80% of the way toward chaos

Central Command doesn’t agree with the White House: the guys in uniform think Iraq is circling the drain.

Now that John Kerry’s incompetence at stand-up comedy is no longer dominating the news, can we start paying attention to the huge story Kerry’s gaffe stepped on? A leaked slide from a Central Command briefing completely blows away all the happy horsesh*t from the White House about “progress” in Iraq.

disaster in iraq.jpg

Here’s the story from the New York Times

Note what passes for the good news: the rate of “mass desertions” from the Iraqi Security Forces is down, though the rate of sectarian conflict between/within ISF is up.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

7 thoughts on “80% of the way toward chaos”

  1. The pushback is already rolling on this: the slide is a "classified document" and by publishing it the NYT has confirmed itself as a hotbed of treason.
    Cranky

  2. Classified, yes.
    Classified for exactly what reason?
    There's nothing in here that isn't available in public sources. There is only one reason for classifying a synthesis of public sources. First, that it tells folks that the people wearing the uniforms in the Pentagon think things are beyond SNAFU, and beyond FUBAR.
    BushCo doesn't want US to know that the military thinks things are this f***ed up. Hence the classification. No national security interests are compromised by this document. Personally, I find it reassuring to learn that somebody in that funny building has a handle on things.
    BC

  3. > Classified for exactly what reason?
    Well, yeah, _I_ agree with you there!
    I am just commenting on where the Mighty Wurlitzer(tm) is going to take this by Monday.
    Cranky

  4. Dear Mark: I regard this chart as a cry for help from the American military. "Please voters, help get us out of this."
    In 2004, the CIA made the same plea and the voters ignored them. This time….
    Armies have more guns than spies. I am not casting any aspersions on the patriotism of the American military when I point out self-preservation is the first law of institutional nature as well as human nature.
    There have been many other societies where a military under the same stress as ours would've ALREADY overthrown the civilian government.

  5. I hadn't seen the full image before (with the key reads and additional indicators).
    I have to say reading the key is a bit confusing. Given GW's need to have things spelled out precisely, I hope the presentation was better than the figure.
    For example:
    -Political/religious leaders increase public hostile rhetoric
    – Unorganized spontaneous mass civil conflict
    You might think these were problems by definition, but they're the only issues marked "routine" (green). So are they non-existent, or just minor issues compared to the real problems of the country?
    -Army ineffectual
    and
    -Kurdish accelerate moves toward secession
    These are only yellow, so can we just ignore those for now?
    The only Indicator in the red is low level violence motivated by sectarian differences. Considering how far into the red the "Index of Civil Conflict" is, I'd have to guess that's the big problem. But it sounds so unimportant. "Low level violence"? "Sectarian differences"? Nothing an anger management counselor couldn't take care of.
    Maybe "Sectarian death squads control the streets" would have been a better caption.

  6. "Now that John Kerry's incompetence at stand-up comedy is no longer dominating the news, can we start paying attention to the huge story Kerry's gaffe stepped on?"
    Only if you apologize first.

  7. It's been displayed very nicely for us this week.
    John Kerry is incompetent at standup comedy and George Bush is incompetent at everything else.

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