March 27, 2007

Red On Red In Iraq

Iraqi Sunni insurgents have begun turning on their former friends in al-Qaeda, to the point of open combat in some areas, according to Sunni politicians and insurgent spokespeople. The development gives hope that the Iraqi factions will reject foreign terrorists and that the conflict can provide an opening for the end of the native insurgencies:

Insurgent leaders and Sunni Arab politicians say divisions between insurgent groups and Al Qaeda in Iraq have widened and have led to combat in some areas of the country, a schism that U.S. officials hope to exploit.

The Sunni Arab insurgent leaders said they disagreed with the leadership of Al Qaeda in Iraq over tactics, including attacks on civilians, as well as over command of the movement. ...

Insurgent leaders from two of the prominent groups fighting U.S. troops said the divisions between their forces and Al Qaeda were serious. They have led to skirmishes in Al Anbar province, in western Iraq, and have stopped short of combat in Diyala, east of Baghdad, they said in interviews with the Los Angeles Times.

Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has taken responsibility for many of the most brutal attacks on civilians here, is made up primarily of foreign fighters. Although it shares a name with Osama bin Laden's group, it is unclear how much the two coordinate their activities.

Zalmay Khalilzad spoke about this on his last day as US Ambassador to Iraq. On his way to becoming the UN Ambassador, Khalilzad spoke about his efforts to reach out to the various insurgent groups since early last year, with varying degrees of success. The efforts had paid more dividends of late, mostly in the effort to fight off foreign terrorism, which has more to do with the lunatic bloodthirstiness of AQI and its predilection for indiscriminate killing.

Take the smaller Ba'ath remnant group with the long name, General Command of the Iraqi Armed Forces. They abruptly starting combat operations against AQI after two of their leaders got killed by AQI in Ramadi. The more well-known 1920 Brigades in Diyala hasn't had that problem, but they have tired of attacks on mosques, the slaughter of civilians, and even the targeting of non-security state services. Their spokesperson says they will "counsel" AQI to change their ways, but see the relationship at a "dead end", a particularly bad choice of words.

In its way, the Iraqi government proposes to do what Vladimir Putin did in Chechnya -- induce the native insurgents to change sides. Instead of fighting the representative government of Iraq in order to recreate the dictatorship of a dead man, the Shi'ite-led government wants the Sunni insurgents to act as their proxies against the foreign terrorists of AQI. That seems to have gained momentum, as Sunni politicians have thrown their weight behind the notion and as the pressure from the Shi'ite militias has lessened since the beginning of the year.

Potential hurdles still exist. The Sunni insurgents want to force the Iraqi government to recreate itself "from square one," according to a Shi'ite member of Nouri al-Maliki's party. The Shi'ites will resist that idea, and rightly so. The plans for the government came from an elected body of representatives, elected while the Sunnis boycotted the polls. Now they want a do-over, and it's too late for that. However, they can participate in elections now and offer amendments to their constitution to address their needs. The Shi'ites will have some desire to be flexible in exchange for an end to the factional fighting in Baghdad and the west.

The split between AQI and the natives could bring about a national reconciliation, if properly managed. Nothing unifies a people like a common enemy -- and AQI's brutal nature has made them an almost universal foe in Iraq.


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Comments (42)

Posted by George [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 6:23 AM

Free Frank Warner, the blog that recognized the Increasingly Popular War in Iraq contrary to numerous statements by the MSM stating the exact opposite is at it again. Apparently, the war is again increasingly popular. Don't expect to hear about it in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Reuters, ABC News, USA Today or the Boston Globe.

Posted by sam pender [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 6:23 AM

Operation Make Popcorn

Posted by PapaBear [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 7:20 AM

The great weakness of these groups is that they tend to break up over disagreements about who is to be in charge.

Indeed, the Shiite/Sunni conflict began over how the successor to Mohammad was to be chosen (Sunni:elected, Shiite:hereditary descent from Mohammad)

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 7:30 AM

"Potential hurdles still exist."

Potential hurdles? Right now, it's smooth sailing, but things may pop up to hinder progress?

And why are you running a story from the LA Times? I thought you were of the opinion that they didn't employ journalists? Why do you trust this reporting?

Oh yeah, you like what it's saying.

