Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 20, 2007

OT 07-43

Go listen to Digby and come back here to give and take news & views.

Posted by b on June 20, 2007 at 8:43 UTC | Permalink


Carol Lam is at the epicenter of the whole U.S. Attorney firing scandal

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 20 2007 11:11 utc | 1

Just watched it. I'm moved and inspired. Its so good to be reminded of all the points she made. Thanks to all the vigorous, smart commenters and posters here for this little niche in the blogosphere.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Jun 20 2007 11:56 utc | 2

I am reminded of when Lisa Simpson started a newspaper in Springfield.

Digby, always a great read and great to see the face behind it. Al Gore, if he had any balls, would run again (unless Mossad had pictures of said balls).

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 20 2007 12:30 utc | 3

how cool is that digby is a woman! and how impressive her words - written and spoken.

Posted by: conchita | Jun 20 2007 13:02 utc | 4

now that I know what she looks like, who is digby?

Posted by: donna | Jun 20 2007 13:11 utc | 5

this whole notion of "taking back america" would be a bit more inspiring if it were ever true that at one point it was ours. i suppose it depends on what flavor of power one most strongly identifies with, for the slogan seems to me to imly a liberal, progressive democratic struggle to regain power from the conservative, reactionary republicans & maybe enacting some reforms to get back on a track that more closely aligns to the national mythos.

"take over america" would probably create some problems, but it's the only way to go, provided the nation survives intact (which is something that really need to be rethought anyway -- size matters).

Posted by: b real | Jun 20 2007 15:03 utc | 6

donna @ 5, digby is a self-described political pundit who founded the Hullabaloo weblog.
She is one of the most insightful political writers in the United States. Of course, she is "just a blogger" and therefore receives no attention outside the blogsphere, but she is better than almost every pundit published in the NYT, WaPo, TNR, and NR. if you didn't listen to her speech, i recommend taking a few moments - it should answer your question better than i.

Posted by: conchita | Jun 20 2007 15:10 utc | 7

From Ali A. Allawi, The Occupation of Iraq. more on interreligious conflict predating occupation:

For the first time in modern history, the fall of the regime confronted Iraqis with the question of where their true loyalties and identities lay. The public airing of community differences and grievances had previously been taboo. Any mention of them, or any suggestion that the state was institutionally biased against certain communities, was drowned in a sea of vituperative condemnation, and was equated with treasonous talk that aimed at undermining national unity.' Even a casual acknowledgement of sectarian and ethnic grievances would open the country to the dreaded threat of fitna (sedition). This would inevitably lead to partition. The airing of sectarian issues was tantamount to condoning the division of the country into mini-states, thereby ensuring the continued dominance of foreign powers, especially Israel. The charge of ta'ift (sectarian) was difficult to live down, and was frequently used to smother the possibility of any debate about the sectarian issue in Iraq. The political discourse in Iraq was therefore channelled in any number of directions - into Arab nationalism, socialism, modernism - but never into an examination of the sectarian basis of power .z The denial of sectarianism was so potent and deep-rooted that it pushed discussion of this problem to the outer limits of acceptable dialogue. In time, this denial created its own reality, and became an article of faith.'


The rejection of the terms of the new politics - especially the apparent ascendancy of sectarian consciousness amongst the Shi'a - was a common denominator in the thinking of all Sunni Arabs, irrespective of their attitude to the war and occupation per se. Many had undoubtedly shunned the Ba'athists, feeling that they had betrayed the hopes of true Arab nationalism and the non-sectarian promise of Iraq. In spite of their position on the decades of Ba'athist rule, all were united in their refusal to accept that the ground rules of Iraqi politics were about to be recast along sectarian identity. The fear of marginalisation and impotence in the face of both a rising Shi'a militancy and a powerful occupying force kept most Sunni Arabs in a state of active or passive hostility to the new order. There was a general sense that an unnatural, alien, force had overthrown an entire system of power and authority. It had no connection to Iraq's history or experience and could not therefore be considered a legitimate arbiter of the country's destiny. There was also the underlying unease that was felt about the loss of privileges and advantages with which the previous regime had disproportionately favoured the Sunni Arabs. They had no wherewithal with which to address these issues; their reading of Iraq's history and identity flew in the face of the unfolding drama. They had never before been called upon to consider themselves as Sunni Arabs. To them, Iraq had always been an Arab country; sectarian differences were a throwback to the dark ages; Iraq was a unitary and centralised state; and a powerful army was necessary to fend off foreign invaders, especially if they were Persians.

This was the story of Iraq of which they felt themselves to be the custodians. Its outlines were set out in the 1920s, with the educational policies of the Arab nationalist pedagogue, and transplanted Syrian, Sati' al-Husri." His successors had reiterated essentially the same message over the following eighty years. The Ba'ath Party had embellished this story, putting itself at its centre. There was no other version. Any alternatives would only have led to mayhem, bloodshed, chaos and, finally, the dissolution of the country. This was the legacy carried by those Sunni Arabs who would not adjust to the new conditions in Iraq. They were determined to defend their idea of Iraq, violently if necessary. The prospect of Kurdish autonomy, however, and even full-fledged independence, did not seem to exercise the Sunni Arabs to the same extent as the rise of the Shi'a: they seemed to have resigned themselves to accept the inevitability of some form of regional autonomy for the Kurds.


The cracks inside Iraqi society began to appear shortly after the fall of Baghdad. Iraq had never had a grand national compact, such as an overarching constitution to which all subscribed, or even an `ugderstanding' between its component groups. The `idea' of Iraq took root unevenly throughout the country. The narrative of Iraq fashioned by its leaders and pedagogues was compromised for many of its citizens who did not share in, or resonate to, its founding symbols. Nevertheless, some form of accommodation between the state and most of its citizens had been reached by the 1950s. Essentially, it was based on the recognition by the Shi'a elite that they might have some share of central power, within limits that would satisfy the more ambitious of their leaders. But they should not aspire to control or run the state, even though their numbers might warrant this. At the same time, the state, dominated by the Sunni Arabs, would recognise and acknowledge the props of Shi'a identity, and would not move to alter or shrink them in any significant way. Essentially, the Sunni Arabs controlled the state, while the Shi'a were allowed to keep their civil, mercantile and religious traditions. It was a precarious balance, but it held the potential for improvement and progress towards a common sense of citizenship, duties and entitlements. Successive governments in the 1960s and 1970s, however, foolishly destroyed this. The state [146] removed the elements that kept a vigorous Shi'a identity alive in parallel to a Sunni-dominated state. Nationalisations, emigration and expulsions destroyed the Shi'a mercantilist class; the state monopoly on education, publishing and the media removed the cultural underpinnings of Shi'a life; and the attack on Najaf and the religious hierarchy came close to completely eliminating the hawzas of Iraq. When the state embarked on its mass killings after the 1991 uprisings, Iraq became hopelessly compromised in the minds of most of the Shi'a. If the former Iraqi state defined Iraq, then few people in the Shi'a community - and fewer still amongst the Kurds - would have anything to do with it.
The last overlords of the old Iraqi state, Saddam and his Ba'ath Party, had given Iraq little apart from misgovernment, defeats and disasters, culminating in the occupation of the country by foreigners. The opportunity to build a fair and just state now presented itself. But it was a race against time as to whether something new could be fashioned out of the wreckage of the old state.

this also raises the hoary issue of deba'athification. allawi opposed radical dismantling of the ba'ath system. in any case, whatter a miserable task.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 20 2007 15:47 utc | 8

in case anyone doesn't know what wolfowitz's replacement looks like, here's a glimpse . (do they select these guys alphabetically? that might explain something.)

Posted by: b real | Jun 20 2007 18:27 utc | 9

Digby and Billmon used to run neck and neck IMHO when the Whiskey Bar was open. I still miss Billmon.

Posted by: PMZd | Jun 20 2007 19:58 utc | 10

our neighbors to the south have much to teach us (by example)

coha: Hemispheric Echoes: The Reverberations of Latin American Populism

In the immediate post-Cold War world, Latin America did not ignite much diplomatic interest. Though the growth of democratic processes in formerly authoritarian countries was brusquely hailed, the region was seen as a grateful laboratory for the Washington Consensus, and not as a sphere of potential controversy. The revival of populism in Latin America has changed this framework. The region is now genuinely out of the doldrums and is the source of genuine headlines in the world press.

Most of the changes are due to the stirrings promoted by well-intentioned populist figures hoping to promulgate major organic reforms. Outside observers once saw Latin American populism as hyperbolic rhetoric that might win elections and ignite occasional political ruckuses, but not as a particularly serious governing creed. Recently, however, populism has come to the fore in a new way, fueled by a desire to bring the organs of government into a genuinely closer dialogue with a disempowered and alienated citizenry. The neo-liberal prescriptions handed down from Washington in the past two decades—insisting on balanced budgets and fiscal austerity in carrying out public works or income-redistribution programs—have stoked some resentment. Latin Americans are now more vociferously seeking redress for the economic distortions and the resulting inequalities long present in their societies.

The recent upsurge of populism in the region comes as a direct riposte to Washington Consensus dogma. The populist regimes now in power in Latin America—Nicaragua, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, and Brazil—are diverse and have varying bases of support. The rural campesinos and urban laborers who account for the core of Evo Morales’s support in Bolivia differ demographically from the base behind the successful campaign of Rafael Correa in Ecuador. But all of these leaders are motivated by a desire for government to be results-oriented and as close as possible in policy and spirit to the aspirations of the governed.

