Monday, November 27, 2006

Another strategy based on unsubstantiated demonization ?

Let's listen to James Fearon, Theodore and Francis Geballe Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, PhD, University of California, Berkley.

He was Edward Wong's lead witness in the "Iraq in civil war" piece on Sunday.

On September 15, a couple of months ago, Fearon gave expert evidence on Iraq at the House Committee on International Relations. His recommendation: "Gradual redeployment" of US troops, rather than rapid withdrawal (or "staying the course" or "ramping up").

His evidence against rapid withdrawal was pretty straightforward, and it consists really of two essential points:

(1) "I am not a specialist on the politics of the Middle East..." (page 1)

(2) A rapid withdrawal would be less desirable than a "gradual redeployment" for the following reason: "[Rapid reduction in US troop levels] may spur Moqtada al-Sadr to order his Mahdi army to undertake systematic campaigns of murder and, in effect, ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods in Baghdad and other cities where they are strong. Obviously a murky subject, some recent reports suggest that such plans exist." And later in his report: "In addition to being logistically problematic, rapid US troop-withdrawal from Iraq would yield rapid escalation of militia violence and empowerment of the extremely brutal Sadrist faction on the Shiite side. Redeployment and repositioning of US troops therefore needs to be gradual..." (pages 6 and 12)

This is very unusual. A person with no particular expertise on Iraq is able to say with assurance that a rapid US withdrawal would be wrong primarily because of the alleged brutality and aggressiveness of Moqtada al-Sadr.

He cites "some recent reports" about Sadr's plans to lead a mass murder campaign. I think we can be confident he will post a comment here or somewhere else explaining where these "recent reports" came from. He is a scholar after all.

And we are talking about something that should sound familiar.

The decision to attack Iraq was supported by the "intelligence community" with its concoctions about Saddam's WMD and so on, much of it touted by the New York Times. What is going on now is development of the case for staying in Iraq ("gradual redeployment"), and sure enough, this too is appears to be based on the same type of murky "reports", this time targeting the Shiites. This time coming from the mouth of the political science community. Which is absolutely not the same thing as the intelligence community. It's completely different, right? That's why we can be confident Professor Fearon will clear this up for us.

Yesterday we saw Professor Fearon elevated by the New York Times to the status of expert on Iraq, but they didn't get around to his attack on Al-Sadr, perhaps for tactical reasons. Because (forgive me for saying it this way) when you consider what Wong did to that other leading resistance figure Harith al-Dhari, clearly it is the sleaze and the slime that is the giveaway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

fyi, i just ask one of the oh so very obvious first responder neocon bloggers (lincoln?) why all the fuss about the civil war label. here is the response i got... from the horses mouth

It is important to define geopolitically if a civil war is occurring in Iraq or not because if it is technically considered a civil war, the Democrats in the USA will have leverage to push for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq because it would mean the fight is lost. They would cut funding if the president continued to try to stay in Iraq. To Sadr's militias and Al Quaida and its cronies, this is desired so that they can remove the major obstacle to their greatest chance at taking over Iraq. To the majority of Iraqis, this will be disaster no matter what their sentiment about foreign occupation is. Iraq would surpass even the first Lebanese Civil War in the carnage that would follow. If this is the endgame you seek, then you would indeed press to call what is happening in Iraq a civil war. If you want to avoid this endgame, you also want to avoid the civil war label politically to the outside.

12:58 AM  
Blogger badger said...

fascinating. I guess what the Political Science community is trying to concoct is a position that says: Yes, it is civil war, but here's why civil war means you have to stick around...

6:42 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Or, the sooner you allow a civil war to be completed, the sooner you have a stand-up Iraqi military and a thuggish dictator Neo-Saddam, and the Coalition can leave!

9:40 PM  

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