OK, to the real issue here. I don't know, both Sunnis and shi'ites have been against AQ for a while now. I've always thought this was the best bit of hope that Iraq has and one reason that I bristle at the notion that Iraq would become an AQ safe-haven if US withdraws most of it's troops.

I do see a will from Iraqis to fight AQ. What I don't see -- yet -- is a strong will to stand up and fight for the Maliki government.

The civil war is the biggest issue in Iraq. Perhaps a communion between the two sides will occur to battle AQ, though I don't think that's very likely, and if it did happen, may be short lived.

There needs to be a political solution in Iraq, and right now, that doesn't seem very close. I think part of the problem is the US presence there. Iraqis can't fully get behind the current government because they feel it's just a proxy to the US. Iraqis don't feel that they own their own country. I don't know that they ever will with a large US military force holding it and the government together.

Posted by fdcol63 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 7:45 AM

Tom Shipley said:

" ... I think part of the problem is the US presence there. Iraqis can't fully get behind the current government because they feel it's just a proxy to the US. Iraqis don't feel that they own their own country. I don't know that they ever will with a large US military force holding it and the government together. ..."

When someone says something like this, it makes me wonder just HOW the Germans were able to cope with almost 300,000 US forces stationed in their much more densely populated, and less open, country.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 7:56 AM

Well, FDCOL63,

First of all, you must understand the Germany 1945 and Iraq 2007 are COMPLETELY different situations.

First and foremost, we had the moral authority in WWII. We waiting to enter... probably too long. We entered because Hitler had taken over much of Europe and was bombing the hell out of our closest ally.

Our invasion of Iraq was not prompted by any aggression, but upon our belief that Iraq was a POTENTIAL threat to us. You know, the whole pre-emptive war thing.

With Germany and Japan, they were aggressors and we defeated them. Their citizens knew this, and I believe in some sense, knew we were on the right side of things. Also, in Germany's case, we helped save the part we were occupying from Russian control.

With Iraq, WE decided to INVADE them and install our own form of government.

That's the difference. It's a big one.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 8:01 AM

You also have to keep in mind a couple other factors...

The Germans and Japanese had also been fighting for years before we got to their countries. That had fought their battles and lost. They were defeated.

That's not really the case with Iraq. Our invasion was the START of combat.

You also have to take into account the cultural differences and history which I don't have time to get into right now...

Posted by fdcol63 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 8:02 AM

Tom Shipley,

As one who was stationed there for 2 years during the Reagan era, I fully understand and appreciate the various differences.

Which is precisely why I don't agree with your basic premise.

Posted by danforth323 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 8:14 AM

tom shipley your comments are filled with kerry nuance. hair splitting trivia serving as cover for handcuffing criteria. its like saying afghanistan was a sovereign nation which we had no right to invade. how about there was a problem there we needed to address? too much on the common sense side i guess...

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 8:18 AM

A few threads ago the so-called Conservative Democrat, who is certainly a Democrat but I am sure is doing a “Moby” on the Conservative part, cited T.E. Laurence in proclaiming that nationalism was the driving force among Arabs. This was more a product of Laurence’s fervid imagination then the reality on the ground. Arab culture is tribal not national. What we see in these Red-on-Red clashes is Arab tribalism in action. Low level civil war is probably the natural state in the Arab world as tribes engage in centuries long feuds. Stanley Kurtz has written a series of articles on Arab/Muslim marriage customs in the National Review that may provide some explanation for this aspect of Arab/Muslim culture..

It is unfortunate that Laurence’s view of the Arab world has dominated the West’s view of the Middle East because it produced an overly romanticized view of Arab culture and projected unrealistic expectations upon them. As I posted on a dead threat that Col Richard Meinertzhagen, who was Gen Allenby’s Chief of Intelligence, had a more realistic view of the culture. Unburdened by Laurence’s idealized view of the “Arab Nation” Meinertzhagen saw the Arabs as unreliable and untrustworthy and was instrumental in convincing both Churchill and Balfour to support the creation of a Jewish homeland.

Posted by TokyoTom [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 8:27 AM

Ed, there are some wise remarks here:

"The split between AQI and the natives could bring about a national reconciliation, if properly managed. Nothing unifies a people like a common enemy -- and AQI's brutal nature has made them an almost universal foe in Iraq."

