Most of these people don't even know what they are celebrating for or really care or understand what they are getting in return. In time, the predictable, corrupt process will pit opposition factions against each other as they scramble and jockey to secure power on the backs of the rubes who just helped them create enough hysteria to get Mubarak down.
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September was another month of declining violence in Iraq, both for civilians and military personnel. Below are the pictures, and I'm guessing that Barack Obama would prefer that you don't see them.
Once the progress in Iraq became all too obvious, even to Obama, he credited the success to the increase in troops, the troops themselves, the Sunni Awakening movements, and Muqtada al Sadr, but I haven't heard him say a single word about the actual strategy that helped turn Iraq around. The surge in troop levels was only part of the overall plan.
According to Maliki:
Actually, the final date was really the end of 2010 and the period between the end of 2010 and the end of 2011 was for withdrawing the remaining troops from all of Iraq, but they asked for a change [in date] due to political circumstances related to the [U.S] domestic situation so it will not be said to the end of 2010 followed by one year for withdrawal but the end of 2011 as a final date.
If what Maliki claims is true, would that not be more than solid grounds to impeach and swiftly remove the POTUS?
I missed out on some otherwise excellent conversation about the Georgia-Russia conflict because I was in the middle of settling down in my new home, but I wanted to take a few minutes to weigh in on some issues related to American foreign policy, perceptions of Russia and perceived Russian imperialism, and the impact on the current presidential race. I couldn't agree more with John's diary on the matter, but I wanted to flesh out some of the political issues that are currently important to the region, as well as discuss some historical parallels that may be uncomfortable to revisit, but are nonetheless instructive.
Part of this is motivated by a roundtable discussion I attended this week on this very issue: the panel included historians, political scientists, and former NATO advisers. The most controversial statement was made by a political scientist who has lived and worked in Georgia, and who has no hesitation in comparing the current situation in Georgia to the Serbian conflict - although I disagree on some of the specifics and implications, which I'll note below.
In light of the New Surge of US troops being deployed to Afghanistan to finish the mission and what appears to be a long term presence in Iraq. The US military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq have some similarities to past military blunders and miscalculations.
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Last week, B Rational had a set of questions concerning Obama's position on Iraq might be if his opinion on Iraq; specifically, what Obama would do if he changed his mind regarding the state of Iraqi capability. My return questions concern the apparent contradictory nature of Senator's McCain's position.
For some background, here are several statements that McCain has made:
Every picture tells a story, don't it. The following graphs don't tell the whole story of the surge strategy because Iraq is a big and old and complex place, but they do provide some measures of how the strategy is going, and it's going quite well. Civilian casualties are way down, to historic lows.
So are U.S. military casualties.
Someone once described courage as not never being afraid, but going on in spite of the fear. As a nation and as elected officials we seem to be running dangerously low on courage. Oh we have the tough talk down, we have the posturing, but do we really have true courage? Since 9/11 when at least 2,985 people died from the terrorists attacks I think that what has been lost in all the hype is some perspective. While this was surely a tragedy, the population of the United States in the year 2001 was somewhere around 290 million people. Based on those numbers the terrorist attacks killed less than .02% of the population, yet since the attack we have responded by invading sovereign nations, torturing our fellow human beings, and gutting our Constitutional protections.
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It's still working. There wasn't much coverage of General Petraeus when he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee last Thursday. Even C-SPAN didn't show it live. Petraeus reported that violence is at a 4-year low and that he will likely reduce troop levels this September after the 45-day pause. His comments were more upbeat than six weeks ago, when the Basra offensive was in full flux, but he is still cautionary about the political situation.