Though the fabled Hugo Chávez of Venezuela may sometimes comport himself in an overly emotive style reminiscent of the brimstone balcony declarations of old-style caudillos, today’s Latin American populist standard-bearers are democratically elected. They have managed to keep their eyes peeled on the social imperatives which carried them to power because they know that if they fail at improving their citizens’ living standards, they must be prepared to figuratively—sometimes even literally—end up biting the dust. In Bolivia and Ecuador, so-called populists ran on platforms dedicated to serving the goals of the poor and indigenous populations. Once in office, these leaders revoked their commitments by pleading that the requirements of the marketplace had forced them to invalidate their earlier pledges to adhere to their platforms. The electorates proceeded to unceremoniously dispose of them by means of economic blockades and work stoppages. This was true for Lucio Gutierrez in Ecuador who paid with his presidency when he broke his word with the nation’s native people.

Posted by: b real | Jun 21 2007 5:00 utc | 11

Hmm .. U.S. Refuses to Free 5 Captured Iranians Until at Least October

The United States will not release five Iranians detained in a U.S. military raid in northern Iraq until at least October, despite entreaties from the Iraqi government and pressure from Iran, U.S. officials said. The delay is as much due to a communication and procedural foul-up within the U.S. government as a policy decision, they added.

During his Washington visit this week, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari appealed to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to free the Iranians, who were arrested in Irbil in January, U.S. and Arab officials said.
The fate of the five men has reached the highest levels of the White House, with Bush's top foreign policy advisers meeting to discuss the issue in the spring. They agreed to hold the men as they do other foreign fighters captured in Iraq, with their status reviewed every six months.

They were originally due for review six months after their detention -- or by mid-July. Instead, the Multinational Force headquarters reviewed their status in April, meaning they are not eligible for another review until October, U.S. officials said. Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker were unaware that a review had occurred until last week, the officials noted.

I'll bet $100 that Cheney has his hands in this. Again running over Rice (Crooker) and Gates (Petraeus).

Posted by: b | Jun 21 2007 9:07 utc | 12

Military reviews placing special ops on U.S. soil

The U.S. military command in charge of protecting the homeland asked the Pentagon earlier this year for a contingent of special operations officers to help with domestic anti-terrorism missions.
A spokeswoman for NorthCom this week issued a statement to The Examiner saying, "This capability resides in every other geographical combatant command and would allow the commander of U.S. Northern Command to deploy these unique capabilities for homeland defense and civil support operations."
Keating's request to the Pentagon raised some eyebrows because of the sensitivity of deploying commandos domestically. Under U.S. Special Operations Command, covert warriors are playing a key role in fighting terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas.
The idea of giving NorthCom a commando unit shows how the military increasingly looks at the U.S. homeland as a target for more terrorist attacks and how it may need elite counter-terrorism forces to deal with the threat.

Posted by: b | Jun 21 2007 15:22 utc | 13

via War and Piece

"The Oversight Committee has learned that over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President Cheney exempted his office from the presidential order that establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. The Vice President asserts that his office is not an "entity within the executive branch."
No executive office = no executive priviledge.

Haul'em before the Committees

Posted by: b | Jun 21 2007 16:42 utc | 14

r'giap @15

Good music, lovely poetry, perhaps some wine for the next few weeks. The atrocities of each day are nearly too much for even those with a healthy heart. Take a break from the horrors so that we can profit from your comments for a long time to come.

(I tried to say that without saying "you shouldn't")

Posted by: ww | Jun 21 2007 18:32 utc | 16

from r'giap's link The move also heralds a major shift for the wider community, with federal cabinet to consider making all family payments conditional on child welfare and school attendance..... seize control of Aboriginal land and homes for five years, and dispatch interstate police, indigenous troops and managers into the stop sexual abuse of indigenous children.

what flagrant use of misappropriation in terms. just call it what it is for christs sake.


Only in the true fringe -- what Digby calls "the modern conservative movement of Newt and Grover and Karl and Rush," as well as their establishment media enablers -- does opposition to the Iraq War, or Guantanamo and torture, or the abolition of habeas corpus, or the grotesque deceit of the Limbaugh Right make one a "leftist" or fringe liberal, as those terms are used in their pejorative sense. The reality is that the views Digby identifies as the crux of the "progressive blogosphere" are entirely mainstream American views. "Extremism" is marked by those who reject those beliefs, not by those who embrace them.

Posted by: annie | Jun 21 2007 18:53 utc | 17

whatever control or sovereignty & it is very very small indeed

it is the fucking state that has cultivated a fucking neglect so fucking shameless that it has been mentioned every year in the reports of the u n for 25 years, they cultivate knowingly drinking by allowing commercants to establish lines of credit with communities

for fucks sake there was only aborignal doctors in the last decade

they fight every land battle tooth & nail, they comprimise the leadership like they do with american indians

their education is a fucking joke - a brutal stinking fucking joke

how an australian does not hold his or her head in shame is beyond me

self determination & independance are the only ways a people can survive & australian have sold their ass to the americans for so long they know no longer what it is to lose face

every problem & i mean every problem of the aboriginal has been created by white power because there has never really been permitted human agency because they conside them subnormal

witness the absence of these wonderful people in the cities

i am proud that whn i go i can say i worked arm in arm with that greatest of aborignal minds - robert mate mate

& ô i'd love either uncle $cam or cloned poster to give a riff on the aboriginal scientist david unaipon amongst whose many inventions were the helicoper that was appropriated by a certain mr sikorsky

o fuck them for all they do these tyrants who are in love with this wonderul world & just want it to be led by ryan seacrest - fuck them

Posted by: r'giap | Jun 21 2007 19:08 utc | 18

This ties together Digby's remarks w/the Iran thread. I can barely write, so I'll make this brief. The seizure of power by the Predators is almost complete. Are Americans aware that the so-called Dems, or xDems, or JackAss Party - yr. choice, just don't call them the "Democratic Party", pleasse - are in the process of outlawing the possibility of non-rigged elections? Seriously. There's the Rush Holt bill in the House, supported by PFAW & Move-On & Feinstein's Bill in the Senate. Trot over to & bradblog for the details. Feinstein's bill not suprisingly has as co-sponsors Uber-Predator Ass-lickers Clinton & Obamination. But surprisingly Bernie Sanders as well. For starters it will federalize control of elections in a 4 member commission.

The Holt bill yammers on about guaranteeing "paper trails", while criminalizing the release of information/code that shows how trivially riggable these systems are. I trust that Everyone around here is savvy enough after all this time to understand that paper trails are inherently so much garbage for 2 reasons:
1) There is no necessary relationship whatsoever between any information that is stored internally in the computer & transmitted to their electronic tabulator & anything that is written on the receipt the voter gets,ie. "paper trail".
2) "Paper trails" will only be examined in event of a recount & even then rarely more than 2%. They're making recounts difficult, expensive & riggable as well.

In short, "paper trails"/receipts are antithetical to what we Must Have to stand any chance of free & fair elections - hand countable PAPER BALLOTS. If you're stupid, you can pour money down the sewer of buying computers to print paper ballots; but given that the Predators have been Deliberately Bankrupting states & munipalities since they took over in the 70's this is merely another indication of how successful they've been in commandeering the public coffers to Piratize the Commons. ELECTIONS MUST REMAIN IN THE COMMONS.

That's the Holt Bill. Feinstein, however, is a member of CFR & she addresses the Elite Concerns. How can they eliminate the existence of the United States, merging it into a Third World Nation w/Mexico, Canada & they hope all of South America, if every jurisdiction has separate voting procedures. Not to mention that the Natives are getting restless as the Elites are about to cement the destruction of our country. What if the Natives finally united thanks to the internet & their impending doom & actually nominated a Presidential Candidate or Senators who opposed destruction of America. Can't have that. Keeping the Elite in power was very simple in Mexico & France as demonstrated in recent thoroughly rigged elections - just centralize everything & have machines you can trivially rig...That's the Feinstein bill.

As citizen demands for computer transparency or elimination reached the stage of lawsuits demanding MicroTrash(Microsoft) reveal their code to show it wasn't riggable, I'd bet they spread plenty of cash around to citizen groups like Move-On & PFAW. So, now you can eliminate the notion that they're not to the far-right of mainstream. We knew that MoveOn, as a Soros group, functioned to distract the masses from taking on the Predators & thus was always a radical right wing group, but it's devastating to see PFAW bought up as well. Hope people contact them :(

Posted by: jj | Jun 21 2007 21:01 utc | 19

Giap nice to see fire and brimstone emanating from the soul of Moon of Alabama, and Billmon's bequest to the blogosphere. I know many aussies, was best man to a guy I did my KPMG training with, and facilitated Oz investment projects in my time in East Africa. What made my eyes open was my comparison with the Boers from J'burg and the Aussies doing business in Africa was their utter disdain for the Kaffa/Abo, underlings indeed and it did change my perception of the beer swilling Guday Aussies that were making a buck in East Africa. The Colonial Australians are no fucking different from the Americans that stomp the ground the Iraq and Afghanistan. There is one small difference however, casualties, they are fucking cowards compared to the Canadians who are being wasted over there in Afghanistan. Iraq deployment is a joke.