But can you think of any presence that is easily seen in Iraq as a "common enemy" or a "universal foe"?

Is there any reason to think that we are uniquely situated and gifted to pull Humpty Dumpty back together again there, or are we merely enabling the demagogues on all sides? Nothing can hold divided peoples together unless they want to, and when we leave, they will have to find a modus vivendi. And oil is preeminently fungible.

Posted by Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 8:28 AM

Our invasion of Iraq was not prompted by any aggression, but upon our belief that Iraq was a POTENTIAL threat to us. You know, the whole pre-emptive war thing.

I get it! We should have waited another five years so when Hussein had nuclear capabilities to pass on to AQ or some other faction and dropped one in the US to the tune of a couple million murdered-------then it would be different?

History may very well record that this "whole pre-emptive war thing" was a good idea.

Of course, this whole question of creating a democratic nation in the ME will be debated for generations. And calling it "our own form of government" is a strech.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 8:54 AM

"its like saying afghanistan was a sovereign nation which we had no right to invade."

No it's not. Afghanastan had closed ties to and harbored an organization who carried out a direct attack on the US.

there's no comparison.

And if your criteria for invading a country is "there's a problem we need to address," well we would be justified in invading just about any country.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 9:01 AM

"History may very well record that this "whole pre-emptive war thing" was a good idea."

Obviously you could be right. I don't think it will, though.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 9:11 AM


I appreciate that your were in Germany during the 80s.

But the fact is that there was not the resistance to our presence in Germany that there is in Iraq.

The question is, why? And I think the points I made are pretty good ones in try to see why there is a difference.

I'm not sure what basic premise you are disagreeing with. Do you not think there was very little resistance to US occupation of Germany after VE day?

If you do, I'm not sure what premise you disagree with.

Posted by johnnymozart [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 9:30 AM

With Germany and Japan, they were aggressors and we defeated them.

Exactly what American interest did Germany attack before they declared war on us?

Do you not think there was very little resistance to US occupation of Germany after VE day?

No, there was.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 12:42 PM

Yes, there are significant differences between Iraq in 2007 and the two occupied Axis powers of 1947.

First and foremost, both Germany and Japan were defeated in the most unequivocally crushing manner imaginable. There was absolutely no doubt that further resistance was beyond rational consideration except by the most microscopic groups of psychotic dead-enders. Iraq was conquered by the most parsimonious of force economies, to the extent that the occupation that followed was grossly underserved and large numbers of armed people saw the "victors" as vulnerable.

Second, there is indeed a big difference between occupying a highly developed and industrialized country like Germany and Japan, and one still on the edge of a tribal vs national social organization. The locus of allegiance in Germany and Japan was unequivocally national, while that of Iraq is splintered and diffused between tribal and ethnic and sectarian and national and in some cases even down to the level of the clan. In Germany and Japan, the state structure was already there and all we had to do was reform it and repopulate it. In Iraq, we have to start at a much more fundamental level. We not only have to build a state, we have to build the idea of a state.

But after all this is done, it mostly misses the point at issue; we don't have the option of quiting! The notion that we can just throw up our hands and say "Too hard!" and take our ball and slink off home, is a hopeless fantasy. To attempt it would doom some future generation to the inevitable fate of starting the same task over again, at much greater and more costly disadvantage. The truth is, is that there is no OUT out there. The world is too small for that now!

This war was begun and is being fought for the purpose of changing the world, not to pursue some bandit group for its perpetration of one atrocity. We are out to eliminate terrorism as an instrument of state. We are trying to fix a problem, not simply contain it or manage it or accept it as a part of life.

The strategy adopted to obtain that goal is to force regime change in those nations that use terrorism as a weapons delivery system in pursuit of their national policy goals. At the beginning of the conflict, we identified three countries that everyone agreed fell into this description; Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Iraq was susceptible to direct military action, North Korea was susceptible to diplomatic action through its neighbor and mentor China, and Iran is susceptible to the traditional American policy of sanction and containment.

