Drawing the Battlelines in Anbar


A large majority of the Anbar tribes vow to fight al Qaeda in Iraq and the insurgency, plus, Losing Anbar?

Iraq. Click map to view.

While the news from western Iraq has focused on the partial leaking of a Marine intelligence report purportedly focusing on the inaccurate reports of the 'loss of Anbar province',' a significant political development has occurred between the Anbar tribes and the Coalition and Iraqi government. The New York Times reported over the weekend that 25 of the province's 31 tribes have organized to oppose the insurgency and al Qaeda.

The tribes are said to be able to comprise "30,000 young men armed with assault rifles who were willing to confront and kill the insurgents and criminal gangs that have torn at the fabric of tribal life in Anbar." Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh Al-Rishawi, the chief of the Rishawi tribe, said "the insurgents counted about 1,300 fighters, many of them foreigners." Al-Rishawi explains the process was long and the 25 tribes agree the insurgents and al Qaeda are harming Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq.

"We held a meeting earlier and agreed to fight those who call themselves mujahedeen... We believe that there is a conspiracy against our Iraqi people. Those terrorists claimed that they are fighters working on liberating Iraq, but they turned out to be killers. Now all the people are fed up and have turned against them... We are in battle with the terrorists who kill Sunnis and Shiites, and we do not respect anyone between us who talks in a sectarian sense..."

The BBC reports "15 of the 18 tribes in Ramadi " have sworn to fight those who are killing Sunnis and Shiites', and had put together '20,000 young men'"to fight the insurgency. "People are fed up with the acts of those criminals who take Islam as a cover for their crimes," said Sheik Fassal al-Guood, a tribal leader in Ramadi.

The Anbar tribes have taken great risk by publicly going on record against the insurgency and al Qaeda. In May, I documented al Qaeda's assassination program against tribal, clerical and government leaders in Anbar. The threat is real. There is also the possibility that some of the 6 remaining tribes have held out from taking a stand against al Qaeda out of fear of retribution.

The size and influence of the tribes organizing in Anbar is an unknown to the public, but the military and Iraqi government will now have an excellent idea as to who is lining up with the government and who is siding with the insurgency.

The cooperation of tribes with the Iraqi government and Coalition forces is not a new development in Anbar. Nor is the willingness of the tribes to fight against al Qaeda. Over the summer of 2005 and spring of 2006, I documented numerous incidents of 'red on red' infighting, as well as the formation of the 'Anbar Revenge Brigade.' I sat in on tribal meetings in Husaybah, where tribal leaders openly expressed a willingness to assist with stability, security and reconstruction. The tribal leaders have repeatedly expressed an interest in ejecting the jihadis from their midst, but fear, intimidation and outright violence have prevented them from organizing.

Losing Anbar?

I've received plenty of questions about the intelligence report that claims Anbar province has been lost. I've talked to several sources in the military and intelligence who have actually seen the entire report (and not been fed excerpts). They are angry over the media's characterization of the report. Basically, the report indicated that the situation in Ramadi is dire, and that the political situation in Anbar as a whole as a result is in danger because of this.

Ramadi has been a problem for some time, but the major problem there has been the Iraqi government's lack ofpolitical will to act over the course of the last year. Even ceding the security situation to the tribes is a form of passing the problem on to the locals.

Since my sources were unwilling to go on the record, I chose not to address this directly. If the military community is unwilling to step up to the plate and defend itself, except in vague terms, about the situation in Ramadi then they will have to deal with the backlash of this decision. Good work has been and continues to be done in Anbar. The military has a problem with public affairs, plain and simple, and fails to realize that the impact on remaining silent on this report far outweighs the need to keep the information classified.



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READER COMMENTS: "Drawing the Battlelines in Anbar"

Posted by Dale in Atlanta at September 19, 2006 5:44 PM ET:

Bill: I'll go on the Record:

I know the officer in question, who wrote the report!

I've known him for 15 years; served with him in Northern Iraq the first time around, in 1991, and in Okinawa in 1993.

He's a great officer, valuable to the Marines, the Military, and the Country.

He was asked, by his superiors, to write up an honest assessment, of the situation on the ground, for THEIR review.

It was NOT for the Washington Post, or the NYT, or for Army "weenies", sitting in the Pentagon, who are acolytes of Powell, or whoever, to LEAK it to the world, in a CLEAR effort to Damage President Bush, and the War Effort in Iraq!

