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Simon Newman

"the consequences of a victory for Al Qaeda"

Um, the population of Basra is Shi'ite. Al Qaeda are Wahabbist Sunnis.

Douglas Cootey

Tiny bubbles, indeed. This article serves as a reminder why the MSM is losing relevance. They desperately grapple with each other for the golden demographic of stupid adults between 18-35 with no brand loyalty while most individuals that like in depth news turn to the web and the blogosphere for their needs.

Doug Johnson

Thank you for observing and reporting on this. The fact that our MSM can't seem to figure out what is important, is one of the most vexing problems of our time. Unfortunately, I don't see a solution. The problems facing the world today are complex, and we'd better smarten up if we're interested in solving them.

joe loconte

On al Qaeda and Iraq: It's certainly true that al Qaeda is a Sunni-dominated movement. But what I actually wrote was this: "no serious person could ignore the consequences of a victory for Al Qaeda and the forces of Islamic extremism" in Iraq. Those forces (Shia and Sunni) appear to exist in strength in Basra as well as in Baghdad. Most al Qaeda experts, I believe, will argue that what Osama bin Laden wants in Iraq is chaos--and a clear defeat for the US-led forces. He'll play both sides of the fence to get it. Then al Qaeda in Iraq will try to fill the power vacuum.

I agree that there isn't much we can do to awaken the MSM about all of this--except perhaps to try to shame them into acting more responsibly. Nicholas Kristoff of the NYTimes has tried to do this, with limited success, in the attention he's brought to Darfur--and the scandalous lack of attention he's documented by the MSM. We soldier on.


Thankyou for your contributions Joe.

Some further perspective...

Al Qaeda is reeling, they're being decimated. Their numbers of killed and captured far exceed coalition casualties and their leadership, which is largely foreign are having to be replaced seemingly every week by less capable and experienced members. Safe haven is increasingly difficult as the locals are against them, helping coalition forces. The Iraqis are becoming a most effective enemy. Al Qaeda have no further strategy of winning the populace over and can only rely on their now less frequent and capable sensational bombings for media exploitation influencing our populace and politicians.

There is fighting to be done in the central and north and the government in Baghdad has to become more involved, but confidence is building with tasks increasingly becoming more policing and community planning for security and infrastructure as Iraqis gradually take over.

There is a lot to be said about what is happening in the South and Petraeus' planning and mobilizing. Efforts have already been under way with shifting strategy as its been understood for quite some time the Brits would be leaving.

Here is an article from Bob Krumm responding to Timothy Phelps of liberal Newsday (another writer bent on painting a grossly negative and false reality.)

"Michael Yon says that this report from Iraq by Timothy Phelps is bogus. Who to believe? Well, you decide.

"Michael Yon returned to Iraq last month for another journalistic tour. Timothy Phelps wrote his report from Washington.

"Timothy Phelps says that Basra is in near total chaos. Michael Yon says, 'Basra is not in chaos. In fact, crime and violence are way down and there has not been a British combat death in over a month. '

"Timothy Phelps bases his report on 'wire reports.' He appears to have last been to Basra in August of 2005. In fact, a significant amount of Phelps’ reporting about Iraq is datelined 'Washington,' and is 'supplemented with wire reports.' Michael Yon was in Basra as recently as this summer.

"Timothy Phelps buttresses his assessment with the opinions of Senator Chuck Hagel, whose own opinions are based on two instances of 'I was told'. Michael Yon bases his opinions on 'I saw.'”

Actually, Yon has been back in Iraq for most of 07 and I believe in Basra for the past few weeks.

Unfortunately this has become a matter of catching those with an agenda, exposing their unqualified methods, and as you say... hoping to shame them. Or, hoping to shame the shameless.


"we know more about the endless traumas of Britney Spears..." Yeah, her and Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, etc. Who the heck cares? I get so tired of hearing about them. What these girls do have nothing to do with our lives. It's no wonder people know more about celebrities than they know about the people running their country. It's sickening. But unfortunately, I believe the MSM wants it that way to keep us stupid, in the dark and under their control, believing their spin on everything. What annoys me is that because the MSM keeps us in the dark about important things, people tend to assume that we Americans don't care and want it that way.