Iraq was invaded because it was a state sponsor of terrorist organizations, and the fact that it had an active WMD program that EVERYBODY on the planet could see, just made the case more urgent.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 1:50 PM

This nonpartisan liberal finds it very frustrating that the leading Democrats cannot temper their various legitimate criticisms of the Bush administration with an acknowledgement of reality. What is going to happen after a pullout? If you schedule withdrawal in late '08 (how convenient), how is that different from just going along with the current plan? To stage an effective opposition to the admin, a party does not need to effectively pit itself against success, yet that has happened and this chicken will certainly come home to roost.

We not only have to build a state, we have to build the idea of a state.

This is certainly one of the key oversights of the Bush admin. It was assumed that democracy had a fundamental appeal for any society, no matter its current status with respect to religious factions, social organization/tribalism, and lack of physical security and economic stability. It is not the failure to solve these issues in one fell swoop that is haunting us now, it is the failure to even try in a tangible, visible way. It seems that Petraeus has brought with him a greater canniness on these issues, but prior to him there seems to have been nothing but contempt for the political dynamics at play within the population. Talk about ignoring the 800 lb. gorilla.

Germany and Japan, by contrast, were uniformly physically and morally devastated before we set to rebuilding them. They also had infrastructure and the framework of an organized unified society. In other words, they were ready to be rebuilt into a single civil society and accepted the U.S. as the entity that would guide that process.

It is clear that democracy as a concept does not have a universal pull on all people, e.g. in Iraq. The cold war might have left us with a slightly inflated impression of the attractiveness of liberal democracies, but there were issues of raw power at play there as well, and those issues have been left to fester in Iraq. However, it stands to reason that time and suffering will breed rational behavior from the Iraqi mainstream, if the U.S. is there to offer a carrot for the rationally inclined. Without the U.S. there will be no option except extremism and escalating tribalism. That does not mean it will work, but sitting on the sidelines crying about the lack of guarantees in life promises bigger problems in the future.

Posted by Fight4TheRight [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 2:27 PM

It seems to me that there are very few if ANY Arab/Muslim countries that support anything close to an equal proportion of Sunnis and Shia. The Shia are such a minority globally and so when you see them "in power", it is almost an exclusively Shia country - such as Iran. That was what was so unique about the Saddam Hussein years - a Sunni minority ruling a Shia majority (and we all know how that was accomplished).

AQ in Iraq (which of course is Sunni) first started running into issues with the Sunni insurgency when AQ decided to target Sunnis perceived as "collaborators" with the new government.

I truly wish the future Iraq could become a jewel of democracy in the Middle East but in my view, to believe that the Sunnis and Shia can get along, let alone govern side by side is far fetched.

It's my humble opinion, that the only factors that adhere the Arab world together right now are the unifying assault on Israel and the perceived theat/persecution of the West.

If I had a crystal ball and could look 5 years into the future, I truly think you will see the Kurds say "we're outta here" and secede and the Sunnis will in essence break off into something resembling the Kurdish situation right now - and the government of Iraq, the country as perceived by the world will be Shia. The HUGE "if" in all that is how much "meddling" is done by the Saudis, Iranians and Syrians.

The other night, after reading up on the latest irrationality of the Iranians and their kidnapping of the British sailors/marines - I fell back into an old bad habit of trying to figure these people out and I found myself reflecting back to an old movie (probably unknown you the younger crowd here) - that movie, "Midnight Express", was my first exposure into some of the workings/beliefs of these countries - I'm going to try and find that movie and watch it again, i'm afraid it was right on the money (i.e. the American prisoner's tirade in the Turkish court).

Posted by Frank Warner [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 2:34 PM

When President Bush went to the United Nations to make his case for action against Saddam Hussein on Sept. 12, 2002, the first U.N. resolution he cited was Resolution 688.

U.N. Resolution 688, part of 1991 cease-fire agreements to halting Saddam’s war of aggression against Kuwait, required that Saddam also end his repression in Iraq. Well, Saddam didn’t end his repression. He continued murdering and torturing his opponents and their families. He continued acts of genocide. He continued to deny Iraqis the right to speak freely or to elect their leaders in fair elections. He also let hundreds of thousands die of sickness and starvation while he was stealing billions of dollars from the Oil for Food fund.

Saddam’s repression was a violation of Resolution 688. It was a violation of the cease-fire. And every cease-fire violation was, in effect, a declaration that war had resumed. Saddam invited the invasion.