I'm sure you know of this blog but I will post it The Road to Surfdom

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 21 2007 21:53 utc | 20

Nat's Security Achive: Pile of CIA Family Jewels released

National Security Archive Update, June 21, 2007


Agency Violated Charter for 25 Years,
Wiretapped Journalists and Dissidents

CIA Announces Declassification of 1970s "Skeletons" File,
Archive Posts Justice Department Summary from 1975,
With White House Memcons on Damage Control

Washington DC, June 21, 2007 - The Central Intelligence Agency violated its charter for 25 years until revelations of illegal wiretapping, domestic surveillance, assassination plots, and human experimentation led to official investigations and reforms in the 1970s, according to declassified documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden announced today that the Agency is declassifying the full 693-page file amassed on CIA's illegal activities by order of then-CIA director James Schlesinger in 1973--the so-called "family jewels." Only a few dozen heavily-censored pages of this file have previously been declassified, although multiple Freedom of Information Act requests have been filed over the years for the documents. Gen. Hayden called today's release "a glimpse of a very different time and a very different Agency."

Hayden also announced the declassification of some 11,000 pages of the so-called CAESAR, POLO and ESAU papers--hard-target analyses of Soviet and Chinese leadership internal politics and Sino-Soviet relations from 1953-1973, a collection of intelligence on Warsaw Pact military programs, and hundreds of pages on the A-12 spy plane.

"This is the first voluntary CIA declassification of controversial material since George Tenet in 1998 reneged on the 1990s promises of greater openness at the Agency," commented Thomas Blanton, the Archive's director.

THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 21 2007 22:01 utc | 21

open threadishness follows-

r'giap- glad to see you're feeling least physically. don't let the world beat you down...easy to say, hard to do, I know.

how great to see Digby - and moreso to hear her speech. I tried not to assign a gender to Digby, tho I'd been told that she was a she before, so I thought that way, but at the same time, I couldn't help but see her as a male, in a way, because my fantasies aren't women, but not that I fantasized about Digby THAT way, but youknowwhatimean?

I loved the part when she noted, again, that we didn't "get over it" after the Bush junta stole the 2000 election.

maxcrat- nice to see you again.

Uncle- thank you for posting the Ghosts of Abu Ghraib video. it's heartbreaking. Kennedy helps to put some things into context with the old footage of the guys inflicting pain because someone else takes responsibility. I cannot understand how anyone can continue to support this fascist regime. Cheney's statement.. he's, what? part of Cheney branch of the govt?

I wish someone with the megaphone would set up a gathering in DC to make a mass citizens arrest of that s.o.b. Or, as b said, no executive privilege, so serve him with a subpeona to testify under oath. what a bastard.

I love the work that The National Security Archives does. They have a great book called The Pinochet Files,, and their books with docs from Iran/Contra and The Cuban Missile Crisis. I don't know where I saw this recently...was it here?? anyway, this is a great series that became the book All The Shah's Men.

jj- tho I know there would be certain differences between the parties, I am so disalllusioned with the dems that I don't even know if it's worth voting anymore. I never used to think that, but now I think that as long as the dlc continues to set the agenda, then they don't represent me either.

Only Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich were unwilling to give Bush the go-ahead to unleash his and the talibornagains' self-fulfilling armeggedon.

apropos to nothing, while reading about a judge that prohibited a woman from using the word rape in testimony about a...rape... I saw this blurb at Salon:

What's not in a name? Numerals. That's what New Zealand authorities told a couple hoping to name their baby "4real." The name request hasn't been officially denied -- they're still debating it with the parents. "4real" is certainly less offensive than two official baby name rejects: "Satan" and "Adolf Hitler."

yes, I, too think that 4real is less offensive than satan or adolph hitler.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jun 22 2007 4:26 utc | 22

Fauxreal - agreed. I forgot to mention that Teddy Kennedy is also a co-sponsor. Looks like Fascists figure if they Just Say Absolutely Not, the xDems. won't accomplish anything that isn't part of the Elite Agenda - like eliiminating voting, Natural Medicine, etc. - so were there ever another Rigged Election, they could plausibly fix it for themselves again.

Also, didn't you have an autistic child, or am I thinking of someone else? If so, you might be interested in a new bk. called "The Gluten Connection". New research is showing that in those who cannot tolerate it, it can cause autism, not to mention ADD of varying degrees of severity, and many other nasty things. I heard snipped of interview w/author who said that she noticed that autistic children seemed to almost be drugged, which motivated her to do some testing w/them. Apparently it can react w/certain systems to produce a morphine like substance. Hope this is helpful.

Posted by: jj | Jun 22 2007 4:43 utc | 23

The saker: Shocking Video: Fatah Torturing Hamas "Executive Force" Members

A Must See Video which, in an Orwellian way, is presented by Western Media as Hamas torturing Palestinians. But when you see the people being tortured, they are wearing shirts of Hamas' "Executive Force." So, it is totally the opposite! Black propaganda at its worst. Any one who speaks Arabic can tell that the torturers are Dahlan's thugs. After beating the Hamas people viciously, they force them to chant for Dahlan, "With our lives and blood we will redeem you o Dahlan!" Also at the end they force them to chant,"Hamas is Shiite, Hamas is Shiite!" Which of course is not true, but it is supposed to put Hamas in the Iranian camp; a sleazy sectarian attempt. Is there any doubt that Israel is behind this thug Dahlan?? This is unbelievable duplicity by western media to turn things totally upside down.

Posted by: b | Jun 22 2007 7:25 utc | 24

Probe: W. Bank settlers uproot 300 Palestinian olive trees

A Civil Administration inquiry has found that residents of the West Bank settlement outpost of Adei Ad uprooted 300 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers about a week ago and replanted about half of them in the outpost, according to a source in the Civil Administration.

The source said the settlers planted some of the uprooted trees along the outpost's access road and some inside the community, although the regional council says the orchard had been worked by Jews for years.

"An investigation was carried out, and the Adei Ad residents' claim that the trees belong to them was refuted," the source said. "What they did was illegal."

So they had an investigation and declared it illegal. But don't expect anyone to do anything about it.

Posted by: b | Jun 22 2007 7:44 utc | 25

Welcome back tovarich. Good to see your voice again.

Posted by: beq | Jun 22 2007 11:25 utc | 26

what is Natural Medicine and why would the pirates have such a hate-on for it that they'd want to eliminate it?

homeopathy? oooooooK

Posted by: jcairo | Jun 22 2007 11:56 utc | 27

SiCKO alert!

there are sneak previews of SiCKO happening across the country this weekend. I saw the film last weekend and don't think I can give it a high enough recommmendation - an incredibly important film which this country needs to see. It also needs our support, so if you don't already have plans, do us all and yourself a good turn and see this movie. Interestingly, this is what the film is all about, as Robert Weissman points out in his two part review.

Some snippets from Robert Weissman's Part I review:

When word got out that Michael Moore was working on a movie with the working title SiCKO, about the U.S. healthcare industry, the industry went bananas.

Memos started shooting around, warning insurance and drug company executives and representatives to keep looking over their shoulders, to make sure they avoided being ambushed by Moore and a camera crew. Indeed, they had something to fear, for they have a great deal of needless misery and suffering to answer for.

But it turns out that Moore didn't need them after all.

Instead, he's made a movie driven by heart-breaking story after heart-breaking story. SiCKO presents a devastating indictment of the U.S. healthcare system by letting victimized patients speak for themselves.


Moore's camera captures the pain, chaos and forced indignity imposed upon every day people who do their best to deal with an impossible situation.


The publicity for SiCKO says the movie sticks to Michael Moore's "tried-and-true one-man approach" and "promises to be every bit as indicting as Moore's previous films."

This is actually somewhat misleading. The approach is a little different. There's humor, but there aren't many gimmicks in SiCKO. There's no effort by Moore to confront industry executives. Moore himself has a much smaller role than in previous films.

It is also a bit deceptive -- as an understatement -- to say SiCKO is as indicting as Moore's previous films. No matter how big a fan you may have been of Moore's earlier movies, you'll find that SiCKO cuts deeper and is more powerful and profound. SiCKO is, by far, his best movie.

This is, simply, a masterful work. It is deeply respectful of and compassionate towards the victims. It seethes with outrage, but its fury is conveyed by all of the horrifying stories it presents. The narrative is, by and large, understated. It overflows with raw emotion, but manages to explain clearly the systemic imperatives that lead the
richest nation in the history of the world to fail so miserably at delivering healthcare to all.

Could things be different in the United States?


The second half of SiCKO looks at other countries' healthcare systems, and finds that national, single-payer insurance delivers far better care. More on this in my next column.

Sneak previews for SiCKO are being shown around the United States on June 23. The movie opens nationally on June 29. Be ready to be driven to tears and rage.

Weissman's Part II review concludes with the following:

From the care provided in Havana and in a touching scene at a Havana fire station, an even more profound lesson emerges: the power of a cultural commitment to care for one another. All of us for all of us, with as big an "us" as possible.

SiCKO is not an anti-American film, though much of the right-wing chatter says otherwise.

People in the United States do routinely pitch in for one another on a voluntary basis, Moore emphasizes. The problem is that the U.S. corporate health insurance system, the corporate-dominated economy more generally, and the ideology that undergirds both, seeks to defeat the essential insurance function of sharing risk -- of everyone helping to take care of everyone else.

Moore offers this challenge, or plea: "If there is a better way to treat the sick … simply by being good to each other … why can't we do that?"

People in the other countries visited in the film "live in a world of we, not me," says Moore.

To varying degrees, they have created solidarity societies, and they are happier, and healthier, for it.

Moore questions if people will say to significant others - "Honey, let's go see that healthcare documentary tonight." I hope WE prove him wrong.

