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Tuesday, 11 April 2006
Zarqawi: Bush's man for all seasons.
Topic: Iraq

The WaPo reports:

"The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

A pentagon briefing obtained by the Post says, "Through aggressive Strategic Communications, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi now represents: Terrorism in Iraq/Foreign Fighters in Iraq/Suffering of Iraqi People (Infrastructure Attacks)/Denial of Iraqi Aspirations."

This is not exactly news and its been going on for longer than a year or two. Atimes Online reported back on Oct. 14 2004 that the U.S. was using Zarqawi as an excuse to level Fallujah. At that time PM Iyad Allawi was threatening Fallujah with destruction unless it handed over Zarqawi. Pepe Escobar quotes Sheikh Khaled al-Jumeili, a key Fallujah negotiator, as saying that there were only a small number of foreign jihadis in the city and he insisted that they were not terrorists, but plain mujahideen.

"Zarqawi is just an excuse for them to smash the spirit of the resistance," al-Jumeili said.

Before the invasion Escobar writes that Zarqawi was a nobody, but that:

"Zarqawi stopped being a non-entity on February 5, 2003, when he was spectacularly catapulted onto the global stage - six weeks before the start of the Iraq war - by US Secretary of State Colin Powell's weapons of mass destruction speech at the United Nations. Powell used Zarqawi to link Saddam Hussein's secular Ba'athist regime to the 'Islamic terror network', and thus partly justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq."

He can run but he can't hide. We're going to smoke him out! But not really, because after all the money we've spent on building up this "master of disguise and bogus identification papers," we wouldn't want to see that all go down the drain.

There's always Muktada!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:08 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006 2:36 PM EDT
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Monday, 10 April 2006
Duck and cover day in Iraq:
Topic: Iraq

Yesterday was the third anniversary of the "liberation" of Iraq, or "Freedom Day." Next month, we'll be celebrating "Mission Accomplished Day" followed soon after by the two year anniversary of the official turnover of "sovereignty" (two days early!) to the Iraqis. The most important date to remember, though, might be the Dec. 15th elections.

It must now be clear to anyone observing the slaughterhouse that is Iraq, that those "landmark" elections have produced nothing but a fiery hurricane of death and destruction. Going into the fifth month of forming a government of "national unity," any expectations at this late date of an actual liberal democracy resulting from all this bloodshed seems just slightly naive. The media and the pundits can keep pushing the fiction that there is a solution to the political "impasse" between the Shiites and the Sunnis, but there really is no "stalemate" or “gridlock." Indeed, the Iraqis are moving right along quite well to resolve their differences politically, only not exactly the way W. & Co. expected them to. In fact, they've taken a page from Clausowitz and are conducting their politics by other means (i.e. war).

For instance: Hundreds of bodies are popping up all over Baghdad every week, presumed to be the victims of Shiite death squads, and in retaliation the Sunnis are blowing up Shiites in their mosques. Any hopes that the bombing of the golden dome mosque in Samarra on Feb. 22 was an aberration, have been dashed. The mosque bombings are only becoming even more frequent and horrific. On Thursday, 10 people were killed in a car bombing in Najaf next to the Imam Ali shrine and on Friday, three suicide bombers killed 85 people and wounded over 150 in Baghdad.

These bombings don't seem to be just random acts of mass murder, either. The bombing in Najaf took place in the same neighborhood where Ayatollah Ali-Sistani and Muqtada al-Sadr live and the attack on the Buratha mosque in Baghdad might have been targeting Sheik Jalal Eddin al Sagheer, the preacher there and a leading Shiite politician, who just last week called for al-Jaafari to step down. This begs the question: were these Sunni on Shiite attacks, or Shiite on Shiite attacks? The tribal, ethnic and religious morass of Iraq is so murky; it's difficult to rule anything out.

Even worse, if that's possible, ominous reports are starting to become more frequent of Shiah and Sunni civilians being forced to leave their mixed neighborhoods to seek refuge in areas dominated by their respective religious factions. The appearance of refugee tent cities is a dead canary in the mine if I ever saw one.

As if to put a finer point on this, AP reported yesterday that a senior Iraqi official, Maj. General Hussein Kamal (Not the one who said Saddam had no WMD) said Iraq is in the midst of an "undeclared civil war." Kamal told the AP that, "All these bodies that are discovered in Baghdad, the slaughter of pilgrims heading to holy sites, the explosions, the destruction, the attacks of mosques are all part of this." (You think?)

So what to do? John Kerry said on Meet the Press this Sunday that his plan for a May 15th deadline for the Iraqis to get themselves together or we leave, isn't a cut and run proposition. He advocates a diplomatic approach along the lines of the Clinton's Dayton Accords that brought "peace" to Bosnia. He thinks a diplomatic get together where all the powers of the region can chew over the details of a permanent Iraqi peace is the ticket out of our new quagmire. That sounds like a more constructive idea than nuking Iran, but it’s a fantasy. Can you imagine a room full of Sunni Arab dictators agreeing on turning over Iraq to the Shiites?