As far as the WMDs, it was not the world’s obligation to prove Saddam still had them. It was Saddam’s obligation, under terms of his U.N. probation, to prove he didn’t have them and that he had no plans to build them or acquire them again. He didn't prove it, and he didn't cooperate with others trying to find out.

Saddam killed most of his victims with conventional weapons and ancient means. But four years ago, I for one was relieved that no WMDs turned up to interfere with the liberation of 25 million people.

As for the myth that Iraqis are the only humans on the planet who don’t want to be free, consider this. On Jan. 30, 2005, the Iraqis came out in the millions, in the face of all-too-credible death threats, to vote for a democratic National Assembly to replace Saddam’s fascist regime.

About 8.4 million Iraqis cast votes, many of them walking to the polls with their children and proudly holding up their purple-stained fingers as evidence of their courage and hope.

Never before in human history had the majority of a whole nation risked their lives on the same day in the cause of freedom. Never.

Saddam’s repression has ended. Thanks to hundreds of thousands of American liberators, Iraq will be free.

These liberators will replace tyranny with a secure democracy, the world’s only proven chance for freedom and a lasting peace.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 2:35 PM

Midnight Express - yes, that is definitely one that leaves an impression. (shiver)

I am also wondering if anyone can break down the main issues regarding the potential federalization of Iraq. I heard Joe Biden speaking pretty persuasively about this a week or two ago, and have wondered in the past why it has seemingly been written off as an option, in the relative absence of other options. Has this not essentially worked as a stopgap to stop civil war in eastern Europe? I understand Turkey's objections, but would imagine that can be addressed somehow.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 2:55 PM


"Federalization" really never worked in Eastern Europe. In once case Czechoslovakia, which was a federal republic, defederalized in a no fault divorce and became two separate states. In the other, a truly Federal Republic self-destructed when first the Catholic minority and then the Muslim/Albanian minority split off from the Orthodox Serbian majority. What we are left with is a Slovenian state, a Croatian state, a soon to be Albanian and then ultimately a pure Muslim state and one so-called “federal” state in Bosnia that is destined to ultimately fracture. Serbia, the rump of the former Federal Yugoslav Republic ends up as the only multi-ethnic state in the former country.

By analogy, Iraq will end up splitting into three states, Kurdistan, Basra and the Triangle. Perhaps this tribalism is the best solution to short run stability but in the end it will unleash a host of other problems.

Posted by viking01 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 3:35 PM

Someone has forgotten that the Democrat congress and FDR had far less interest in the welfare of mainland Europe until Hitler had perturbed Walter Duranty's beloved Uncle Joe by invading Russia. WW II began in 1939 we didn't start applying force in quantity until 1942 and 1943. That was after a lengthy build up of defense forces previously neglected in preference of bloating big government. Remember what Billy Mitchell went through pointing out the needs for increased defensive strength. Had we delayed war involvement for another six months then Hitler's Final Solution would have been completed and something secret (but Truman would have recognized) would have arrived in London atop a V-2 instead of by Enola Gay over Japan.

The only similarity I see between the Third Reich, The Rising Sun, and Islamofascism is a world domination imperative which in their heart of hearts constitutes nothing but communistic nihilism. Germany had Rommel and Canaris who eventually realized Hitler sought world destruction instead of anything called victory. Fanatical Islam sees suicide as glory.

Those airliners flying into the World Trade Center weren't attacks on the buildings those were attacks on civilization. An ignored enemy gets stronger and spreads wider. I'm appreciative that Bush addressed that fact using force. I do wish he'd forget pleasing the PC types or hippie media whores and use overwhelming, unrelenting, merciless force to make the Islamofanatics fear the mere thought of raising a scimitar in anger against the Eagle. That is what we had to do to retake the South Pacific from the Bushido death cult which had fanaticized Japan.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 4:29 PM

A little item of historical speculation on the above post: What does anyone suppose the American domestic political landscape would have looked like if Hitler HADN'T invaded Russia? How would the left have reacted to Pearl Harbor if the Nazi-Soviet Pact had been still in effect? How unified would we have been?

Just a thought!

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 5:07 PM

I think the more apt question is how would the right have reacted, as the America First movement was the driving force behind keeping us out of the war for so long.