But that is EXACTLY the reason it was leaked, and the President has not only had to fight a seditionist CIA and State Department, but now, obviously, a faction within the Pentagon!

Powell & Armitage are gone; Tennett is gone; and hopeully, Rumsfield can continue to clean out the Pentagon, of all the Clintonites over the next two years; he's done a good job so far, and he needs to keep it up.

All the rebellious "Generals" of the past 2 years, people like Zinni, et. al. have been Clintonites, and there's obviously more still in there. The dangerous ones, are really the Colonels! They actually can hang around longer than the Generals, not forced to retire as quickly, and cause more damage; but rooting out Clintonite Colonels, is harder to do, because they have lower-level jobs, that mask their political leanings more effectively, than if they're Generals.

As for the report itself; it's been completely mischaracterized by the MSM; COMPLETELY!

The officer in question, wrote it, in order to put everything into an unframed, unvanished, perspective, as he was requested by his superiors, and just because, his Professional Intel Opinions, are highly regarded, and he's one of the most expert Intel Officers we have in the entire Military, on Iraq!

Bottomline, he did NOT say everything was going to hell in handbasket, was hopeless, and LOST!

He was specifically referring to the "lawless" badlands, the fringes, and the desert areas as being out of control, and that if certain actions were not taken, that it COULD spread to some of the cities and towns.

Dire picture, some, in certain areas; Disaster/Quaqmire for the entire province, that the MSM is portraying, NO!

And the evidence, is the announcement that Bill has posted, just today, of the 25 tribes in Anbar, agreeing to help fight the insurgents and foreign fighters like Al Qaeda!

Posted by Mike Rentner at September 19, 2006 10:22 PM ET:

Dale's comments are truly frightening. According to Dale, the military is now a political entity, needing purges of colonels and generals from politically motivated purgers.

This is extremely dangerous. I've been watching the nation get politically polarized the past 20 years, seemingly more than in past generations. I assumed that the military was still apolitical. After a 12 year hiatus, I joined up in the USMC again and I've been struck by the openness of many officers in expressing political opinions, not just about civil topics but openly declaring that one party is particularly dangerous.

I might agree with that opinion, but the openness with which US military officers discuss this bodes ill for our future.

Politics ebb and flow. When the current controlling party wanes in power, will there be another purge? Will our nation be able to trust our military as impartial weapons of our civilian government? At what point will a party returning to power begin to stand "disloyal" officers up against the wall?

Treasonous behavior, or leaking of documents needs to be discussed as the crimes that they are without resorting to either real or imagined political conspiracy. Such charges are often made out of ignorance and malice, and the accuracy of that charge is irrelevent to the ability to prosecute the criminal act in question. But making the charge is dangerous to the trust our nation puts in the impartiality of our military.

I hope Dale can reconsider the dangerous comments he's made. Wild accusations like his can be injurious to the good order and discipline of our armed forces.

Posted by Dale in Atlanta at September 19, 2006 11:38 PM ET:

Mike: first, I appreciate your concerns.

Second, just to clarify; I left the military 11 years ago! I've been a civilian ever since. I have NO, affiliation whatsoever with the US Military, US Government, or any other Federal entity, in any fashion, whatsoever, at this time! I am, a complete, and utter civilian in all respects!

Third, I saw no one, politicize the Military, like the Clinton Administration!

College classmates of Bill, promoted to positions, over dozens of officers more senior to them.

General officers, like Tony Zinni, affecting and effecting US policy, in a way that was injurerous to our National Security, and Safety.

Fourth: I'm 48 years old, I have a long memory; when I was active duty, it was Inculcated into us, as Officers, to be so APOLITICAL; something that I took so seriously, that I voted only ONCE, the whole time I was on active duty, and even to do that, I had to force myself!

But I don't see that now; I see a General Officer corps, that is political beyond anything I've ever seen.

I see attempts, by the leaking of Classified information, by Military Officers, to undermine, and attack, a President who is leading us in wartime, not only in Afghanistan, and Iraq; but more importantly, even though no one will say it, in a coming war that is, in effect, a clash of civilizations, and religions!

As an Officer, you have a choice: support the Commander in Chief, and your Chain of Command, once the decisions have been made.

If you see Illegal activity being committed, you have a system, and procedure in place to report it. You have Inspector Generals, and you have other "tripwires" to utilize.

If it is NOT illegal activity, and it's just a policy you "disagree" with, then too bad; you get on the wagaon, or you RESIGN! That's the system! That's tradition, that's the way it should work! That's the way it's supposed to work!