No amount of diplomatic pressure or threats by us is going to make any difference. It's too late. Despite Condi Rice and Jack Straw's "surprise visit" to Baghdad last weekend and their effort to put a fire under the squabbling Iraqi politicians to get their act together, the visit may have only made things worse. Kirk Semple in the NYT reported on Thursday that, "a top adviser to Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Wednesday that the visit this week" by Rice and Straw "had backfired." Haider al-Abadi said, "Pressure from outside is not helping to speed up any solution. All it's doing in hardening the position of people who are supporting al-Jaafari."

This view is not unique to the supporters of al-Jafaari. Semple writes that even politicians who oppose al-Jaafari thought the visit was a mistake. Kurdish politician Mahmoud Othman said, "They complicated the thing, now it’s more difficult to solve. They shouldn't have come, and they shouldn't have interfered." The complaint that the Americans are interfering goes for ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, too, who is quickly wearing out his welcome. His insistence that the Shiites accommodate the Sunnis is grating on Shiites who see their Sunni counterparts as nothing more than the political front of the suicide bombers.

On the 31st of March a senior cleric, Ayatollah Muhammad al-Yacoubi, denounced Khalilzad in a sermon and called for him to be replaced. He said the Americans were trying to "change the demography of the Iraqi people and weaken the strongest component in Iraq, represented by the followers of Imam Ali." Khalilzad, he said, was offering "political support" for the "political front of the terrorists."

This is the mess we find ourselves in and it's all of our own making. We can complain that the Iraqis should be listening to us because we've spent so much treasure and blood to free them from Saddam, but then again, they didn't ask us to liberate them and they certainly didn't ask us to occupy their country for so long (Freedom Day celebrations notwithstanding). For us at this late date to be telling the Iraqis to solve their own problems after we wrecked their country and put them in this position is just slightly arrogant. Who are we to be telling them what to do?

I don't know what the answer is, there are no good options. A slightly less awful option is to extricate ourselves from the middle of this centuries old blood feud before we go completely bankrupt and damage our military beyond repair. Though this might lead to Iran increasing its influence in Iraq, they would be unlikely to take over totally. The Iranians are Persians, after all, and the Iraqis are Arabs. And the Iranians won't want to repeat our mistake by getting in over their heads in Iraq, either. One upside to our getting out would be al-Qaeda being weakened. The Iraqis themselves would expel the foreign elements of al-Qaeda that are there now, so there would be no chance of Iraq becoming another Afghanistan under the Taliban. And al-Qaeda would have a hard time recruiting new fighters if the "Great Satan" wasn't there to kick around anymore. Of course, they would all congregate in Afghanistan, but, hey, we'd still be fighting them over there and not on the streets of New York, right?

This is all speculation, of course but I think this is the least terrible option.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:48 PM EDT
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Saturday, 8 April 2006
Operation Armageddon: War with Iran is on!
Topic: Bush Administraiton

SEYMOUR M. HERSH writes in the April 17th New Yorker that the Bush administration is planning for war with Iran.

He writes: "Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups.

There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change.

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was 'absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb' if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do 'what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,' and 'that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.'

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites."

So, not only are we going to bomb Iran into the stone age, we're going to do it with tactical nuclear weapons. John McCain was right, it will be Armageddon.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:35 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 4 April 2006
Operation "Great Prophet," being touted to great profit.

The Iranians have been using their military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf to good PR effect. On Friday they announced the launch of a Fajr-3 which they claim can "avoid radar and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads," according to the AP. However, missilethreat.com says:

"Previous intelligence reports indicate that Iran has used the designation “Fajr-3” to reference one of its many artillery rockets, one with an estimated range of only 45 km (approximately 25 miles). If this Fajr-3 is in fact the 'ballistic missile' that the Revolutionary Guards test-fired, then Iran would seem to have attracted worldwide attention for a test of apparently little significance."

On Monday Iran claimed they had tested a super fast torpedo, a "super-modern flying boat" that, according to Gen Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guard, is designed to hit submarines and other ships as well. "Even if enemy warship sensors identify the missile, no warship can escape from this missile because of its high speed."

Today they tested another one. These tests ocurred in the Straits of Hormuz, which is a real red line for the U.S. Navy. The Navy may be saying they're not too much interested in what Iran is up to, but you know they've got every spy plane and satallite focued on the Arabian Sea.

This "new" Iranian missile or torpedo is supossedly a re-do of the Russian VA-111 Shkval (Squall), which according to periscope.com is "A high-speed supercavitating rocket-propelled torpedo designed to be a rapid-reaction defense against U.S. submarines undetected by sonar."

