQ and Sunni terrorists has enabled this fight. And this violence was initiated by the Iraqi government in order to regain the monopoly of power in the country.

Posted by: iconoclast at March 29, 2008 12:39 PM

Linda, tell me, did Laura Bush ever claim to have dodged sniper fire in Bosnia?

Talk about people who lie and lie and lie... Pot, meet Kettle.

Posted by: C-C-G at March 29, 2008 04:52 PM

Linduh, I know this is gonna sound crazy, but you should read the frigging post.

Posted by: Pablo at March 29, 2008 06:02 PM

She'll never do it, Pablo. To do so might shake her conviction that she is always right and any conservative is always wrong. She'd sooner lay under stampeding elephants than allow even the hint of the possibility of that happening.

Posted by: C-C-G at March 29, 2008 09:13 PM

The analysis at the link below has a compelling argument that Iran is the one pulling the strings. Honestly, as none of what we are hearing in near-real time has any solid intel behind it, I don't think that the average joe will know what happened for awhile. Hopefully, those that depend on more informed sources than chatrooms for intel have a better handle on this. I just hope it's not State or the CIA.

BTW, what we DO know is that the surge worked beyond expectations. It was the lack of security around Basra with the Brits throwing up their hands that created the environment for this. It was worrisome at the time for-this-very-reason.

I cannot believe that our military are waiting for the Iraqi troops to fail. That would be a compelling reason for us to stay, and that does not make sense. The U.S. military leadership must have confidence in the Iraqis or they would not let them bear the burden.

Sorry, Linda.

Posted by: NeoCon_1 at March 30, 2008 07:42 AM

More bad news for Linda:

BAGHDAD - Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr offered Sunday to pull his fighters off the streets of Basra and other cities if the government halts raids against his followers and releases prisoners held without charge.


Al-Sadr demanded that the government issue a general amnesty and release all detainees. The statement said he also "disavows" anyone who carries weapons and targets government institutions, charities and political party offices.

"Because of the religious responsibility, and to stop Iraqi blood being shed, and to maintain the unity of Iraq and to put an end to this sedition that the occupiers and their followers want to spread among the Iraqi people, we call for an end to armed appearances in Basra and all other provinces," al-Sadr's statement said.

"Anyone carrying a weapon and targeting government institutions will not be one of us," the statement said.

This is what's known as negotiating terms of surrender, coming just about the time the 72 hour deadline ends and on the 5th day of battle.

Doesn't anyone know how to run a quagmire anymore?

Posted by: Pablo at March 30, 2008 09:18 AM
Doesn't anyone know how to run a quagmire anymore?
The Dems keep trying, but darn it, Dubya keeps thwarting their efforts to create a good quagmire! Posted by: C-C-G at March 30, 2008 09:45 AM

Sadr is an extremely popular leader in Iraq.
The ultra right is trying to somehow spin the fact that Maliki was not able to meet any of his goals.
Sadr will not surrender his heavy arms. He will remain in control of Basra

Posted by: John Ryan at March 30, 2008 06:52 PM

The leftist MSM has outdone its self (and that is saying a lot) in it biased party line reporting of as-Sadars recent defeat in Iraq. Mookie has backed down, pulled his thugs off the street and (according to Bill Roggio) lost at least 70 JAM killed per day over the last five days).

Maliki on the other had is continuing operation Knights Charge in Basra. al-Sadr looks weak. Malikis government looks strong. Things will slowly improve in Basra as the ISF take control.

Posted by: grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr at March 30, 2008 08:19 PM

Ahh, yes, now we hear from the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism.

I'll get the crow started for you, John Ryan.

I guess the lefty miscalculation on Anbar Province didn't teach you a durned thing. Not that I should be surprised, you've been re-fighting Vietnam for decades. Remember "10,000 bodybags" from the first Gulf War?

Posted by: C-C-G at March 30, 2008 08:40 PM
Sadr will not surrender his heavy arms. He will remain in control of Basra.

Are you gonna tell him before he finishes rolling over? You'd better hurry if you want to get him to pull the white flag in.

Posted by: Pablo at March 30, 2008 09:42 PM

Mr. Ryan - Questions for you.

If "Sadr is an extremely popular leader in Iraq" as you claim, then why isn't his physical presence leading IN Iraq instead of playing student in Iran?

Is it possible he is only an "extremely popular leader" in a few enclaves located in Sadr City, Basra, Haditha, and possibly a few others instead of "in (all of?) Iraq"?

I eagerly await your clarification.

Posted by: Mark at March 31, 2008 10:25 AM

Well, the latest news is that the conflict is quieting down, but it looks like Al Maliki has been utterly humiliated:

Vali Nasr, an Iraq expert at the Council of Foreign Relations, said al-Sadr had emerged stronger from the battle, which killed more than 300 people. "He let the Americans and the Iraqis know that taking him down is going to be difficult."

Al-Sadr's militia stood strong, forcing the government to extend a deadline for them to disarm.

"Everything we heard indicates the Sadrists had control of more ground in Basra at the end of the fighting than they did at the beginning," said al-Nujaifi, the Sunni mediator. "The government realized things were not going in the right direction."

There's also this:
Iran has close ties with both al-Sadr's movement and al-Maliki, who spent several years in exile there. Al-Nujaifi said the agreement was brokered by the commander of Iran's al-Quds Brigade, which the United States considers a terrorist organization.

Who exactly are we fighting for again? Seriously, other than the Kurds, it's looking more and more that we don't have any friends at all in Iraq.

Posted by: pinson at March 31, 2008 01:26 PM

Yah, it's always utterly humiliating when your adversary lays down their arms.


Posted by: Pablo at March 31, 2008 02:01 PM

Pinson, from your own source, USAToday:

BAGHDAD (AP) ó In a possible turning point in the recent upsurge in violence, Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his Shiite militiamen off the streets but called on the government to stop its raids against his followers.

Pulling in your own soldiers is commonly called a "retreat," and is frequently (though admittedly not always) a precursor of "surrender."

Welcome to the real world. Please check your rose-colored glasses at the door.

Posted by: C-C-G at March 31, 2008 06:13 PM