IF you Disagree, and the activity/knowledge, whatever it is, is Clearly not illegal, then that's tough luck!

But you DON'T, EVER, LEAK, to the MSM, for "political" reasons, and in an attempt to damage a sitting President, and Secretary of Defense!

It's just a completely unacceptable action!

It's simple, your loyalty, as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Military, is to the Constitution of the United States, and the Country, FIRST, and to your Chain of Command, the Commander in Chief, etc., SECOND!

But that only, extends so far, as whether activity/actions/etc., is/are ILLEGAL!

If you just "disagree", because you think you know better, then you give your Chain of Command, your value of your opinion, and insight, and experience, in those forums that you get to express them in; and that is it!

You have every right to resign, retire, get out, if you DISAGREE, and make your point in a public forum them; but NOT thru the use of LEAKS, to undermine the President, SecDef, and most important, Troops in Harm's way!

I have seen nothing, but a complete, and utter politicization of the Officer Corps as a result of the Clintons, and it carried over into this President's term, and he has been fighting the leftovers/holdovers/backstabbers, ever since.

The other dynamic at play, is that this SecDef, has been, Correctly so, in my humble opionion, undertaking a complete, and transformative approach to the entire United States military; one on a scale almost unheard of in it's history.

As Machiavelli said:

There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new order of things..... Whenever his enemies have occasion to attack the innovator they do so with the passion of partisans, while the others defend him sluggishly so that the innovator and his party alike are vulnerable.

SeDef's very much needed total reorganization of the Military, is engendering this dynamic, exactly.

When you reorder something, those that were successful under the old system, are your enemies; those that will successful under the new, are your sycophants!

Unfortunately, post-Cold War, and currently because of the GWOT, it NEEDED to be done.

When that happens, those dinosaurs who still want to fight the Soviets, with Tank Divisions in Central Europe, and Aircraft Carriers in the Pacific, are going to be pissed off!

And, they come out swinging, and ready for a knifefight!

We, as a country, cannot afford that type of internicine infighting, for personal political, or partisan, or Service gain!

That is why you see most of what is happening, with the "rebellious Generals", as the MSM has labelled them (not me).

Again, we cannot have it!

Mike, I did NOT polticize the Officer Corps, the Officer Corps allowed itself to be politicized, with the help of the Clintons.

I have MANY friends, my Peers, who are all LtCol's and Col's now; I talk to them, on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.

I know what's going on, inside the military, I know the attitudes; I know the issues.

And I know, I have NEVER seen it this politicized!

It needs to stop, and for the reasons I've outlined above, and if it doesn't the offenders need to go.

I'll give you a small example, that I know from friends inside the "Beltway".

SecDef Donald Rumsfield was a Naval Aviator, for a couple of years in the mid-1950's. He then switched to the reserves, and continued to serve in the Reserves, until he officially retired as a Navy Captain in 1989. By that time, he had already been SecDef once, as well as all the other posts he had held in our Govt.

And yet, according to people I know, and trust, there were, and are, General Officers, who after receiving an Order from the SecDef, will go off and rant and rave, about the fact that they have to follow orders from some person who ONLY MADE CAPT IN THE NAVAL RESERVES!

Mike, that is absolutely CRAZY! We can't have that type of crap; Civilian control of the US Military is the very underpinning of our Democracy!

I don't care if it was a never-served in the Military individual like Bill Clinton, a Navy Submariner Lt like Jimmy Carter or a TANG Lt like George W. Bush, or whatever, IF it was former Private Joe-bag-o-doughnuts whose the current SecDef, it doesn't Matter! That individual, was either elected, or appointed to that position, and you serve that person, regardless of what they did, when, and IF, they were in the Military!

But I'm told, this is not an isolated event, nor attitude, and it absolutely apalls me!

That's whey we have Generals, coming out, in unprecedented numbers, during Wartime, criticing in the most vile and personal and despicable ways, our President, and our SecDef.

That is why we have self-serving, hateful, know-nothings like Hillary Clinton, and Feingold, etc., calling for our SecDef's Resignation during Wartime!

That is why we have brain-addled Congressman, for purely personal political capital and gain, come out and call for the "redeployment" of our troops, from a theater of war!