If this thing can really do what it says it can do, this might be a real big probelm for us if we decide to take the military option against Iran. How likely is that you ask?

Another war for Israel?

Well, on Meet the Press on Sunday John McCain had some interesting things to say about using that option.

Tim Russert quoted McCain in the FT as saying:

"Everyone knows we’re not going to have two wars (at once). "I do not think [using force against suspected Iranian nuclear facilities] would be successful. There is no guarantee we would get all those facilities. If you have a strike and leave them with nuclear capability, you have got a hell of a challenge on your hands.’

Indeed, he told Russert, "I think we could have Armageddon."

But, "Put yourself in, in the position of the government of the state of Israel: a near neighbor who has announced his—their desire to put you out, into extinction, and they have the capability to do so. This is one—a very serious challenge."

Yes, a challenge to them, not us. This is all one in the same, though, isn't it? Not that we do the bidding of Israel or anything.

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt write in a report called the "Israel Lobby" that:

The thrust of US policy in the region [the Middle Est] derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical."

What rot! Just because a senior adviser to Bush, Philip Zelikow, who was the executive director of the the 9/11 commission said in 2002, said that the invasion of Iraq was mainly for the benefit of Israel, why would anyone believe this tot?

Zelikow said, "Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 -- it's the threat against Israel.”

George W. Bush seems to agree when it comes to Iran He saidin Cleveland on March 21st:

"The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. That’s a threat, a serious threat. It’s a threat to world peace." Yes, the whole world is threatened.

"I made it clear, and I’ll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel."

Because, that's what they're there for.

Whereas John McCain seems to find "Armageddon" in a war with Iran as a draw back, it appears to be a selling point for W..

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:50 AM EDT
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Saturday, 1 April 2006
Thousands of figurative tactical errors.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

Boy, whoever thought a U.S. Secretary of State would have so many problems on a visit to our best friend in the world the UK? Condi Rice has been dodging anti-Iraq war protesters from the minute she landed. Jack Straw wanted to give her the royal treatment in his home constituency, but that plan hasn't turned out so well. The British foreign minister's name might not be a household word in Alabama, but an international warmonger like Condi is world famous for the blood on her hands.

A visit to a local mosque in Blackburn was called off on 'fears of an invasion' by anti-war Muslims; a football match she was supposed to attend was rescheduled to avoid her; Paul McCartney declined to meet her and when she went to the school that he attended in Liverpool instead, a half a dozen students lined up at the front door with t-shirts that read, "No torture, no compromise." Protesters outside the school chanted, "Hey, hey, Condi hey, how many kids did you kill today?" [Guardian]

Even a former Foreign Minister under Margaret Thatcher, Lord Hurd, in a speech at the empty football stadium said, "The world only works if the world's only superpower follows the rule like everyone else." Hmmm...I wonder who he was talking about. For her part, Condi said she was used to this sort of thing. "I've see it in every city I visit in the United States." Of course, she's so beloved and so many people support her policies that no matter where she goes at home or abroad she has to avoid massive protests.

I don't know if it was the constant pounding she was taking form the demonstrators or if it was the jet-lag, but at one point in answer to a question about the Iraq war she said the Bush administration had made, "tactical errors, a thousand of them perhaps, I'm sure." But it was all OK she explained because the overall strategy of getting rid of Saddam had worked. "Saddam Hussein wasn't going anywhere without a military intervention," she said. It's nice to see she has such faith in the Iraqi people to take control of their own destinies. (If Daddy Bush hadn't signed off on letting Saddam use his helicopters after he surrendered in the Gulf War maybe they would have had a chance to get rid of him on their own.) Later, one of her spokesman she was only speaking figuratively.

What the hell does that mean? She said her and her buddies had made thousands of tactical errors in a war W. keeps insisting is going great; "lessons learned" and all that, not thousands of tactical errors. It's lucky this bunch wasn't around when we were fighting Hitler. He made thousands of tactical errors, too, and you see where it got him. Unbelievable!

Meanwhile, W. was busy explaining things to the foreign press:

"I'm the funny guy. Go ahead"

Global Warming?

"We -- first of all, there is -- the globe is warming. The fundamental debate: Is it manmade or natural. Put that aside."

Foreign interference in Iraq?

"Syria is a complicated issue because of Lebanon. It's not complicated, actually, it's quite clear what needs to be done." Kaboom!

On remembering history:

"It's what Americans have got to understand. We tend to forget. Ours is a society where things are like instant, so therefore, history almost is like so far back it doesn't count."

On his upcoming visit to the G8 summit in Russia:

"And so I'm pretty confident...that I be in a position where I'm able to walk into the room with the President of Russia and him not throw me out."