These reviews are posted at: Part I;; Part II.

Posted by: conchita | Jun 22 2007 15:12 utc | 28

jcairo, homeopaths are a threat to the drug industry. they are MD's but their focus is to take the whole body/mind into consideration. the drg companies make a fortune off mental drugs. hell, they would outlaw meditation if they thought they could get away w/it. herbs already cost an arm and a leg in europe. i remember when this cancer remedy came out of canada w/st john's wort, it became illegal to prescribe it. very simple cheap ways to alleviate everyday problems are not promoted by pharmacists. it used to be you could purchase gentian violet at every drugstore for under a dollar, just 20 years ago. now you have to ask for it behind the counter and in some places they try to charge you $7 for it! absurd! this was a household staple during my mothers generation. why have gentian violet around the house when you can parlay it into several expensive drugs, one for each application?

Posted by: annie | Jun 22 2007 15:16 utc | 29

homeopathic "medicine" is so dilute as to be nothing more than a sugar pill and in double-blind testing is always shown to be no better than said pills - AKA placebo

homeopathy also operates on the like-cures-like or the "Law of Similars" (ya, Newton dropped that one and the Law of Attraction) principle. Bitten by a rabid dog? Take a tremendously dilute pill made from rabid dog saliva because water has a "memory". I'm not making this up.

pharmacists have magnet bracelets for sale, so they're not above making a cheap buck of off holistic "treatments".

people do like to lend credibility to whatever snake oils they promote by attaching an establishment witch hunt to the dismissals of effectiveness.

"During the 1940's in the US, tub soaks made with water and gentian violet were "prescribed" as a cure for poison ivy. (Didn't work!)" - from wiki

One buck 20 years ago to seven today isn't bad inflation and holism is just another buzz-word these days, one cannot understand the whole without knowing the components...

Why does one see a homeopath, for what ailments?

My friend went to one for a sore shoulder and magically it went away - of course he is still doing the yoga and stretching regimen he had started before he saw the "MD", but that can't be why it healed can it? It was the empty pills...

Another had ALS and was told by the homeopath that it could be treated and of course did nada but empty their wallets

Posted by: jcairo | Jun 22 2007 16:06 utc | 30

Does anybody here know of a really good comprehensive work on immigration discussing the welfare costs of illegal/legal immigration?

You'd think there'd be oodles of info, by I'm not finding these. I know the work of George Borjas, urban institute, rand corp, nber, etc. but there's gotta be something that really hammers a lit review and organizes the studies. help.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 22 2007 16:43 utc | 31

this is interesting take on sistani from Allawi's Occupation of Iraq. contradicts prof. cole and others who perceive najaf to be an accommodation of democracy as an end in itself:

Sistani and the Relationship Between Religion and the State The virtual seclusion of Sistani during the last decade of Ba'athist rule in Iraq added to the mystery of his views on the role of religion in the modern state. His communications with outsiders during these years were strictly limited to his rulings on matters of religion, and he did not give one public statement (a bayan) that could be construed as political in content. He did, however, make a strongly worded pronouncement in April 2002, denouncing the Israeli action against the Palestinians in the occupied territories, condemning what he said was American support for it, and demanding a united Muslim response. It was the absence of any substantial information on Sistani's political position that gave rise to speculation as to his real intentions.

Many linked Sistani to the `quietist'tradition in Shi'a Islam, even attributing to him a belief in the separation of `mosque and state, a ludicrous interpolation of a western secular concept into an entirely different tradition.' This became part of the ideological arsenal of the neo-conservatives and their allies, who tried to invent a non-interventionist, even secular, bent to the Najaf establishment. This quiescent Najaf became contrasted with the Iranian model of clerical rule, and all kinds of wishful thinking was aired about Najaf replacing Iran as the global pivot of Shi'a Islam.' This line of thinking may also have been helped by the Sadrists' talk of the `active' Marji'iyya and the `passive' Marji'iyya, with the latter clearly associated with Sistani. Another thread that led people to equate Sistani with the `quietist' school in Shi'a Islam was his long association with Grand Ayatollah al-Khoei., The best pre-2003 record of Sistani's political views emerges from an obscure exchange between Grand Ayatollah Sistani and Professor Abdul Aziz Sachedina, a scholar of Islam at the University of Virginia.

Professor Abdul Aziz Sachedina, a practising Shi'a originating from the East African Khoja Shi'a Muslim community, was a noted expert on Shi'a jurisprudence. He had published a number of seminal works on Shi'a Islam, including The Just Ruler in Shi'ite Islam and a detailed analysis of al-Khoei's Quranic exegisis, The Prolegomena to the Quran. Sachedina had proposed a number of non-traditional approaches to understanding Islam, which appeared to irritate his community which then sought to stop him from public lecturing and discoursing on Islam. Sachedina, rather innocently, decided to seek recourse with Ayatollah Sistani, and to subject his teachings to the Ayatollah's scrutiny, and, he hoped, obtain his understanding and approval for continuing in his way. In August 1998, Sachedina travelled to Iraq and had intensive discussions with the Grand Ayatollah. The exchanges between Sachedina and Sistani took place over a period of two days, in which Sistani's views on a number of crucial issues became clear. The meetings were later outlined in an account by Sachedina, entitled `What Happened in Najaf?'8 They are an excellent primer to the inherent potential of conflict between religious reformers and intellectuals on the one hand, and the authority of the religious establishment on the other. Far from being the detached and ethereal figure of the imagined `quietest' tradition, in these discussions Sistani is shown to have some vigorous opinions on the primacy of the Marji' in matters of doctrine. He made scathing remarks about the experiment in `reformist Islam' under President Khatami, and was sceptical about religious pluralism and coexistence. Revealingly, Sistani also pointed out that he had had disagreements with al-Khoei on matters of juridical principles, but `had abstained from mentioning these disagreements in public"

Sistani emerges as someone who is vitally concerned with the role of Islam in state and society, and one who does not advocate a benign negligence or avoidance of all things to do with the state or government. The argument that is usually trotted out by those who make a claim for the lack of interest of the Shi'a in worldly power is that the Shi'a have no resonance with the modern state. To them no state is legitimate. Legitimate power is the sole prerogative of the Hidden Imam who, upon his return from occultation, will establish the perfect state. This line of reasoning, however, had no attraction for Sistani. The Grand Ayatollah was certainly not a proponent of the detached Marji'iyya, indifferent to the state and worldly power, and concerned only with the way Shi'a Muslims should obey their religious injunctions in a profane world. Neither was he a narrowly sectarian religious leader. He made it clear to Sachedina that he considered the institution of the Marji'iyya and its rulings to be valid for all Muslims, not only the Shi'a. To Sistani, the state was necessary to protect Islam, but that was a far cry from demanding the direct rule of the ulema as a precondition to ensuring the Islamic identity of the country. Sistani's views were far more subtle than the crude division between `quietist' and `activist' ulema.

The linking of Sistani to the non-interventionist school in Shi'a Islam went hand in hand with an attempt to see a commitment to democratic principles inside the Najaf Marji'iyya. The idea was that, at bottom, the Marji'iyya had to be democratic. Democracy implies the rule of the majority and that the Shi'a, by adhering to democratic norms, would inevitably attain power. This led to another bout of wishful thinking on the part of the CPA and Iraqi secularists who, curiously, refused to relate Sistani's views on the state and government to a far more meaningful set of markers, namely, the evolution of his political theory within the traditions of Shi'a scholasticism." In this regard, the most important innovation in recent times, and the theoretical and jurisprudential underpinning of the Islamic Republic in Iran, was the rise of the doctrine of Wilayat al-Fagih (`Guardianship of the Jurisprudent'). Sistani stood between the two polar extremes in modern Shi'a religious politics: the apolitical, inward-looking, strain best exemplified by Ayatollah aI-Khoei, and [210] the interventionist and activist strain associated with Ayatollah Khomeini. Al-Khoei barely acknowledged the concept of `Guardianship of the Jurisprudent; and limited it to authority over a minor. Sistani, on the other hand, expanded the notion drastically, and admitted the idea of the `Guardianship of the Jurisprudent' to cover all matters that affect the Islamic social system. The ruling of the faqih (jurisprudent) would be paramount in all matters social and political, and all believers, including other mujtahids, have to abide by them. In his fatwas on this matter, Sistani was careful to limit the scope of authority of the fagih over social matters; but actually his definition of social effectively covered all facets of Islamic society, including its politics." Where he differed from Khomeini was in his willingness to accept the involvement of clerics in the management of political affairs, and he did not agree with Khomeini's insistence that the fagih's political skills have to be added to his religious authority to complete the requirements of the position. Without explicitly saying so, Sistani was concerned with the corrupting effects of politics on the reputation and authority of the ulema, rather than any theological arguments against politics per se. His Wilayat al-Fagih was in many ways designed to ensure the primacy of the rulings of the faqih in essential matters of state, without risking direct engagement in the political process. In this framework, democracy is not an end in itself but a process by which the scaffolding of an Islamic state can be established. Eventually, this state will have to acknowledge the involvement of the Marji'iyya in all critical matters, even though it would not formally enshrine this role in its constitutional make-up."

