Democracy Arsenal

« Admiral Mullen on Afghanistan and Iraq | Main | Can't Tell the Players WITH a Scorecard »

March 28, 2008

The Cheney Theory
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Eric Martin takes me to task over my assertion, based on the Washington Post coverage, that the U.S. government didn't know this was coming.  He has a point.  For full disclosure I should have pointed out that last week Cheney met with ISCI's leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim.  There has been a great deal of speculation that in exchange for letting the provincial elections law pass through the Presidency Council, Cheney agreed to give ISCI the go ahead to go to town on JAM in Basra.  It has also been widely reported that a number of Iraqi Generals were talking about this operation a week ago.  Both good points that throw into question whether the Bush Administration saw this coming.

Still, the reason I don't buy this theory is that the timing makes no sense whatsoever from a domestic political perspective.  If there was a quid pro quo, the Bush Administration would have asked for a waiting period until after the Petraeus Crocker testimony.  Why go with such a high risk operation a week before the progress report to Congress?  Makes no sense.  This Administration is pretty incompetent about a lot of things, but for the most part they  seem to understand political timing. 

At the end, Eric argues that given the Administration's not so stellar record with the truth, we shouldn't take them at their word.  Fair enough.  But I'd also argue that given the Administration's long history of incompetence on Iraq, it's quite possible and in fact likely, that they just completely missed this.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Cheney Theory:


I buy the theory. First and foremost, I'd say based on the evidence we have available all the mistakes in Iraq, this is how Cheney rolls.

Less flippantly, the "Sons or Iraq" were getting increasingly restless. They would be quite aware of the political situation in the U.S. and some groups were already going on strike. A breakdown in the Sunni Awakening would probably be even more politically damaging than this infighting. Admittedly you could promise that the deal would come down after the Congressional testimony, but that would mean Sunni groups would have to give up that leverage. They had already been back-stabbed once on this bill when it was vetoed, even if they trusted the U.S. I doubt they'd trust PM Maliki to come through.

Whether the USG knew or didn't know, it has its bloody hands full going into April.

This question was put to Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell on March 26th:

Q It's sort of a related question, but from a different stand. General Petraeus has always said there are three factors suppressing the violence: the surge, the Sadr cease-fire, the CLCs.

The surge troops are leaving. There's now open combat between Iraqi government forces and Sadr forces. Many of the CLCs say they're worried about getting jobs, and they may return back into the fray.

If you have those three factors, that have been cited for months as keeping the violence down, all beginning to disappear simultaneously, what's the level of concern that the violence, that had been suppressed, will now spike back up?

MR. MORRELL: I think that's an excellent question for General Petraeus.

I do not think, at this stage, at this stage, which is mere days into this operation, anyone is prepared to stand here and tell you that they feel as though that the gains we've made, over the past several months, are in jeopardy. I think they would tell you just the opposite, that this is a sign that the Iraqi security forces are now capable of confronting fundamentally their problems. They are a sovereign government. This is a decision they made, and they feel capable of fulfilling.

So we are supportive of them taking greater accountability for their own security. That's the whole point, of our operations there, to stand up the Iraqis to the point where they can defend themselves, govern themselves, sustain themselves. And this could be a sign that they are indeed, that they are indeed getting closer to that point.

Morrell said: "Iraqi security forces are now capable of confronting fundamentally their problems."

news report:
BAGHDAD — The American military conducted airstrikes Thursday and Friday to back up stalled Iraqi forces in Basra and battle Shiite militias in Baghdad as continued violence and political infighting worsened the prospects for any timely reconciliation among Iraq’s warring factions.

Although American officials have emphasized that the campaign in the southern port city of Basra is directed by Iraqi forces, the Iraqis have failed so far to wrest control of neighborhoods in Basra from Shiite militias and asked the Americans and British to step in. The Iraqi military does not have jet fighters.

Obviously there's a need to re-surge, and so we need General Petraeus more than ever to show surrender monkeys that Americans don't cut and run from terrorists.

The question here seems to be, which incompetence is the most likely incompetence?

Did the administration give the go-ahead to a military operation that they should have realized was likely to end in a bloody mess, or did the administration fail to communicate with their puppets as to what the military would be doing in Iraq?

I like (a). It fits the history of the administration perfectly. They would be choosing more war as the answer, and they would be failing to account for the likely (bad) outcome of the war in any way because of their ideological preferences. That the administration would have, in this case, failed to account for how the assault on Basra and Sadr City would turn out is, to me, evidence that they probably did know about Maliki's and ISCI's plans. It's precisely Cheney's form of incompetence.


FWIW, I've updated my original post and
responded here

Thanks again for the discussion.

I spent much Perfect World Gold on the gift.
Buy Perfect World Gold for me as present.
Perfect World Silver
Perfect World money make me happy.

I am so happy to get some latale online gold and the latale gold is given by my close friend who tells me that the latale money is the basis to enter into the game. Therefore, I should buy latale online gold with the spare money.

I hope i can get silkroad gold in low price,
Yesterday i bought cheap silkroad gold for my friend.

Playing online games can buy mabinogi gold. I often come here and buy it. And you can use the mabinogi online gold do what you want to do in the online game.

Playing online games can buy mabinogi gold.

Playing online games can buy mabinogi gold.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use