Who are the neocons:
Another excellent essay by Steve Clemons on politics within the Bush admin and its effects on foreign policy. The commentary from other readers is worth a visit -- here's a choice bit: "I believe that many of the decisions [Bush] made President have turned out badly for the same reason he made bad decisions as a businessman: he's never been confronted with the consequences of failure. Every time he failed in business, family friends bailed him out, and he suffered no real setbacks. In politics, friends are still bailing him out: the excellent RNC PR apparatus is in high gear. As a result, the President seems to have developed the bad habit of making decisions based on instinct rather than careful analysis." The commenter makes a good analogy to VC's Tim Draper and Jeff Osborn. 1:50:28 PM
Juan cole on clans:
"I think the Americans are gradually incurring feuds with all the major clans of Iraq, and this is undesirable. Americans are individualists, and don't understand clan societies. How many Americans are close enough to their cousins even to ask one for a loan? But many Iraqis would risk their lives to protect or avenge a cousin.
Ernest Gellner argued that it is industrialization that breaks up the clans. If you have factories all over the place, going in and out of business, then individuals are pulled away to them by the work opportunities. Clans and clan solidarity depend on people staying put, either on farms in villages, or in close-knit urban neighborhoods. Iraq's industrialization never proceeded far enough to really break up the clans, and many have emigrated jointly to city neighborhoods, keeping their ties even in an urban environment." I think this applies to many pre-industrial societies, not just those in the Arab world.
"If you want a stark visual account of what is going on in Najaf, look at the pictures at Karbala News.net
. The pictures of people walking or marching show Shiites hurrying to Najaf in hopes of forming a human shield around Muqtada. Most are self-explanatory. Mostly these kinds of images are absent from US mass media reports" 1:36:00 PM