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 22 2007 17:21 utc | 32>yet another article via cursor suggesting the terrible problem the US has in leaving iraq.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 22 2007 18:19 utc | 33

Not so much Dr Cole, but the ideologues at AEI that have extrapolated Najaf/Sistani into something he is not.That piece would confirm other (in depth) profiles of Sistani, that show him using the full spectrum, as opposed to being either/or - quietist/activist, depending on circumstances. Its laughable to imagine Sistani would advocate a seperation between church and state -- or a secular state.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 22 2007 18:31 utc | 34>yet another article via cursor suggesting the terrible problem the US has in leaving iraq.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 22 2007 19:21 utc | 35

@anna missed - ack!

yet another article via cursor suggesting the terrible problem the US has in leaving iraq.

Why is that a US problem? White mens burdon? Unshitting the bed?

Posted by: b | Jun 22 2007 19:39 utc | 36

@ jcairo, in re: "empty pills" (#30)

My SO got some homeopathic pills for poison ivy (Hi annie! Hi fauxreal!) Being a world class pill popper, he couldn't just take the prescribed amount and believe me those pills weren't empty. I'm glad I didn't have to watch him scratching.

Posted by: beq | Jun 22 2007 19:47 utc | 37

yeah. white man's burden. because white men are better.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 22 2007 20:04 utc | 38

beq, I haven't dealt w/poison ivy, but for poison oak which should be similar, Golden Seal is perfecto. Years ago, after days of scratching, it was recommended to me. Sounded crazy, but for $.35 at the herb store, it seemed worth a try. I mixed a bit w/water to make a paste. Spread it on. Itching stopped almost immediately, and all vestiges gone in 2-3 days, w/only one application.

I've never tried homeopathy or Chinese medicine, as they make no sense to me whatever. But then I've never had any mysterious diseases for which nothing seems to work. I follow the philosophy of Naturopaths, etc. that the body is in homeostasis, and knows best how to heal itself if it has the raw materials to produce the substances it requires. Unlike the philosophy w/which I was raised that said that Doctors & Pharmaceutical Cos. cured illness. W/however, the caveat that it's also a function of time, severity & genes. If you're genetically incapable of producing a substance your body needs, that's obviously a prob. of a different order. Or if something has been destroyed. Or in event of accident etc., Newtonian medicine has produced the most fantastic emergency medicine in the history of the world.

The modalities I've worked w/very successfully include proper diet for my unique physiology, & supplementing as needed w/vitamins, minerals, neurotransmitters & natural hormones. This is vastly complicated, so I never take anything I'm not told to take.

The reason Teddy Kennedy & Dick Durbin have set the stage for outlawing this, as far as I can tell, is: It's a threat to the imagination of MD's; by adopting the model forced down the throat of Germans by their Pharma Monsters, which only sell over the counter doses that do nothing, while making useful dosages by perscription only & very expensive, Big Pharma makes out like bandits, as the Predators (Pharma, etc.) inc. buy up the companies that produce this; they can outlaw Naturopaths to restore AMA Monopoly on Medicine. Also, it will hopefully help kill of deviants who won't have enough money to afford this, culling the herd. In short, it's the usual - Piratize the Commons, as Neutraceuticals are now part of the Commons, Establish Monopoly, Drive Prices through the ceiling, Maintain Complete Control.

This is the same principle Teddy Kennedy et al. are applying to Voting, as I discussed in recent post. Piratize the Commons to maximize Power, Profit & Control, of by & for the Elites. It makes sense they'd want to keep bullets flying abroad for the masses to fixate on to distract them from the war Elites are waging against them domestically.

Posted by: jj | Jun 22 2007 20:51 utc | 39

@slothrop - Fuck off.

Posted by: DM | Jun 22 2007 23:41 utc | 40

white men are best. wha? you didn't know that?

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 23 2007 1:24 utc | 41

i can see you haven't dipped your toes into the age of irony

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 23 2007 1:45 utc | 42

Change, move, dead clock, that this fresh day
May break with dazzling light to these sick eyes.
Burn, glare, old sun, so long unseen,
That time may find its sound again, and cleanse
Whatever it is that a wound remembers
After the healing ends

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 23 2007 1:50 utc | 43

a little maudlin get well poetry there, rgiap. from weldon kees.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 23 2007 1:51 utc | 44>some whitey music

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 23 2007 2:31 utc | 45>kar kar, damn

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 23 2007 2:42 utc | 46

Unusual & fascinating piece on>The War Economy in Iraq

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 23 2007 3:54 utc | 47

good one slothrop#45

&>one to match. & this one should be a parody, but its not! or is it?

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 23 2007 4:10 utc | 48

that's some mighty fine steppin' there tex

if anyone's looking to add some contemporary african dance moves to their repertoire -- it is the weekend after all, maybe we can move some tables & make room to burn off some calories -- might i suggest any of the following:

start w/ the youngsters
ghana - don't miss the little girl in the middle

congo - the little guy at the very end is classic. all dressed up & then the song runs out...

not even sure it's possible to top the kids, but here's some moves by grownups


senegal - sabar dancing (r'giap - do not attempt this in your current condition)
[short docu on saber dancing w/ more unreal moves]


Posted by: b real | Jun 23 2007 5:29 utc | 49

sloth @ 31

You might talk with Schwartzman at the U of Arizona, Dept of Sociology, about legal Vs illegal welfare costs.

Posted by: Jake | Jun 23 2007 5:45 utc | 50

beq - have you considered the power of suggestion?

what is "newtonian medicine"? that's a new one, I always thought it was physics, but hey

A panel of folks each swallowed at once a whole bottle of this stuff - nada

A teacher instructing his class on critical thinking was popping a homeopathic sleeping pill every two minutes for the entire hour, precisely because they are empty. He was made to stop the class because commerce trumps education - a mother selling the stuff complained to the school and that was that.

Its founder, Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann in the 1790s, believed that all illnesses develop from only three sources: syphilis, venereal warts, and what he called the itch.

Homeopathic treatment involves giving a patient with symptoms of illness extremely small doses of substances that produce the same symptoms in healthy people when given in larger doses. Makes perfect sense in a sympathetically magic sorta way

Many homeopathic remedies are so highly diluted that no molecules of the original substance are likely to remain.

Homeopathy asserts that the remedy will retain a memory of the diluted substance and the therapeutic potency of a remedy can be increased by serial dilution combined with succussion, or vigorous shaking. Its the shaking that provides the energy to the remembered molecules and I am off to ride Marengo

it can cure malaria, not

Posted by: jcairo | Jun 23 2007 8:59 utc | 51

The criminalization of mental illness under capitalism

In 1955, 560,000 people in the United States were being treated for mental health problems in state hospitals. Adjusting for population increase, we would expect there to be about 930,000 individuals being treated in state hospitals today. This is not the case. Fewer than 55,000 people are being treated in such facilities.

Where then are the hundreds of thousands of people with mental health issues? Most are imprisoned by, or otherwise caught up in, the legal system. Between 170,000 and 300,000 mentally ill individuals suffer today in jails and prisons. Another 500,000 are on court-ordered probation.

Since 1960, more than 90 percent of state psychiatric hospital beds have been eliminated. Mental health professionals and sociologists call this "deinstitutionalization." As a result of this phenomenon, many mentally ill patients who need hospital care are in prison instead.

Posted by: b | Jun 23 2007 9:55 utc | 52

b real

jesus didn't dance. so there.

Posted by: a honkey | Jun 23 2007 15:33 utc | 53

anna missed, thank you for the link at 47. Very informative!

Posted by: Alamet | Jun 23 2007 17:10 utc | 54

Have been trying to digest some of the implications of>LINK#47 myself, relative to some of the arguments we often have here - such as did the U.S. incite sectarian strife, or was it always there.
There has always been a conspicuous lack of analysis/importance of the impact of economics on the situation in Iraq. I thought the above article makes an interesting adjunct to that other pivotal (&mostly overlooked)article by Naomi Klein;>Baghdad Year Zero - Pillaging Iraq in Pursuit of a Neocon Utopia, by filling out in some detail the context with which the CPA (& current policy emphasis') attempted to reformulate the Iraqi economy. That is to say "globalize" and "privitize" the Iraqi economy. What the article brings to the table in this regard, and this is new (to me at least), is that since the Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqi economy has been in a free fall descent into a sort of de-facto privitized and globalized (even) economy all on its own -- going from the highest per-capta income in the ME, to the lowest, just prior to the invasion. Iraq had essentially achieved failed state status beforethe U.S. invasion.

And many events that flowed from the invasion and its aftermath would not only confirm this state of affairs, but should also affirm this to be a known and well understood fact within the pentagon - such as the invasion itself would be a "cakewalk". And the aftermath looting rampage, also very indicative of failed state behavior, should not have been an anticipated symptom as well? Highly unlikely.

But, whats really interesting here, besides that the U.S. went to war with a failed state - and (should have been aware of) all its implications - is that probably, the economic policies put forth by the CPA, actually accelerated the descent into a failed state. They took the meager remanents of the state apparatus and proceeded to break that. With apparent disregard and or ignorance, stepped on Iraq's clutching fingernails and dispatched it into the irretrievable abyss.

But because, what the article makes quite clear is, that a failed state, while being a failure of state power (to project itself) it is at the same time, not a total
absence of power. Power, in the absence of state control, simply reappears on a more progressively individuated level. A downward pressure empowering clan, tribe, gang, or neighborhood to find and dominate the economic threads of survival. This means that say, the Mahdi Army or some criminal gang (not that they are the same) replace the state networks of control with their own intrinsic and interconnected networks, that develop and operate, according to their own evolving principals, outside of any external/state control. Indeed, they are designed to evade such controls, and become part of an evolving cultural fabric -- most importantly, by facilitating, protecting, regulating, and taxing essential economic activity.