Roosevelt wanted in, but most of America did not. And America First led that charge fervently, even opposing the lend-lease program.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 6:58 PM


That's an easy one. The left supported the Nazi-Soviet pact and did their best to undermine Roosevelt's effort to aid the allies. Remember, the left did what ever Stalin told them to and when he was Hitler's buddy, he was our little reds buddy too.

The left fought for Stalin in WWII not the Untied States. Had he made a seperate peace they would be as vocal against WWII as they are against the GWOT. The major difference between then and now is that the Democrats were a pro-America party while today the people who fought for Stalin run the Party.

Despite Mr. Shipley's protestation, the Communists and their leftist sympathizers were more of a threat to the US then the America Firsters. Remember the Firsters folded up shop and fell in behind war effort on Pearl Harbor day.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 8:50 PM

So if Hitler hadn't invaded Russia on June 21, 1941 then the vocal Left Wing of American politics would have remained solidly behind Hitler and against even the slightest aid to Britain. And when Pearl Harbor was attacked some five-and-a-half months later, and the vocal Right Wing opposition to the war collapsed, the Left still would have loudly protested any action against Germany.

The upshot of this little exercise is to reconsider the mythological "National Unity" that we all look backward toward as some kind of American Golden Age of patriotism and unqualified unity around the war effort. It wasn't based on a shared patriotism or love of America per se, but an accident of history caused more by Hitler's megalomaniacal blindness and the American Left's love affair with Stalin.

An interesting point to ponder: the left has always hated America, from the very start of the movement to this very day.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 9:16 PM

Jerry, just for your information I believe abortion should be banned except for rape or incest, I voted twice for Tommy Thompson (R) for governor, I believe in a strong military and have been married to the same woman for 25 years, maybe I'm not conservative enough for you, but in the current Democratic party I'm in the conservative-moderate range. Please do not disparge me, I don't badmouth you. As far as Sunni attacks on AQ, Juan Cole said a year ago that even though the two teamed up against their common enemy, that 5 minutes after the US left the Sunnis would kill every last AQ member in their midst. This I believe. The bad part is that the Sunni would still try to regain control over the country. Thats a blood feud that goes back too far. Wouldn't a partition plan have some chance of working if the oil revenues were shared. And Jerry I'm a history buff, and I could be wrong, but from what I've read about Arab history, there IS strong arab nationalism.

Posted by viking01 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 27, 2007 10:25 PM

Had FDR's interests in the coming war extended much beyond improving his awful economy then he never would have appointed Bootlegger Joe Kennedy as ambassador to Great Britain or kept him there until well after the Anschluss or Poland. FDR's blindness about Guernica is equally troubling.

It is well known to history that Kennedy's chummy attitude towards Germany's ambassador von Dirksen often caused Kennedy to be referred to as Germany's best friend. It wasn't until 1940 that Papa Joe was replaced by FDR. Not long before Adolf hoodwinked Uncle Joe just as the NY Times and other media had hoodwinked many in America about Uncle Joe. It is interesting how much the KGB files have revealed about the Communist Party's pro-Stalinist activities when he was still allied with the Reich and throughout the war (Klaus Fuchs) and beyond (Kim Philby). Menzies had his hands full fighting the pro-Nazi commies AND the pro-Stalin commies.

Charles Lindbergh and others were hesitant about war involvment because they knew our aging Stearmans were no match for Focke-Wulfs and Messerschmitts. Again it was a realization that the Left's big-government spending typically neglects the military which Pearl Harbor and Bataan demonstrated how much FDR had neglected our defense forces. That's why I mentioned Billy Mitchell because he was railroaded for telling the truth.

SanFran Nan Pelosi, Angry Hillary, Schumer, Reid. Biden, Chappy Kennedy, and Jay Rockefeller are hardly conservative-moderate except in Havana so I'll skip that argument.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 6:37 AM


Well Pardon me for doubting your credentials. Your anti-Republican rhetoric appears to be a chip off the old KOS-block. Conservative Democrats sound more like Senator Hagel when they criticize the war then like Barbara Lee.

I don’t know what histories would give you the sense that there is a real Arab Nationalism. Every attempt at creating one has foundered on tribalism. Remember what happened to Laurence’s dream of Arab Unity at the end of WWI? Arab tribalism caused the conference to founder. Arabs are tribal and their marriage culture reinforces it.