I know, as I said many Officers, and Enlisted of all ranks, serving, or who have served, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The don't miss this stuff; unlike what the complete asswipes Bill Mahr and Richard Belzar (from the safety of Hollywood I might add) had the nerve to say one time, on Mahr's show; that the "troops" (even though they're the ones fighting the damn wars...); ..."...they don't know what's going on, because they're not back here reading the newspapers...."

Can you IMAGINE the NERVE? The arrogance, to say something like that, and believe it?

But the troops don't miss any of this crap; and it disturbs them, and pisses them off, and it provides aid and comfort to the enemy, and it has no doubt, contributed to the deaths of scores, if not more, of our men and women in uniform!

Mike, you touched a nerve,I'm not pissed at you, I'm not insutling you, I'm not yelling at you; I am however, passionate about this, and I don't want my Officer Corps (even though I'm not an Officer anymore); "polticized"; I don't want "my" officer corps, leaking classified information, to damage a sitting President, and SecDef, during a time of war.

The American public, the American Voter, will take care of that; it's not up to an idividual, or individuals, within the Military, to make that unilateral decision!

Posted by DJ Elliott at September 20, 2006 9:54 AM ET:

I am going to say one statement concerning the politiziation of the military:
- I did not believe in the military being involved in politics. Not even to vote.
President Clinton convinced me I was wrong.
I registered republican during his first term.
The military was 55-45 (4% error) between the parties when President Clinton was elected. It was 70-30 (republican) by the end of his presidency. That is the military reaction to his actions, orders, promotions and political appointments. Majority in the military still considered politics a taboo subject when I retired (30 Jun 2003).

This is not a political venue.
Bill prefers that you stick to military commentary in his comments and save your politics for the political sites.
Might I sudgest you gentlemen (and ladies) bear that in mind.
No politics in the Mess...

I am curious as to what IA is stationed in Ar Rutbah District. Can't find any references to IA size or unit designation out there. 3LAR's news is very carfull not to give ISF unit ID's
(Unlike many others).

V/r
IS1(SW), USN(Ret)

Posted by Mark at September 20, 2006 11:21 AM ET:

Bill,
I thought you might want to check out this National Review piece (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=Njk4NWZmMWRmYWM2ODAxYjQ3MDNmYWZhMGMzYmU1OWM=) on the unwarranted pessimism about Iraq.

The sweeps through Anbar sounded a lot like your writing of the last few years.

I know Bill likes to avoid politics but the comments about politicization in the military are pretty disturbing. I had thought it was mainly the CIA and State.

Posted by Dale in Atlanta at September 20, 2006 11:59 AM ET:

DJ: you are correct, I let my passion get the better of me; I was defending a fellow officer, and it got the better of me!

DJ, on another subject; I think I know you!

I was IWO on the COMIDEASTFOR Staff from Feb/88 - Aug/88; the Marine guy!

That's you, correct?

If so, let me know how to contact you!

R/dale

Posted by Herschel Smith at September 20, 2006 12:56 PM ET:

I tried to trackback, but some sort of error on my end (I think there was some stray HTML code that caused a crash). Linking to this post, I posted "Ramadi: Marines Own the Night, 3.5 Years Into Iraq War."

I am as passionate about this issue as the commenters above. I think that there is some truth to each of the competing positions, but there is something much more subtle and sophisticated going on here that I haven't seen anyone (excepting present company) really address. It has become all the rage now to insult the regulars in al Anbar, comparing them to the "more sophisticated" special ops boys who really know how to wage COIN properly. I have seen this type of thing in WaPo.

This view is as insulting as it is flatly wrong. I argue, and I think persuasively, that the Marines know exactly how to wage COIN, because they do not have the force projection to wage anything but COIN. The issue is not conventional operations versus COIN. The issue is more subtle. I also posted on the USJFCOM program "Urban Resolve" a few days back, in which the issue of urban warfare is being studied. From the time of WWII and forward, U.S. forces have skirted around, bypassed and otherwise circumvented large urban areas. MOUT operations can be costly.

But there is an argument to be made that avoidance of MOUT and reliance on proxy fighters (such as these disorganized, untrained, unarmed tribes) is even more costly in the long run.

The real issue is not COIN versus anything else, it is when to invoke COIN. I argue that we have invoked it prematurely (both in Afghanistan and Iraq). We have left large swaths of urban terrain untouched, and large numbers of fighers alone beginning 3.5 years ago and continuing to this day.

I also argue that the Marines are good at whatever they choose to do, whether conventional or COIN, and that they need more troops in al Anbar (I suggest a division). Finally, I argue that reliance on politics to pacify the region is like appealing to a phantom. There are no politics at the present. There is only chaos.

