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Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Monday, January 29, 2007

The New Strategy: No More Mr. Nice Guy (?)

From top: Bush telegraphs the taking off of gloves at his January 10 Address to the Nation; Bush and Maliki come to an understanding; Iraqi soldiers take up positions 20 miles northeast of Najaf, yesterday.

At dawn On Monday in Iraq (late last night/early A.M. in the Western Hemisphere) Iraqi soldiers-- backed by U.S. tanks, helicopters, and British jets-- wrapped up 24 hours of fierce fighting outside the city of Najaf that left 200 Shia cult members dead, wiping out the terrorist enclave that was planning mischief for the holiest day on the Shia calendar.

Five Iraqi soldiers were killed in the battle, as were two U.S. servicemen whose helicopter crashed.

And today, in Washington, President Bush said that "we will respond firmly" if Tehran continues its military meddling in Iraq and endangers American forces or Iraqi citizens.

In the commentary section of the January 14 post "Republicus Returns" (in a discussion with guests Phelonius and Kelly), Republicus wrote:

I agree with both you. However, I think this "surge" will also entail taking the gloves off. Expect a steep spike in bilateral violence--and shrieking, anti-war hysteria--when our soldiers start behaving like soldiers and not Peace Corps volunteers.

And it's about time.

The more aggressive approach, it is clear, has been greenlighted and set in motion even ahead of the planned reenforcements.

The president telegraphed as much on January 10 (a not-too-subtle-hint as received by Republicus) in his Address to the Nation (bold added):

Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror - and our safety here at home.

The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror.


Only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people. And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it.

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons:

There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have.

Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes.

They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work...and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.


I have made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people - and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The Prime Minister understands this.

There you have it. And the Prime Minister--a Shiite- just yesterday saw to the liquidation of a belligerent Shia sect, surely a sign that he has heard the President and the increasingly impatient American people loud and clear?

Some skepticism is called for:

One of the factors that have contributed to the difficulties in the post-bellum reconstruction phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom may have to do with the conundrum of democracy, that is, does the majority "Will of the People" de facto vote for the Right Candidate and/or Good Party (in this case, "Right" and "Good" as far as the goal of electing a constitutional government determined to attain a multi-factional yet united and functional Iraq is concerned) every time and in every place and at every occassion?

As demonstrated in the Palestinian territory-- and here with the election of Democrats, heh-- no.

The United States of America is the best model--ever-- for what a functioning and thriving democracy should look like (with room for improvement, to be sure), but the Founding Fathers themselves--no less an anti-Federalist like the Constitution's author himself, Madison--understood the unread and unruly mob mentality and foreboded the political empowerment and ascensions of demagogic mob manipulators (as well as having discerned the problem of the provincial interests of more populous states domineering--or at least overlooking-- the interests of lesser ones), and so established a constitutional republic (as a prudent alternative to pure democracy by plebiscite), a system that would temper and moderate the unbridled passions of hoi polloi (and a system vilified and vociferously condemned by the unbridled mob of Bush-haters when Bush lost the popular but won the electoral in the election of 2000--a condition allowed by the Constitution), the point here being:

Did a majority within the majority population of Iraq (who are Shia) vote with national harmony and constitutional integrity in mind--i.e. multi-factional Law & Order--or narrowly, with, for example, incompatibility with--if not ill-intent for-- Kurdish and Sunni interests?

If the latter is reflected in the character of the elected candidate, is Prime Minister Maliki truly destined to be Iraq's own George Washington (if not Abraham Lincoln)...

...or will he become a succesful Aaron Burr (who connived to establish a rival republic in the American southwest) or Jefferson Davis (who presided over a seceded South)?

With his apparent determination to now confront the destabilizing elements of Iraqi unity, it seems he's gotten the message and is not discriminating between radical Sunni and Shia elements...

...or was the Shiite Jund al-Samaa sect conveniently expendable as but a show of indiscrimination?

The liquidation of the sect--described as an "apocalyptic cult" with its own messianic leader--does not address the greater need to confront--and coerce to co-exist and cooperate or be subdued--the far larger Shia problem of militias that are radicalized, have infiltrated the military and police forces, and are populous enough to have formed voting blocs that the prime minister feels beholden to.

[We see before us yet another conundrum of democracy: Along with the risk of a gullible population being manipulated into an emotional mob by a demagogue and so empowering a scoundrel, we have the possibility that some cultures are simply unfit for democracy due to the character of the populations themselves and so are forever doomed to theocracies and/or dictatorships. That seems to be a premise of the non-intervensionist camp of the anti-war movement, intellectually spear-headed by paleo-conservative realists like Pat Buchanan, as opposed to the President's humanitarian--if not naive--premise that "All people have a desire to be free and to live in peace with their neighbors"--or something very much to that effect].

Maliki's credibility--and independence from radical (and murderous) Shia elements--would best be demonstrated on whether he goes after the capo cleric Al Sadr and disarms his militia, the Mahdi Army.

It has been reported (reported, mind you) that--just as they did in Fallujah-- the Mahdi soldiers have scattered ahead of the surge (to live and undoubtedly fight another day)...

...and that the Maliki government (which owes much--if not all-- of its election to Al Sadr) assisted their escape.

Not only that, but it has also been reported that the Mahdi Army's arms have been stashed to avoid confiscation... allowed by Maliki.

Republicus is as willing as the President to give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt, but Al Sadr is one bad actor, and Maliki is suffering by association.


Blogger Kelly said...

The point is you can't mean business if you are "peace keeping".

9:55 PM  
Blogger John said...

The point is that you can't conduct business--or keep the peace--if you are not on the same page as your partner.