It's the free market.

CNN, MSNBC and Fox are profit making ventures. They will do anything to boost their ratings. Britney Spears and Paris Hilton will always be hot news topics.


Conserning Iraq and much political reporting it goes well beyond free market motivations. But most folks already know that LOL. Journalists are some of the most ideological and opinionated walking the planet. But, people can believe what they want - maybe even that the BBC lies when they say they're biased to the left :-D


We know plenty about Iraq. What is clear is that the WhiteHouse hasn't a clue as to how to proceed there. It has been one disaster after another. We created a civil war there while we shamelessly went there for oil.

What I would like Joe to answer is whether there is anyone from the Ethics and Public Policy Center who is not a former Bush administration employee or a staunch republican supporter of the war?


Does it matter? A democrat will sit in the White House in 2009.

The democrats are committed to pulling out of Iraq.

Simon Newman

"The democrats are committed to pulling out of Iraq."

To my knowledge the only two Presidential candidates who have shown unequivocal commitment to withdrawal are Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. Clinton looks likely to do a Nixon, pursue 'peace with honour' and, through fear of being thought 'weak on defense', get thousands more Americans killed.

Simon Newman

"We created a civil war there while we shamelessly went there for oil. "

The USA may have invaded Iraq partly for the benefit of the oil corporations, but certainly not for cheap oil, which was already available - Saddam wasn't drinking the stuff. But the main motive force for war was not the oil men, it was the regional democratic transformation project of the neoconservatives.


Guess you are right there Simon. But what kind of advanced civilization do we have that we should start a preemptive war to spread democracy?


"The USA may have invaded Iraq partly for the benefit of the oil corporations, but certainly not for cheap oil, which was already available - Saddam wasn't drinking the stuff."

Simon, you should understand the factual evidence, ongoing to this day before implying the possibility of such dishonorable intent. You have no moral right when it has already been proven every penny from every drop of that oil has and is going to the Iraqis. No Americans are taking their crude.

Bill, before you ask questions you shouldn't make false judgments accusing the worst, it doesn't make your motivations look good.

We didn't go in there for oil, the old "oil for blood" mantra is a lie proven completely unfounded. This is Iraq's oil, and they're pumping it as their own resource and only for their profit.

With your other claims about what is supposedly happening in the country as far as there being a civil war and there is no clue in how to proceed, it is you who have no clue. You are very much in the dark. My initial post has stated the general dynamic and forces at play taking place. I go to the proper sources on the ground for a very long time. Even less hard leftist anti-Americans are trying with the ignorance you've displayed.

Have a read and learn something, even from Brit mainstream media. This is from Anbar, the Sunni Triangle.


Concerning our efforts in Iraq people who wanna continue to infer, imply, angling through constant 'questions' or just plain state a negative impression contrary to ongoing factual evidence account after account, have no excuse at this point. You're not only irresponsible but your own motivations have to be called into question - denying the realities taking place - in favor of blatant untruths.

I am convinced some here want to paint a reality that is false.


"Even less hard leftist anti-Americans are trying with the ignorance you've displayed."

I meant that as less in numbers.

Adam in London

This is utterly mad. We're discussing southern Iraq and the possibilities of 'defeat' or 'victory' for the Brits and Americans, and no-one has mentioned Iran - not even once.

No-one has talked about the formation of Shiastan (firmly under Iranian influence - they after all have bankrolled and mentored the Shia parties for 20 years).

No-one has talked about the destabilisation of the Gulf states where there are significant Shia populations - Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, even Saudi herself.

Whilst we continue to believe that the only problem for the West in Iraq is al-Qaeda and equivalent minority terrorist groups, and refuse to look at the bigger political picture, we doom ourselves to failure and handing the region over to Tehran on a plate (if we haven't done so already).

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