I could be wrong about all of this, but then again, I could be right. I think it is a debate we need to have. The conversation does not pertain to the brass in the Pentagon (some of whom should not be there), or whether the bad press hurts us (of course it does). The conversation I would like to see has to do with strategy, and the extent to which beltway talking points ("we'll bring our troops home whenever the Iraqis can take over") become military strategy because that is what the leaders want. The conversation needs to happen in an open, confrontational way. We need to rethink our strategy -- not in terms of the "how to," but in terms of the "when to."

The battle lines are forming. What a shame. This province should have been securred three years ago. The tribes are said to be "scared" in the articles I cite in my post. They should be. There will be many deaths of tribe members before this is all over with.

Thanks for listening. Oh, by the way, commenter #2 (Mike Rentner), you appear to me to be happily having a conversation with only yourself, the subject of which only you know. What color is the sky in your world? WTF are you talking about?

One final thing. Pray continually for our boys in harm's way.

Posted by DJ Elliott at September 20, 2006 2:35 PM ET:

Dale: COMIDEASTFOR Staff I&W Watch, Ship Attack and GOB Analyst Sep 87-Sep 88. Do you still consider hanging from a cable under a helo fun?

- I do not have a solid read on IA in Ar Rutbah District. At least a Bn but, needs an IA (Mot) Bde due to geographic size. Does have a DBE Bde (4-5 Bns) on the border and HQ in city Ar Rutbah.

- My read of the problem of troop numbers in Anbar is that the youngest IA Div has western Anbar. 7th IAD is in the area of NW Ramadi, Hit and Al Qaim. Only 1-2 of its (9) Bns are in-lead and none of its (3) Bdes are ATT. Bns are paired with USMC and OPCON MNF-W. Lot of work left there.

Eastern Anbar (Abu Ghraib, Falujah and South-East Ramadi) belongs to 1st IAD. 1st IAD (AKA "Iraqi Intervention Force") is good. Also it is in-lead at Bde/Div levels and will transition to IGFC this fall.

Posted by Dale in Atlanta at September 20, 2006 2:35 PM ET:

Herschel: I think you've touched on an important issue.

I've been, for my own reasons, a supporter of this President, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, and the GWOT!

Based upon my experiences, and knowledge, I thing all of them needed done, and I'm happy for it.

However, I do believe, that this Administration, tried to do all these, "on the cheap", and they refused to committ the manpower, to all three, because someone convinced them all three, would be a cake walk.

So, for political reasons, NOT enough troops were committed into Iraq, early, middle and late; not enough NATO troops are in Afghanistan currently, and we don't have enough troops to do clean-up in places like Darfur, Somalia, etc. which we SHOULD be doing!

And yes, you are correct, the Marines could've done this mission, and still could; but our policy on this issue has been NOT to defeat them overwhelmingly militarily, like a WWII type of effort; instead, we've done it half-assed, so we don't committ too MANY troops, and thus taking TOO many casulaties, and we've always had the political "endgame" in sight, get the Iraqis/Afghanis up to speed, as soon as possible, so we can withdraw, claim victory, and go home!

In other words, the President says he's staying the course, but we've never been committed to an overwhelming military victory like we had in WWII.

The enemy, can sense it too! Thus, they fight harder, because they want to inflict mass casualties before we pull out; Iran's intransigence is related to the fact they KNOW we won't stay; Musharraf's selling out to the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, is because he KNOWS that we are going to waffle, and leave sooner or later, and he knows he can't trust the Europeans, and there you have it!

Bottomline, they KNOW our "heart" isn't "in it"; and so, why take us really seriously!

Posted by Dale in Atlanta at September 20, 2006 3:58 PM ET:

DJ: thought that was you! Only been 18 years!

Do you remember me?

How do I get ahold of you?

Bill, could you facilitate an exchange of emails?

Thanks, R/dale

Posted by Mike Rentner at September 20, 2006 6:06 PM ET:

Herschel, you are rude and out of line, besides being simply incorrect.

At the same time you wrongly accuse me of "having a conversation with myself," you bring up some imagined discussion of regulars vs. special forces and COIN and what not. Where did that come from? I was responding to comments about politicization of the military. What were you responding to?

Please learn some manners.

Posted by Bill Roggio at September 20, 2006 6:24 PM ET:

This is EXACTLY what I don't want the comments to devolve into. Personal attacks, political battles. I'll shut down the comments if this continues. And I will delete the offending comments. Sorry.

