A few links

I’ve been shirking my blogging duties a bit lately. For that, you are all entitled to a full refund. And I’ll throw in an opinion or two for free!

Here are a few things to check out:

Being American in TO: Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, France

Saddam’s WMD weren’t central to my support of the Iraq War; removing Saddam and Iraq’s geographical position were. Nevertheless, finding them is a priority. The fact that Jordan hasn’t released specifics about the chemicals that were to be used in the thwarted attack is suggestive but inconclusive and highly frustrating. Is the lack of specificity to hide intelligence or to produce rumours? Take your pick.

If you read only one blog a day, you should be reading Murdoc Online. Come on. I need the hits. But if you read two, you should be reading Murdoc Online and Being American in TO. Don’t make me post about the XM8 again…

(Seriously, Debbye is on top of events and has a fair amount of great analysis thrown in with the goods. Definitely should be on everyone’s daily read list)

Free Frank Warner: From Iraqi regional caucuses, to nothing, to Iraq national caucus

U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi now says the Sistani delay means Iraq will reclaim its sovereignty with another appointed government. Brahimi in May will help pick a caretaker government of “honesty, integrity and competence,” but still lacking legitimacy.

Brahimi says that soon, possibly as early as July, he’ll try to involve more Iraqis in a “National Conference,” promoting national dialogue and consensus building. The National Conference would elect a Consultative Assembly, to advise on the January 2005 elections.

That National Conference sounds a lot like a national caucus. Which would bring us back full circle.

It is absolutely neccessary that we hand power over on June 30th. Why? Because we said we would. That’s why. Now, if there was only someone to hand it to…

Michael Williams: 9/11 on the $20 Bill

Undeniable proof that the Treasury Department knew about 9/11 beforehand. If only Richard Clarke had been Secretary of the Treasury…

Donald Sensing: Attrition

If we continue to fight the way we are fighting, we will lose. Despite having surrounded Najaf with 2,500 soldiers and the despite the Marines’ tactical successes in Fallujah and elsewhere, we do not seem to be holding the initiative. We are fighting our Shia and Baathist enemies not on our terms, but theirs.

The inability of the Iraqi police and military to significantly alter the state of affairs means we’re going to be playing these games for some time. Until the Iraqis take charge of day-to-day security and begin to buy into reconstruction as a nation, they will remain an occupied land. Regardless of ceremonial hand-overs of power. This isn’t Vietnam, but we can get there from here…

Andrew Olmsted: Stepping Up

I don’t doubt for a minute that this extension [of deployment to Iraq] will be hard on the unit, but they have the advantage of a year on the ground dealing with the situation, an advantage that could easily make the difference between avoiding an ambush or an IED and walking into it and getting more soldiers killed. For the time being, the Army is overextended, and that means we’re all going to end up having to carry more of the load.

Our military is performing stupendously, but they are stretched mighty thin. The decision to extend the stay of some units in Iraq is the right one, though, and in the long run we will be better off for it. However, it underscores the need to rethink our force levels and the way they’re organized. Two or three divisions of infantry would be nice, but then so would two or three capable Iraqi infantry battalions…