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August 31, 2006



The rhetoric is trying to spin this as an existential conflict; I suspect there is a tipping point? (Something to do with the ingrained GOP infrastructure and the target demographic remembering Communism and big-bad-nations?)

Jesus Reyes

All they have to do is take Khuzestan. Apparently, the Brittish troops have already re-deployed to the border reconfigured as light calvary.


We heard this very same rhetoric in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. Deja vu all over again!


They have been angling for a showdown with Iran since before they got into office. Remember "real men go to Iran"?

My only question is will it be an active nuclear war (bombs) or a passive one (depleted uranium).


passive because we need to be able right away to send in the oil field workers from...some company.



An MoD contingent of some 1200 troops abandoned their base in Amara due to their being in an unsustainable position. Interestingly there was a British News crew at the base at the time and we got lots of fun footage of Reporter and squaddies sheltering under tables during mortar attacks. The troops pulled out - without there being a semblance of a ceremonial handover( compare and contrast with the PR bonanza in the UK press that accompanied the handover in Muthanna province a mere month or so ago ), or a plan for that matter - the base was looted and burned within hours, and Iraqi security forces started fighting each other.

In a heroic PR effort, the MoD announced that 600 of the troops would be going commando in the narshes East of Amara in a bid to clamp down on cross-border smuggling. Quite why the MoD thought that tipping the smugglers off in advance was part of an effective interdiction strategy is unclear to me - perhaps they thought that if they tipped the opposition the wink, then they might avoid the embarrassment of hot contact and the perils of being mortared under canvas ( which makes the undersides of tables under a concrete roof seem secure by comparison ). Cue same British news crew that had been filming the undersides of tables in Amara, providing footage of British squaddies in the marshes enjoying fresh air on a camping trip.

I doubt that when the contingent redeploys to Basra in a week or two there will be any accompanying PR operation heralding MoD satisfaction with a job well-done. After all, the job was a bit of PR swerve with live props in full military kit to hide the fact that the MoD had to abandon a strategically important point on the Eastern supply route from Basra to Baghdad.

As for 600 troops marching the 300km or so to Ahvaz in a heroic bid to take Khuzestan - well, it's Xenophon meets Monty Python.

Michael Tanji

A suggestion for the trigger:

- Gen Casey says Iraqi troops may be ready within 18 months
- Growing # of reports from even "positive" quarters about Iraqi civil war

Round about 12-17 months from now wait for someone in the Admin to talk about Iranian involvement in Iraq being more than terrorism (read: overthrow) + Iranian nuke program development + Iraq being our ostensible allies + how we help our allies . . . wow, I think I'm convincing myself.

Now does it go before or after the Iraqis take over full responsibility for security?

John Robb

Michael. It's going to happen in this election cycle.

Federalist X

shloky: rhetoric cannot spin something "as existential". it either is or is not. such views about the "spinability" of existential questions tend to spark a type of relativism which can only lead to absurdity. let's avoid that, it has already cost too much.

john: if it is this election cycle, there will be hell to pay at the ballot. what then?


Federalist, the administration wants to look butch and macho about Iran, so you'll see them painting the opposition as somehow weak on terries, while pushing to attack. I see the administration as so power hungry and insane that it is quite possible that this fall's election will be the last national election. The attack will happen just before election time and before the public starts to feel the consequences of such an attack, so the administration will bask in the glow of "shock and awe" just long enough to sustain their party's lead in the house + senate. I suspect "the decider" will decide to declare an even worse national emergency and appoint himself "President For Life" as in some banana republic.

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