Poor Maliki has his work cut out for him.

He must demonstrate to his people--not to mention his base, i.e. Al Sadr and the Mahdi army!--that he is not Bush's puppet.

Simultaneously, he must prove to Bush that he is not Al Sadr's puppet.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I certainly wouldn't want his job.

I certainly agree there...but at the same time, Maliki is trying to serve two masters. And he will continue in that effort until things get uncomfortable in that endeavor.

He has to prove that he IS the man for the job in his own right. That may mean making some unpopular decisions that may prove right in the long run.

Bush does have an interest in seeing this guy succeed...but he also can see that it may take some pressure to see it through.

6:33 AM  
Blogger John said...

Maliki strikes me as a good guy.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

He has the potential to do a LOT of good, too.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

oh...and when I first came to this entry I saw the picture of Bush and thought,,,oh no..not another 6 months..


12:27 PM  
Blogger John said...

Well, remember that I wrote this in the "Republicus Returns" post:

"And so, assuming (though by no means guaranteeing at this somewhat transitional juncture in the life of Republicus) increasing regularity of production..."

I'll do what I can.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Hey, you do a lot more on your blog than I do on least now that you are back. I am not complaining one iota.

Did ya see this ";)" ?

You can't do any more than you can.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Hey, John, you know I was kidding...

11:53 PM  
Blogger Phelonius said...

John, this article is not relevant to this posting, but is interesting. You may have already seen it, if so please forgive:

9:50 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

JB, I went to that link. Very good.

I think the reason for making us humans take the blame for global warming is an attempt to get us to change some of our dependencies on such things as oil...

Actually that is a lie, as well. They want to control the amount we use so they can control how mobile we are....just a thought.

9:33 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

this one is somewhat impertinent also, but here is anyway.

"no more mr. nice guy (?)"

no more any guy for over a month now! you didn't get picked up for jumping your bail again, didja?


8:07 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Well, I am putting my energies into real those at Curtains. :)

8:12 AM  
Blogger nanc said...

actually, the best discussions of the week have been going on at madzionist, a religious jew - between christians, religious jews, bacon eating athiest jews and plain old athiests!

it's wild i tell ya!

10:04 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I have visited MZ's site a time or two...guess I will have to check it out again.

10:52 AM  
Blogger John said...

I'm sorry, guys...I'm afraid my production is bound to be erratic for the near future.

Feel free to meet here and hang out. :)

9:57 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Hey, John,

You are welcome to join the discussions on our blogs...doesn't take as much effort as coming up with new entries or fighting dhimmish liberals.

And I know I will stop by now and then to say hi.

4:15 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

well, as long as you're doing something to protect our nation...

5:33 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Just hoping you are ok...

11:07 AM  
Blogger nanc said...

i sure hope he's not back in prison on a parole violation*:]

8:05 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Nanc, I really think he should let us have the key to this place. Then we could at least post something new.

What about it, John??? Just add Nanc and I as members of your team and we could do more than just sit around here and keep the furniture warm.

6:27 PM  
Blogger John said...


9:45 PM  
Blogger Phelonius said...

Hey John.....hope all is well with you and yours. I think Kelly and Nanc would be great hostesses during the time that you are conducting secret negotiations with the N. Koreans, building a nuclear submarine or whatever it is that draws your time away from the site. They are both good writers and you would not have to worry overmuch about content, as they are both quite prolific.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I think John's biggest concern would be how well we represent his views.

Disclaimer: Republicus is not responsible for the opinions expressed by the guest hosts of this blog.;)

11:25 AM  
Blogger nanc said...

why thank you phelonius!

nowwwwwww, where could i put some curtains.......

i sure hope john recovers's nasty business, that skydiving without a parachute!

7:43 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

It's not the fall that kills ya... it's that first bounce...

oh..and phelonius, like Nanc said, Thanks!

So, John...this place really needs some upkeep. Cobwebs are forming again and it's getting mighty dusty. *cough, cough*

Yes, Nanc, some curtains would be a nice addition.

Of course, John might think we were trying to add a feminine touch to his blog.

John, we promise not to spray perfume or paint any rooms pink...or add flower curtains. BLEH!!

11:36 AM  
Blogger Phelonius said...

Hell, John. Just go over to and you can reprint that article on your site. I would love to take all comers on that one, and you would not have to worry about me having a different viewpoint on that issue.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Phelonius, what a great idea. We do the writing then John could post it and we could keep the place hoppin.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Phelonius said...

C'mon John. You KNOW you want to do it. Let us in here and write some stuff that will keep this thing going. Yes, I am a Libertarian, but we have more in common than a lot of detractors, AND you have the option of the disclaimer. Let's bring on the fight, let us DO IT.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

John, I think it would at least take some of the pressure to keep up on the site. Then, when you have time to devote to the blog it will still be here and the visitors will still keep coming. We really want to help you with this.

As Phelonius said, "LET US DO IT!"

8:28 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

okay - you two do the lighthearted and i do all the serious stuff, 'kay?

6:29 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Phelonius is quite capable of bringing on the serious heavy stuff as well. Give me a chance and I can get quite SERIOUS!!....Give me the right cause...

So, um, John.......

11:49 AM  
Blogger John said...

You guys are great. I...shoot, here comes the warden! I gotta go... :O

1:19 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

John, Well, at least you still have your sense of humor...

But we are serious.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

which way did he go?

the warden

9:03 PM  
Blogger Kelly said... think he
...that, um, uh....

I dunno.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

John, glad to know you are still among the living...

Now, about that chimaera.......

1:14 PM  

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