Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Fallujah, Terror Reports and Diplomats for Change

Hi Everyone,

Four items for this posting which are all related sort of. The first is about how Iraq is being handed over to radical Sunnis. The second is about how terrorism is getting worse. The third is about how diplomats and former Generals are calling for Bush's defeat in November because of all this. Finally, a comment about how Political Scientists can say "we told you so."

Defeat in Fallujah. It is unfortunate that the Bush administration has stuck with Rumsfeld minimal force approach. The latest symptom of this problem is the defeat of American policy goals in Fallujah. This is old news in the sense that the fighting stopped there a while ago. But it may not be widely known that Fallujah has turned into a de facto autonomous zone in which former Baathists (with US backing) are incapable of keeping Theocratic Sunni conservatives (Wahabi/Al Qaeda??) from running the city according to strict Islamic law. Some of the Citizens, particularly Law Talking Guy, have long predicted that sooner or later, the Bush administration would turn to former Saddam loyalists in an effort to curb Islamic radicalism. Now we are seeing that they are in fact doing that and it is not working because the US doesn't have the forces on the ground to back up the rhetoric.

The latest report on terrorism by the U.S. State Department had erroneously declared that terrorism is in decline. It turns out that the opposite is true. This has led to the Bush Administration's favorite sacrificial lamb, Collin Powell, doing the Sunday morning rounds (Tim Russert, etc) apologizing for the "screw up." It seems that the erroneous report was accident, not a blatant attempt to manufacture good news in an election year.

A group of 50 diplomats and generals from the Carter, Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton administration have signed a letter calling for Bush II's defeat in November. They argue that Bush has done serious damage to the security of the United States by alienating allies while making new enemies.

This isn't really shocking news either. For political scientists this is very old news in fact. As soon as the Bush administration started the march to war in Iraq, every political scientist I know - with the exception of specialists in American politics (don't know much about other countries or foreign policy) with strong partisan Republican loyalties - expressed their opposition to the idea. The consensus position among political scientists is nicely summed up in an essay by John Mersheimer (U. Chicago) and Stephan Walt (Harvard). It's very informative. The "practitioners" in the diplomatic and military communities no doubt held back out of some sense of professional propriety.

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