The astonishing thing for me here is that ultimately, what the U.S. did (in Iraq) was to push privitization, as an economic construct, to its logical endgame conclusion -- which has inherently generated a failed state where the ideal model was suppose to be.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 23 2007 21:10 utc | 55

anna missed, I'm not sure if Iraq was already a failed state... It was a besieged state, which isn't the same thing. More importantly, from the article, it was a functional society, with the flexibility to adapt, able to generate organic solutions.

I find it telling that the described black/grey economy didn't translate into a criminal underworld. That crimes against ordinary people were very low. That the smugglers' rings didn't double as kidnapper gangs.

The media roundup at IraqSlogger today begins, "Under the US occupation and the Maliki government, tribes are being reinvented in Iraq, for the third time in less than a century." Says the first time was in the 20's under the British mandate, and the latest is the US arming of the tribes. While the second time was under Saddam:

Saddam Husain in the 1990s also used tribal networks to supplant his fledgling authority, following the 1991 Gulf war. Breaking with a Ba'thi tradition that viewed tribalism as anathema to the modern state and a sign of “backwardness,” the Saddam regime recasted tribes as an “authentic” constituent of Iraqi society and –naturally- a loyal ally to the state.

Similar to what is described here in political terms, it seems the regime at the time meshed with the informal economy to sidestep the sanctions... The society would have survived that period, just as Iran's society did under very similar conditions.

Posted by: Alamet | Jun 23 2007 22:35 utc | 56

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

This has to be one of the most infamous phrases of recent times.

I am a little unhappy that this quote remains an "unnamed source".

Who the hell is Ron Suskind - and what can be done to properly ascribe this quotation?

The [White House] aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Ron Suskind, Journalist

Quoting unnamed

White House source.

Posted by: DM | Jun 24 2007 0:02 utc | 57


Guess I'd agree & tried to qualify it as a "sort of de-facto failed state". But the article does try to chart a course through the wars & sanctions toward a failed state status - in the sense Saddam's govt was shrinking from its central economic control, even calling for aspects of privatization himself (of elements he was loosing control of). Probably, as you say "to benefit the regime meshed with the informal economy to sidestep the sanctions". Especially I would imagine the industrial scale "oil smuggling" operations, by which have now been taken over and controlled by various militias, political parties, and etc. And have evolved into "turf" to be defended by a host of variant players. Obviously, this is a monumental drag on reversing the failed state condition.

Its interesting just how much trouble the purveyors of privatization/globalism have when confronted with the fruits of their own labors - and how incoherent all their democracy talk has become.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 24 2007 0:38 utc | 58

Which is probably why Chomsy considers the U.S. a failed state.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 24 2007 0:41 utc | 59

Think Tank floats Gladio-like Black Op Scenarios for Turkey

The think tank entertaining strategy of tension and other ideas for plausibly deniable black ops would be the Hudson Institute.

And we know that Gladio structures operated (operate) in Turkey as well.

Terrifying scenarios discussed at US think tank

A Washington-based think tank is reported to have had participants at a closed-door meeting, including Turkish military officials and civilian experts, discuss various crisis scenarios for Turkey in a brainstorming session.

Assassination of the recently retired chief of Turkey’s Constitutional Court, Tülay Tuğcu; a plot where 50 people would lose their lives in a terrorist act claimed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in İstanbul’s Beyoğlu district; and a cross-border operation by the Turkish military into Iraq were among the possible scenarios discussed at the Hudson Institute, known for its anti-Islam discourse and neocon stance, both favored at the time of the US invasion of Iraq. Sources close to the think tank said that a significant number of the participants from the US objected to the scenarios floated during the session, asserting that they were too “unrealistic,” and refrained from making comments on the possibilities mentioned. (...)

More details revealed on scandalous meeting

A workshop organized on Turkey by a Washington-based think tank last week turned out to have an invitation text for participants that was no less scandalous than the meeting itself.

While the workshop included discussions on strange and terrifying scenarios in Turkey as part of a brainstorming exercise, the invitation text listed terrorist attacks and assassinations as possible Turkish case scenarios to inform the participants about the exact topics beforehand.


Sources confirm that various Turkish military officials and civilian experts, the Hudson Institute’s Turkey expert Zeyno Baran, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s son Kubat Talabani, as well as Brig. Gen. Suha Tanyeri and military attaché Brig. Gen. Bertan Nogaylaroğlu participated in the meeting.

The text of the scenario briefly envisions chaotic days for Turkey beginning with a suicide bomber killing 50 people, including tourists, on the pedestrian Beyoğlu Street in İstanbul. ... Beneath this scenario, the invitation text lists brainstorming questions such as: “How would the military operation change if it turns out that the two attacks were not the work of the PKK, but al-Qaeda?”

Scenario: Into northern Iraq

June 18: A suicide bomber crashes his explosives-laden pick-up truck into the police station in Beyoğlu, a crowded shopping and cultural district of Istanbul frequently visited by tourists. The resulting detonation collapses the front of the police station and severely damages several nearby buildings. The attack claims the lives of at least 50 police officers, shoppers and tourists, while critically wounding over 200. Within hours, rumors spread that the PKK was behind the horrific attack, although no organization has yet claimed responsibility.

June 19: Interior ministry officials announce that the attacker was trained at a PKK camp in northern Iraq. The Turkish General Staff concurs with the interior ministry’s findings. General Büyükanıt warns that PKK terrorists will continue their attacks in major cities as long as the Turkish-Iraqi border is left unprotected and the command and control structure of the terrorist organization is still intact. He maintains that the border can only be protected from both sides, and therefore, a military incursion should be enacted immediately. The US State Department releases a statement urging Turkish authorities to remain calm despite the severity of the attack.

June 23: Iranian officials announce that an Iranian truck convoy carrying ammunition to Damascus has been attacked by PKK operatives in Iran. They claim that the Americans instructed the PKK to attack the train in order to stop the supplies from reaching Syria. Iran, angered by this attack, offers to provide logistic and military support for any Turkish operation against the PKK in northern Iraq.

June 24: Another suicide attack occurs outside the Constitutional Court in Ankara. This attack is timed so as to coincide with the departure of President of the Court Tülay Tuğcu. She is mortally wounded and dies later that day at a nearby hospital. Investigators confirm that the explosives used in this attack were the same kind as those used in the Beyoğlu bombing.

June 25: Dual statements from the interior ministry and the General Staff point to the PKK’s involvement in the attack. Millions of Turks take to the streets in Ankara, Istanbul, Samsun and Izmir to denounce this violence and call for the military to deal the PKK a mortal blow.

June 25-28: In an effort to acquire political capital in the pre-election period by appealing to the ultranationalists, Prime Minister Erdoğan successfully lobbies Parliament and acquires authorization for a cross-border operation. The General Staff identifies the following objectives for such an operation: 1) to undertake precision assaults against designated regions; and 2) to halt the flow of weapons and militants into Turkey.

June 29: At dawn, 50,000 Turkish troops cross into Iraq, establishing several checkpoints along the Iraqi side of the border and engaging in minor skirmishes with PKK fighters. The Iraqi government strongly condemns the actions of the Turkish military, demanding that it leave immediately. The US State Department’s response to the incursion is similar, asserting that Turkey’s actions will only serve “to destabilize the region and could very well end up decreasing Turkish security in the long run.” However, late in the afternoon, the White House releases a statement saying that Turkey has “the right to defend itself against terrorism, just as all sovereign countries do.”

June 30: Massoud Barzani denounces the Turkish “invasion,” and vows that the Peshmerga will defend Iraqi Kurdistan.

Key questions for discussion
Are the responses of the various actors (White House, State Department, etc.) to the Turkish operation realistic?
How would Iraq’s neighbors respond? How would Israel respond? How would the Arab League respond?
How would the EU respond? Would this effectively spell the end of Turkey’s accession talks?
How would Russia respond? Would it seek to exacerbate tensions between the US and Turkey? How?
Given the treacherous terrain and difficulties of guerilla warfare, can the Turkish army conduct a successful operation against the PKK camps located in northern Iraq?
What would be the consequences of a clash between a small band of Peshmerga and Turkish Special Forces, resulting in multiple casualties from each side?
Would the Turkish Armed Forces welcome the Iranian proposal to conduct a joint operation against the PKK in northern Iraq? How would this cooperation impact US-Turkish relations? How would it affect NATO solidarity?
How would Baghdad react to this operation? Would it throw its full support behind Barzani and the Kurds? Or would it side with Turkey?
Would the US Congress move to threaten sanctions against Turkey, as it did during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974?
How would new evidence that the June 24 bombing of the Constitutional Court was actually perpetrated by al-Qaeda affect the Turkish campaign?
Potential Wildcards
A new set of clues indicates that the suicide terrorist who attacked the police station in Beyoğlu was trained by Hezbollah in a Syrian camp.
In a raid near Kandil Mountain, Turkish security forces confiscate two-year-old MOSSAD training manuals and videos showing Israeli agents side by side with the PKK militants.

A Peshmerga unit on patrol in northern Iraq panics and attacks a group of Turkish Special Forces. After the battle, it is revealed that one of the gunned-down Peshmerga is, in fact, an American soldier who was training the Kurdish militia. This soldier, however, was not authorized to be on patrol with the Peshmerga.

The toolbox is deep and old.

Oh, there's more...