The Sunnis may try to take back the government but they won’t survive the attempt. They constitute less then 20% of the population and they don’t have a monopoly on force. See today’s news for what will happen to them if we withdraw.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 7:07 AM

"Charles Lindbergh and others were hesitant about war involvement because they knew our aging Stearmans were no match for Focke-Wulfs and Messerschmitts."

Charles Lindberg and America First were hesitant about the war because they thought America shouldn't be involved on principle, not lack of fire power.

And Lindberg especially, while not necessarily pro-Nazi, had a view that Nazi Germany, Britain and France could co-exist.

There were also MANY corporate leaders in bed with the Nazis prior to the war because the regime was good for business. A lot of these people were conservative.

It's funny, FDR is basically the Godfather of Liberalism. And even though he wanted America to join the war effort, and even though conservative led the effort (that was supported by most Americans) to stay out of the war, we have conservatives today saying liberals were the ones not wanting to fight WWII.

And while history is much more complex to say liberals/conservatives were for/against entering the war (truth is most Americans were against it in the wake of World War I), Roosevelt did want to enter the war, while conservatives spear-headed the America First campaign.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 7:42 AM

"So if Hitler hadn't invaded Russia on June 21, 1941 then the vocal Left Wing of American politics would have remained solidly behind Hitler and against even the slightest aid to Britain."

Lew, it was the RIGHT in the US that was against aid to Britan:

"The Lend-Lease bill, despite its controversial content, was no exception and it passed by a vote of 260-165. Only 24 Republicans voted for it, with 135 against it."

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 8:28 AM

Mr. Shipley:

Doing what ifs based on counterfactual history is always difficult but we can still make some educated guesses based on some know facts. Here is what we know; the America First movement ended its opposition to entering the war when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor because after all they were first and foremost Americans. The country was attacked and they got behind the President.

We also know that from the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in mid August 1939 until June 22, 1841 were agitating against Roosevelt’s attempt to aid the allies. They did their best to delay and obstruct aid going to the UK under both cash and carry and lend lease programs. They weren’t going to allow the US to aid the Capitalists who were resisting Stalin’s good friend in Germany. It was only when Hitler double-crossed Stalin that they turned on a dime and demanded immediate US entry into the war.

The America First Movement was not motivated by sympathy for the Nazis. It was a reaction to the US experience in the Great War where many believed we were duped by British propaganda and war profiteers into taking sides in a European war that was none of our business.

The left was motivated by a desire to advance Communist ideology set forth by Joseph Stalin. Throughout the war the left followed Stalin’s marching orders and exerted what pressure they could to force Roosevelt to change Allied strategy to meet Soviet needs.

So I think we can accurately access what the left would have done had Hitler not invaded Russia or if Stalin had made a separate peace. They would have done what the Communists in France in 1939-40. They would have undermined troop morale, interfered and sabotaged war production and taken to the streets to oppose Capitalist war.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 8:50 AM

Mr. Shipley:

One more thing, your equation of left with Democrats and right with Republicans is merely an assertion that today’s political divisions held sway 60 years ago. That is a false assumption. In 1940 the Democratic Party was dominated by Southern Klu Klux Klan Democrats who were in general to the right of your average isolationist Republican. Back then the Republicans were more “liberal” on many issues then were Democrats, in particular the Republicans were the champions of civil rights while the Democrats favored the status quo of Jim Crow. Much of the New Deal was good old fashion pork barrel politics that we claim to decry to today. The real division in politics of the day was between the pro business free market Republicans and rural, small town and labor oriented Democrats. However, both parties stood pretty much at center of American politics. When we talk about the left in 1940 we mean the Communists and their fellow traveling socialist friends. This is the group that has held the balance of power in the Democratic Party since 1972.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 8:56 AM

Lew, there were some on the left who supported communist Russia under Stalin. Just as there were some on the right who supported Hitler and the Nazis.

But once the full-extent of the viciousness of both men and regimes were known, that vast majority of that support disappeared in both instances.

I just find it telling that you're bending over backward to justify the rights stance prior to WWII while vilifying and misrepresenting the left's. It's kind of a joke. When you're in the mood to be intellectually honest, let me know.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 9:20 AM


I see that Mr. Shipley is using the standard leftist trick of ignoring those arguments he cannot refute.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 9:21 AM

Sorry, that should be Jerry, not Lew.