Posted by hamidreza at September 20, 2006 8:24 PM ET:

Can bill comment on the need to institute an omnipotent secular Iraqi intelligence service, ultimately controlled by the US military.

The lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan clearly show (to me) that this is the central ingredient missing in the equation.

It appears to me that the US has pushed the ideal of democracy too far at the cost of the ideal of individual human rights. A secular Iraqi intelligence service mandate would be to round up those who do not tolerate individual freedoms or do not tolerate secularism, and who engage in hatred and seduction. In a way a paradoxical "Freedom Police".

"Those who deny human rights to others, are not entitled to it themselves."

I say pick them up, starting from Sadr.

Posted by Herschel Smith at September 20, 2006 11:25 PM ET:

A kinder, gentler comment.

First, Mike, I visited your web site and see that you are active duty USMC. So is my son, a grunt with 2/6 at Camp Lejeune. They will be deployed to al Anbar province early 2007. His billet is M249 for his fire team. What you and my son choose to do is a highly honorable thing, and my respect to you both. And I will be visiting you at your web site.

Second, your comment above seemed to ascribe or attribute a position to Dale that he clearly did not advocate. You seemed to imply that Dale advocates the purging of military who don't hold a certain political view. I read the same comment, and understood that he was referring to the purging of the brass that allows their political ideology to get in the way of the discharge of their mission. There is a WORLD of difference between the two positions. I would request that in the future, you study posts and comments more carefully before responding.

Third, with respect to a defense of my comment and how it relates to the original post made by Mr. Roggio, I will be happy to send you a detailed and precise answer to your question. I will defend my comment off line with you directly.

Finally, I am sorry that I didn't send you a note offline instead of posting a comment to you. Some view this sort of thing as robust dialogue and debate, others attacks. Each has his own threshold.

Posted by DJ Elliott at September 20, 2006 11:57 PM ET:

Dale in Atlanta: Sent two e-mails to you already. Are you filtering?

hamidreza: From todays brief (NIIA):
"As such, the ministry continues to grow in its capability to again support its forces. They've established a national information and investigative agency. This is the equivalent of our Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States."

http://www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5795&Itemid=30

Posted by hamidreza at September 21, 2006 4:10 AM ET:

DJE, but this is the Ministry of Interior, known to be beholden to Dawa and SCIRI. Their loyalty is to the religious forces. In fact they are partly responsible for the chaotic conditions and sectarian war, and they operate death squads to further their religious agenda seeking political rulership.

The Iraqi Intelligence service cannot be loyal to any of the religious parties. It must be a secular force, like the Mukhaberat of Saddam, except that its job is not to punish those who engage in political activity, but to pick up those who are engaged in anti-state activity, gun running, religious incitement, and abuse of office. Clerics that incite to hatred against the occupation or against the state or against the armed forces or against other religious sects should be quickly picked up at night from their homes and shipped to remote concentration camps. Their followers that may protest in the streets should be rounded and their leaders and associates rounded up and sent as well. Any Iraqi privy to anti-state and religious hatred activities should be picked up and similarly disappeared. Any Iraqi that is aware of terrorist activities and do not report them should be treated as a terrorist, including the family members and wives of terrorists.

A mukhaberati police state should be implemented that puts security ahead of abstract democratic ideals. This police state will allow normal democratic activity to take place, but not those that threaten democracy itself. If a govornorship or mayoralty is run as a personal fiefdom or as an instrument by one party to gain political advantages for itself, then the leaders should be picked up and incarcerated.

I think the Bush administration is too scared of the furor this may create in the NYT and SF Chronicle. But these bleeding hearts are mostly bark and little bite.

There is no other way to stabilize Iraq, except to ship another 300,000 soldiers there. All options have been tried. The Iraqi Islamists do accept even the most basic rules of democracy. They have no right to even be part of the political scene. No religious party has the right to field candidates. Any candidate with a religious background should be disqualified.

Start by arresting Sadr's 30 parliamentarians. This will give the majority to a coalition of Kurds, Alavi, and Sunnis. This way the government can be wrested out of the hands of the Shias, and the constitution amended to remove its Islamic underpinnings.

Each Iraqi should be issued an RFI ID card with electronic iris and fingerprint information, and their movement tracked centrally. Those back home who wish to complain about this police state, will receive a round trip vacation to Ramadi or Diyala, so they can see for themselves and shut up.