....In the nineteenth century, the great headquarters of international terrorism was London. The defense of the empire required operations which the public decorum of the Victorian era could not openly avow. The main vehicle for British terrorist operations in Europe was Giuseppe Mazzini and his phalanx of organizations starting from Young Italy: Young Germany, Young France, Young Poland, Young Turkey, Young America. Mazzini was a paid agent of the British Admiralty, and received his funding through Admiralty official James Stansfeld. Mazzini’s terrorism was directed against what the British called “the arbitrary powers”: Prussia, Russia, and Austria. Each of these had a large population of oppressed nationalities, and Mazzini created a terrorist group for each one of them, often promising the same territory to two or more of his national sections. The important thing was that rulers and officials be assassinated, and bombs thrown. The net effect of all this can be gauged by the complaint of an Austrian about Mazzini’s operations in Italy: Mazzini aimed at making Italy turbulent, he lamented, which was bad for Austria, but without making Italy strong, which might be bad for the British. Mazzini operated out of London during his entire career, which simply means that he was officially sanctioned, as were anarchists like Bakunin and a whole tribe of nihilists. Mazzini worked well for Europe – including the Ottoman Empire, and the Americas. For other parts of the world, the Admiralty had specialized operations.

State-sponsored terrorism can have a number of goals. One of these is to eliminate a politician, business leader. Back around 1500, Niccolò Machiavelli included a long chapter on conspiracies in his masterwork, The Discourses. For Machiavelli, a conspiracy meant an operation designed to assassinate the ruler of a state, and to take his place by seizing power. Modern terrorism is more subtle: by eliminating a leading politician, it seeks to change the policy direction of the government that politician was leading. The paradox here is that a faction or network penetrating the state sometimes undertakes the elimination of the head of state or head of government, and often a very eminent and beloved one.

A good example is the French Fifth Republic under President Charles de Gaulle. De Gaulle would not accept the demand of the US and UK to dictate policy to France as a member of the Atlantic Alliance. De Gaulle took France out of the NATO supernational command, ejected the NATO headquarters from its home near Paris, condemned the Vietnam war, refused the British entry into the European Economic Community, challenged the US to pay its foreign obligations in gold rather than paper dollars, called for a free Quebec, and otherwise demonstrated creative independence from the Anglo-Americans. The result was a series of approximately 30 assassination attempts, carried out by French right-wing extremists. but with the Anglo-American secret services lurking in the background. None of the attempts to assassinate De Gaulle was successful.

Another example was Enrico Mattei, the head of the Italian state oil company ENI. Mattei challenged the hegemony of the US-UK seven sisters oil cartel. He offered Arab oil producers a 50-50 split of the profits, far more than the Anglo-Americans were offering, and he was willing to help the Arabs with their own economic development. Mattei was growing powerful enough to challenge the subordination of Italy to the US-UK domination of NATO when his private jet crashed near Milan in October 1962, an event which can be attributed to sabotage on the part of the CIA and its alliances, among them some of the French Algerians who were also the enemies of de Gaulle. After Mattei’s death, ENI began to abide by the rules of the Anglo-American oil cartel....

And when one looks at Col. Ralph Peter's redrawn, redivided map of the middle east and reads a little from oddly prescient imperial apologists like Robert Kaplan, one realizes that Turkey is in for some shit. It is one of the Key, not key, strategic hinges in the world right now - perhaps even more than Italy was during the cold war.

Jim Lobe wrote an article looking at the neoconservative agenda regarding Turkey:
Perle Prefers Military Intervention to Islamic Party Election Sweep in Turkey.

Earlier this year Prime Minister Erdogan talked about the "Deep State". I wonder if he is feeling pressure.

Posted by: | Jun 24 2007 13:33 utc | 60

#60 twas me...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 24 2007 13:47 utc | 61

uncle daily press briefing

QUESTION: On Turkey, Mr. McCormack, very important, this one, because there's a lot of stories all over in Turkey. Last Wednesday at the Hudson Institute, which is under the supervision of a federal agents of the U.S. Government, was a secret meeting seeking some ideas to overthrow the Turkish Government of Recep Erdogan via Iraq. There were inter alia representatives from the Turkish general, the Turkish military attaché, the son of Jalal Talabani, other Turkish civilians, and members of the Bureau of Intelligence of the Department of State.

I'm wondering why DOS representative participated in such a meeting against democracy in Turkey and particularly the most decent, honest and particular -- excuse me, and popular Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

MR. MCCORMACK: So let me get this right. You're coming to the defense of Prime Minister Erdogan?

QUESTION: I'm defending democracy in Turkey and for information on --

MR. MCCORMACK: And as is the Turkish Government and we have faith in Turkey's secular democracy and we believe that that secular democracy is supported by all aspects of Turkish political life, including the Turkish military and by Prime Minister Erdogan and his government. So I can't speak to such --

QUESTION: For this --

MR. MCCORMACK: I can't even tell you if such a meeting took place, Lambros. I, furthermore, cannot tell you that somebody from the State Department was at such a meeting. I can't tell you if this is imaginary or not. You know, of course, we're going to meet with Turkish Government representatives and we're also working with them very closely on a variety of issues related to Turkey's future with the EU, Turkey's role in the region, and most importantly, also Turkey -- how Turkey can work together with Iraq to address the terrorist threat.

QUESTION: And one --

MR. MCCORMACK: That's it.

well, it sounds like they can't tell us about it.

Posted by: annie | Jun 24 2007 16:49 utc | 62

"Similar to what is described here in political terms, it seems the regime at the time meshed with the informal economy to sidestep the sanctions..."

this seems to have been standard operating procedure. very early on, saddam used privatization in industry and agriculture to beef up his patronage system, a system saddam certainly did not invent:

The Iraqi state itself was thus becoming not simply the arena of significant political action, but also an array of procedures, attitudes and practices. These grew out of the actions and visions of those who were able, for a variety of reasons, to wield significant power over the greater part of the Iraqi population and constituted the field of distinctively Iraqi politics. Although contested by those who felt excluded or disadvantaged by this regime of power, it nevertheless had come to represent an increasingly well-defined set of preoccupations, articulated by the people who had succeeded in mastering it. Regardless of personal or factional differences, or even of significant ideological divergence, certain features were becoming apparent. Principally, these comprised the importance of personal trust, the determination to preserve inequality, whether materially or status-based, and the prominence of the disciplinary impulse, expressed primarily through the use of coercion. These features made any construction of an Iraqi identity ambiguous, since it was obvious that any such identity would be determined largely by individuals who had an overdeveloped sense of Iraq as an apparatus of power and an underdeveloped sense of Iraq as a community.


Selective patronage was a principle applied to the population as a whole insofar as the economic policies of the new regime were concerned. In its handling of agricultural policy and of business enterprise, and in the general direction of the Iraqi economy, Hasan al-Baler's government made much use of radical socialist rhetoric, but in fact made sure that all economic directives were geared primarily to enhancing the control of Hasan al-Baler and his associates. This meant that the chief economic policies of the regime took two main forms. One was largely populist in nature. It took shape in early 1969 in the cancellation of all compensation for sequestered lands. At a stroke, this relieved the beneficiaries of land redistribution of the financial burden which compensation had implied. It also removed a major item of government expenditure. In addition, subsidies of basic commodities were introduced, as were limited social and welfare services and tax relief. These were not to be fully developed until significant resources became available after the massive increase in oil income of the mid-Ig7os, but they gave the impression of a government concerned about the economic well-being of the people as a whole.

Investment in agriculture was increased and in May 1970 more complex land reform measures were introduced. These attempted to rectify some of the adverse results of previous land reform acts, for instance by paying more attention to the relationship between the type of land (and irrigation system) and the limits of permitted landholding. Co-operatives were established and cultivators were obliged to join them to benefit from the subsidised seed, fertiliser and other benefits through which the government tried to channel investment into agriculture. At the same time a number of collective farms were set up to placate the leftist members of the party whom Hasan al-Baler and Saddam Husain thought worth courting at the time. However, the numbers involved were never very large and the collectivisation experiment in Iraq was more a result of the symbolic politics being conducted at the senior levels of the regime than a policy adopted out of ideological conviction. The other measures introduced at the time, although they brought immediate benefits for a substantial number of landholding peasants, failed to check the relative decline of Iraqi agriculture. Productivity levels continued to decline and, when faced by the population growth of the previous years, the government resorted to [2o6] the policy of importing increasing quantities of food. By the early 1970s, Iraq was a net importer of food grains and its food import bill had been subject to a twelvefold increase since the early 1g6os.

The provision of subsidised food and removal of financial burdens from the peasantry, although costly, were populist in intent and generally popular in effect. However, they also corresponded to the patrimonial system of Hasan al-Bakr and his circle. The goal was to create a basis of dependent support through selective use of the economic powers now vested in the leading members of the regime. This found various forms of expression. The confiscation of the property of political opponents and, on a much larger scale, the continuing sequestration of landholdings opened up great opportunities for the leading members of the regime to bestow favours on some, as well as to demonstrate to others the cost of disfavour. The slow pace of land distribution was marginally eased by the elimination of compensation, but the state remained the single largest landowner, having at its disposal both sequestered lands and lands brought under cultivation through new irrigation schemes. Consequently, whether through land redistribution or through the leasing of sequestered lands, those who now controlled the state had vast powers of patronage at their disposal. Nor was such a patronage system limited simply to the title to land: the co-operatives provided a useful form of social control through their regulation of crops, supply of fertiliser and marketing mechanisms.

