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Chapter 162

November 15, 2013
Posted at 11:24 am

One typo (there/their) and one omission (God bless the Marines along with all the others).

I had several comments on the validity of the Iraq/Kurdistan/Turkey scenario. Here's a few of my responses:

1 - Turkey is trying to make nice with the Kurds. The PKK has had a low level guerilla war with Turkey for decades, but in 2012, Erdogan began legitimate negotiations with the Kurds, and the response has been quite positive. A de facto cease fire has been in effect for most of 2013. The Kurds have a lot of oil and Turkey wants it. The situation is still tense, but this is a tangible improvement. Who says that Carl couldn't have pushed something a few years earlier?

2 - Iraq didn't have chemical weapons when we invaded in 2003, so how come they have them in 2006? Speaking as a former chemist, mustard gas is one of the easier poison gases to make. They could easily make some mustard gas in 3 years. Note that in earlier Iraqi attacks on the Kurds, they freely used mustard gas, even though they also used nerve gas.

3 - The figures for the Iraqi army are legit. In 2003, on the eve of the American invasion, the Iraqi Republican Guard consisted of half a dozen mechanized and armored divisions, plus roughly another division of the Special Republican Guard. They were the cream of the crop, and the only troops that Hussein really trusted. They formed the backbone of his assault into Kuwait in 1991, and were the core of his strength afterwards. They totaled about 75,000 troops, about 850 T-72 tanks, and lots of other armored vehicles. Continued slow growth from 2003 to 2006 would legitimately allow a force size as I mention in the story. In the event of any hypothetical attack into Kurdistan, they would have been the assault force.

4 - Carl can't send diplomats anywhere in Air Force One, since the plane only gets that name when he is onboard. Technically quite true, but to the average person and broadcaster, meaningless. To the average person Air Force One is the big white whale of a 747. While there are other planes available both to the White House and the State Department, sending diplomats on the 747 gives them an immediate boost in prestige. This has been done more than a few times, and is what coined the phrase 'shuttle diplomacy' when Kissinger did it.