And Jerry, it's good you have the storyline down to justify your hatred of the left.

Fortunately, I decided a while back not to deal with people like you, so have a good one.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 9:28 AM

Oh come on, Jerry.

this is what you said:

"That's an easy one. The left supported the Nazi-Soviet pact and did their best to undermine Roosevelt's effort to aid the allies. Remember, the left did what ever Stalin told them to and when he was Hitler's buddy, he was our little reds buddy too."

First of all, Republicans were staunchly against FDR's aid to our allies. Second, you're just spouting BS. Yes, many on the left supported the what was going on it Russia, many of them coming from Russia.

Support for communism at the time also stemmed from the atrocious way American workers were treated at the time.

But your supposistion that "the left" would not have backed war against the Nazis to defend France and Britain if their pact with Stalin held is a giant leap fueled by an obvious and irrational hatred of the left.

Again, I don't have the time to deal with people like you.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 9:38 AM

And your'e right Jerry.


"The left was motivated by a desire to advance Communist ideology set forth by Joseph Stalin. Throughout the war the left followed Stalin’s marching orders and exerted what pressure they could to force Roosevelt to change Allied strategy to meet Soviet needs."

Is an argument that can't be refuted because A) you don't support it with any fact. B) Is irrational.

SOME on the left, not many, were Stalin supporters. And again, most when they discovered his methods of murder, did not support him any longer.

Just as SOME on the right supported Hitler and the Nazis prior to the war -- even to the point of opposing our intervention in Europe.

It's just so tiring to deal with people like you who are out to attack the opposite party instead of having a rational discussion.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 10:08 AM

Mr. Shipley:

I see you succumbed to the desire to show your intellectual superiority. How quaint. You should have left it alone.

First of all, try acknowledging or refuting my assertion that today’s political divisions between the parties did not hold back in 1940. Both parties included factions that today we would call left or right. For example, Carl Vinson and champion of national defense and support to the allies in the period before Pearl Harbor would be identified by you as “rightwing” by today’s standards. See:

Vinson is the very model of a New Deal supporting Klu Klux Klan Democrat
On the Republican side Tom Dewey would be seen as a mainstream Liberal today.
So dividing up leftwing and rightwing votes by the Party alignments in 1940 makes no sense. In reality both parties lay in the middle of political spectrum at mid-century.

You also fail to either acknowledge or refute the proposition that the America First Movement was motivated by the US experience in the Great War and not by any love of Hitler. When the left opposed the war it was not concerned with America’s interests but by its allegiance to an ideology espoused by a foreign power. Your attempt to confuse the point by saying some America Firsters supported Hitler and some leftist supported Stalin; and that Left = Democrat and Right =Republican is a typical of leftist attempt at using moral equivalency to justify your own politics. If some on the “right” supported Hitler then it was ok for some of us leftist to support Stalin.. By the way the number one supporter of the Nazis in American political life was Joseph P. Kennedy a loyal Democrat and by your definition a man of the left. So I guess that the left supported both the Nazis and the Communists.

So I must say that you are either intellectually dishonest as the left has historically been or incredibly ignorant of history. Both seem to go hand in hand on the left.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 10:22 AM


No, I do acknowledge that both the left and right has shifted since 1940... i just didn't address your post because you do take some fact and skew it in a propogandic talking point.

I don't think I'm intellectually superior. And actually, you may know a lot more than myself about history, I don't know. I can just spot someone with an agenda, and yours is to twist whatever historical fact you can find to disparage the left.

Again, i don't have time to get into your game.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 11:35 AM


Your final comment is so typical of the Left. You are so used to debating in a closed environment that you cannot deal with other points of view so you run away. At least I got you to acknowledge that you cannot clearly identify Left and Right by Democrat and Republican in 1940 which in itself represents a backing off from your attempt to prove that the left supported Roosevelt on his pre-war policy.

If you really are interested in getting away from "propaganda" you might want to look at all post cold war archival work that clearly shows that left was not concerned about the atrocious conditions in the US but was financed, controlled and directed from Moscow for the benefit of the Soviet Union. It never ceases to amaze me that the left continues to argue positions that are directly contradicted by Soviet archival material.