As under all previous regimes, the government of Hasan al-Bakr ensured that land distribution and the role of the state as prime landlord benefited those in power. In some cases, this led to the acquisition of land by individuals close to the political leadership on a scale not seen since the notorious land appropriations by the political elite under the monarchy. Equally useful, as far as the power brokers of Baghdad were concerned, was the distribution of leases to chosen followers and the enlargement of client networks through access to landholdings ultimately controlled by the government. This generally meant favouring those who already held land. In the mid-1970s roughly one-third of the agricultural land in Iraq was still owned by a mere 3 per cent of the landowners - a group which was now deeply enmeshed in networks of government patronage and thus dependent upon those who allowed them to make or to retain their fortunes. This provided Hasan al-Bakr and Saddam Husain with a measure of social control and a bulwark against more radical factions, either from within the party or from outside. By no means convinced Ba'thists, these beneficiaries could [207] nevertheless recognise and appreciate a system of privilege which rewarded them so well.'

This was also the policy pursued in relation to business enterprise. Despite the socialist rhetoric, there were no further nationalisations of businesses and individual entrepreneurs were encouraged to help in building up Iraq's weak industrial base. In certain fields, such as contracting and construction, this was the period when a number of people laid the foundations - and created the necessary connections - for the large business concerns that were to emerge with the great increase in oil revenues in the mid- 1g7os. At this stage, however, although on a more modest scale, the principles had been established whereby economic policy could be used to cement the hold of the leading members of the regime on the expanding world of entrepreneurial activity. This was achieved primarily through patronage, the terms of which were officially made possible by state policy, but the targeting of which was in the hands of those who could command state power.

The setting up of business enterprises, the awarding of contracts by state organs, the issuing of licences for the importation of goods and raw materials, the control of foreign exchange and the domination of negotiations with the reorganised labour unions were among the many instruments employed by the government to regulate economic activity. They gave to those who held office the means to create their own power bases, directly and indirectly. A structure was thus being created which was geared not simply or even primarily to the general concern of improving the economic condition of the country, but rather to the particular preoccupation of creating networks of complicity and dependence which would reinforce the position of those in power.


It has been accompanied during the past decade or so by a general government encouragement of the virtues of what has been portrayed as `Arab' and `tribal' culture. This is a construction, no less than any other narrative taken up and developed by the official media of the Iraqi state. It is thus selective and largely instrumental, although, of course, it is presented as the restatement of a `natural' characteristic of the bulk of the Iraqi population. Yet it is entwined with the particular regime of power that constitutes the state of Iraq under Saddam Husain. This has given a meaning to notions of tribal identity whereby townsmen, several generations removed from the countryside, are now rediscovering their `tribal' affiliations and identities, or are consciously seeking out a tribal shaikh to ask permission to affiliate to his tribal following, where their own lineage has become obscure. Clearly, such identifications have a purpose and make a certain amount of sense in the world of Iraqi politics, where networks for protection and advancement so markedly affect the life chances of individuals.

The systems of favouritism, of inclusion and exclusion, associated with this process and reproduced in varying fashion across Iraq as a whole, have served Saddam Husain well. Most intimately, and occasionally dramatically, he has used the same system to keep his immediate family in line. As has long been apparent, Saddam Husain's conception of the state is largely a dynastic one, formed by considerations of lineage which continue to be important markers of identity and status in the communities of rural Iraq from which Saddam Husain and his closest lieutenants come. Transferred to the level of the state, this favours the kin of the ruler. They are drawn into the heart of power and are granted unrivalled access and privileges, the better to serve him. Quite apart from the personal likes and dislikes which mark relationships between any small group of people working together, there are also the factions which form amongst the more closely related kin in an extended family. Since the death of Saddam Husain's cousin `Adrian Khairallah Tulfah in 1989, the close family has been divided into three identifiable groupings: one consists of Saddam Husain's three half-brothers on his mother's side, Barzan, Sib'awi and Wathban; another consists of the al-Majid clan, cousins on his father's side; in addition, a third element comprises his two sons, `Uday and Qusay, although their ambitions have led them to form separate followings of their own.

Saddam Husain has used these men to cement his power and indeed is dependent on them to some degree since they occupy some of the [267] most important posts in the state security apparatus. However, he has ensured that no single one of them or indeed grouping amongst them should be in a position to challenge him. Nor should any of them assume that they have a right to the favours dispensed by Saddam Husain. On the contrary, they are constantly reminded through reassignment and through the granting of land and of economic concessions, as well as through the withdrawal of the same,drat they are all creatures of the president. It is for Saddam Husain to determine how they can best serve him and the reward they should receive. Inevitably, as in Iraq at large, much energy and skill is devoted to playing one group off against another, favouring now one, now another, but opening to all the possibility of privileged access if they can curry favour with the president.


By the end of the 19gos there was a contradiction between the restrictions of sovereignty and trade inherent in the sanctions regime and Iraq's actual economic situation. Under the gradually expanded terms of the `oil for food' resolutions Iraq had once again become a major oil exporter. By 2001-2 it was producing an estimated 2.8 million barrels of oil per day, exporting 1.7 million barrels of oil per day under the UN's `oil for food' arrangement. This earned Iraq roughly $12 billion in 2001-2. After the removal of a fixed percentage to pay for compensation claims, meet UN expenses and provide the Kurdish Regional Government with 13 per cent of the proceeds, the Iraqi government retained some 50 per cent to spend on imports. It supplemented these revenues by charging purchasers a levy on the oil it exported, as well as by exporting oil semi-covertly outside UN control through Turkey, Iran, Jordan and, after the reopening of the Syrian pipeline in late 2000, through Syria. These operations brought in an estimated additional $2 billion per year.

The economic activity these revenues generated and the widening scope of import possibilities made Iraq once again a hub of regional trade. Although substantial numbers of contracts for imported commodities and equipment had been held up by the UN Sanctions Committee during the years since the implementation of UN SC Resolution 986 (amounting to roughly $4 billion worth byJanuary 2002), over the same period contracts worth about $3o billion had been approved. Companies and countries which had hitherto been wary of re-entering the Iraqi market could not pass up the opportunities and inducements offered by an Iraqi government eager to encourage its
[279] commercial re-integration into the world economic system, Mnual events such as the Baghdad Trade Fair drew ever larger numbers of participants, with some i,6oo companies and 47 countries takingpcrt in November 2001. For ordinary Iraqis, at least those living in themajor urban centres, a wide range of goods was now available on the ra'ket at increasingly affordable prices. For the Iraqi government, thisn'as a political asset in more senses than one. As its revenues increasediihad made a point of encouraging trade deals with neighbouring stale and with three of the permanent members of the UN Security Couucil - Russia, France and China-as a means of giving these countriesAake in their continued access to the Iraqi market."

The decay of the sanctions regime and its political consequences, visible both in the region and at the UN, underlined a further contradiction. This emerged from a political aim behind the economicsanctions, occasionally voiced in public by US and British government spokesmen. This was the part it was hoped that they would play in undermining Saddam Husain and in hastening a change of regime Yet, paradoxically, the sanctions appeared to be having the opposite ffect. They had strengthened the networks of the repressive patrimonioJstate, both materially and in terms of fostering the kind of beleaguered solidarity which the war with Iran had generated during the 1g8os, Nor had the sanctions prevented the Iraqi government from maintaining a large military establishment which, although much reduced in terms of size and equipment from its peak in 19go, was still formidable domestically. Of greater concern was the possibility that, despite the sanctions, Saddam Husain had restarted Iraq's programme for the development of weapons of mass destruction, once the UN weapons inspectors departed in 1998.

CHARLES TRIPP, A HISTORY OF IRAQ (2nd ed., 2002). London: CUP.

what those authors in annamissed's link describe as informal economy was, according to tripp, a crucial component of patronage.

this sad situation could have gone on forever.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 24 2007 16:50 utc | 63

The two articles seem to be divergent on the state of Iraq's economy, the latter saying its economy was on the upswing, and the former saying it was disintegrating. What they agree upon though is that systems of tribal patronage became important economic templates - in both official government policy (sloths art.) and in the unofficial gray economy (link#47). They could be one and the same, except that the unofficial economy is more likely to evade government controls or benifit. However, both policies do represent a move toward "privatization" and away from direct state control, and by implication, a step in the "failed state" direction.
An unavoidable by-product of such "privatization" is that it never really becomes private, but instead remains firmly in the grip of tribal patronage systems. Which of course heightens and exaggerates sectarian affiliation as a source of identity and security.
What really gets me is that the CPA seemed to be oblivious to all this. With respect to the above state of affairs, the CPA instituted economic policies that(among other things) 1) destroyed what vestiges remained of the state apparatus 2) liquidated for private investment all state assets, and 3)appointed an elite group of exiles to represent the states interests.
The net effect was that the CPA unwittingly(?) exasperated (former policies) and then and accelerated Iraq into a failed state. And in the absence of legitimate state authority, drove the population into the arms of sectarian interests as an economic fact of life, without alternative.
These sectarian groups are then left to compete, by any and all means, among themselves for power and representation in a race to the bottom.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 24 2007 20:37 utc | 64

the CPA seemed to be oblivious to all this

well it's encouraging we no longer say "cpa intended this"

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 24 2007 23:09 utc | 65

It was kinda nice to see one of the regular commenters at Glenn Greenwald refer to Moon of Alabama and specifically Bernhard.

We knew it all along!

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 26 2007 11:52 utc | 66

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