Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Still More Withdrawing From Iraq

Commentary By Ron Beasley

I don't know why this isn't getting more play:

U.S. Planning to Slash Iraq Embassy Staff by Up to Half

Less than two months after American troops left, the State Department is preparing to slash by as much as half the enormous diplomatic presence it had planned for Iraq, a sharp sign of declining American influence in the country.

I would think the cons would be raising hell about this.

The expansive diplomatic operation and the $750 million embassy building, the largest of its kind in the world, were billed as necessary to nurture a postwar Iraq on its shaky path to democracy and establish normal relations between two countries linked by blood and mutual suspicion. But the Americans have been frustrated by Iraqi obstructionism and are now largely confined to the embassy because of security concerns, unable to interact enough with ordinary Iraqis to justify the $6 billion annual price tag.

The swift realization among some top officials that the diplomatic build-up may have been ill-advised represents a remarkable pivot for the State Department, in that officials spent more than a year planning the expansion and that many of the thousands of additional personnel have only recently arrived. Michael W. McClellan, the embassy spokesman, said in a statement, �over the last year and continuing this year the Department of State and the Embassy in Baghdad have been considering ways to appropriately reduce the size of the U.S. mission in Iraq, primarily by decreasing the number of contractors needed to support the embassy�s operations.�

Mr. McClellan said the number of diplomats � currently about 2,000 � is also, �subject to adjustment as appropriate.�

I wonder if this has something to do with the threat that Israel will attack Iran which could turn the diplomats and contractors into hostages.  I think we all know what side Iraq will take.  The bottom line is the Iraqis don't like us.


  1. Maybe it has to do with chicken wings, Ron.
    After the American troops departed in December, life became more difficult for the thousands of diplomats and contractors left behind. Convoys of food that were previously escorted by the United States military from Kuwait were delayed at border crossings as Iraqis demanded documentation that the Americans were unaccustomed to providing.
    Within days, the salad bar at the embassy dining hall ran low. Sometimes there was no sugar or Splenda for coffee. On chicken wing night, wings were rationed at six per person. Over the holidays, housing units were stocked with Meals Ready to Eat, the prepared food for soldiers in the field.

    If you have along tail it's apt to get stepped on.

  2. The bottom line is the Iraqis don't like us.
    That's putting it very mildly - the bottom line is that they hate and despise the government and people of the country that first raped and then brutalised their country.

  3. You're exactly right, of course. I shouldn't have been so flip.
    Here are a couple of serious links supporting what you said.

  4. I haven't seen this career limiting article mentioned by Bernard Finel (http://www.bernardfinel.com/) much: http://armedforcesjournal.com/2012/02/8904030.
    It would seem that these horses shit wars have been going on long enough for the middle level officer corps to start showing tears in its fabric. Not a great sign, if the article is any indication, for a professional army. Wonder what the CinC, aka the guy who loves to salute without a hat on, thinks. And when will sensible people, if they will with a professional army, start to ask who will be the last killed in this particular dust haven. Maybe the bloodlust crowd should be drafted to start planning a swell funeral for the last corpse out.