Elections in Egypt:

"I appreciate the fact that there were elections in Egypt. That's positive...I think Egypt is a -- has a chance to be one of the leaders of the freedom movement in the Middle East."

[News item: "The Egyptian parliament Tuesday postponed local elections for two years despite opposition from the United States and a leading fundamentalist group, a state-owned newspaper and lawmakers said."

Progress for girls in Afghanistan:

"Afghanistan -- it's obvious -- when you have a society in which young girls weren't allowed to go to school because the Taliban thought it was like against humanity to send girls to school, and now they can, there's an amazing change in that society."

[News itemNews Item: Girls scholl's attacked in Afghanistan]

More figurative tactical errors to come....

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:12 PM EST
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Thursday, 30 March 2006
In Palestine:

Hamas officially took control of the PA yesterday and the U.S. now says it won't deal with any agency in the government. They're terrorists, you see, wouldn't be prudent. (Now we really have an excuse not to deal with the Middle East peace process.) I'm just wondering about the apparent double standard here. I mean, how many people has Hamas killed in the past year compared to the Shiite militias in Iraq? Hamas has maintained a ceasefire with Israel for over a year and after being democratically elected by a large majority of the Palestinian people, they managed to very efficiently form a government in about two months.

No one is saying that Hamas is some great enlightened Jeffersonian operation that is being victimized by the Israelis ---far from it ---but they are the party in control, they have the support of the Palestinians and, at the very least, they're a lot less corrupt than Mamoud Abbas' Fatah party. International donors can be more or less assured that their financial aid is actually going to the poor and not winding up in Swiss bank accounts.

In Iraq:

By contrast, the new Shiite majority in Iraq ---after over three months pointless point scoring and non productive squabbling --- have just announced they're not going to lift a finger to form a government because they're mad at us for an attacking one of Moqtada al-Sadr's militia compounds. This is the same Moqtada al-Sadr who killed a fellow cleric and waged two rebellions against us that caused the lives of dozens of U.S. troops. They're mad at us!

One of PM Jaafari's top spokesmen, Haydar al-Abdadi, went so far as to imply that the U.S. was responsible for the hundreds of mutilated bodies with bullets in the back of their heads popping up all over Iraq. He seems to think there are Iraqi army units solely under our control that are going around abducting Sunnis and killing them. Naturally, it couldn't be militias associated with the main Shiite political parties doing all this right under the noses of Iraq's democratically elected leaders. No way!

Back to Palestine:

After thirty years of brutal occupation, intifadas, suicide bombings and other acts of man's inhumanity to man, there is a chance that things may be going in the right direction in the Palestinian/Israeli "peace process." Instead of following Israel's lead, who once again is claiming they have no peace partner, we should use our influence to get both sides to moderate. Cutting off one side and just allowing the Israelis to unilaterally set the borders and do whatever the hell else they want to do, isn't going to lead to a lasting peace. Once and for all we should tell the Israelis that they can't pick and choose who they will and won't talk to. For better or worse, Hamas is there now. If Sharon had made even the slightest effort to work with Abbas, or we had insisted that he did, we wouldn't be in this position of having to deal with Hamas.

Back to Iraq:

Meanwhile in Iraq, it looks like they're on there way to thirty years of suicide bombings and even more brutal acts of man's inhumanity to man. W. & Co. really screwed the pooch by backing the religious fanatics. By L. Paul Bremer going along with Ayatollah ali-Sistani's approach to elections in an effort to quickly get out of this quagmire, he only hastened the breaking up of the country up into religious and ethnic blocs. Redressing centuries of wrongs done to the Shiites at the hands of the Sunnis and establishing majority rule is all well and good, except in a place like Iraq.

The BBC reported today that there may be as many as 30,000 Iraqis on the move in the country. Sunni and Shiites are moving from their homes in mixed neighborhoods into refugee camps and into the homes of their families in order to keep from getting killed by the various rampaging militias bent on cleansing those neighborhoods. Once this process is over, then the politicians can demarcate their green lines and get on with their civil war in earnest.

But all of this is something future Iraqi leaders and U.S. presidents can deal with. W. will have his presidential library fully stocked with picture books by the time things are settled in Iraq.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:34 AM EST
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Wednesday, 29 March 2006
Back the Sunnis?
Topic: Iraq

Nancy Youssef and Waren P. Strobel in the Inquirer report today:

"U.S. officials sent a message this week to Iraq's senior Shiite cleric asking that he help end the impasse over forming a government and strongly implying that the prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, should withdraw his candidacy for reelection, according to U.S. officials.

The unusual decision by the White House to reach out to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani suggested how eager the Bush administration is to jump-start negotiations that have failed to produce Iraq's first permanent postwar government more than three months after national elections."

Or in other words, we're out of ideas. We've got nothing. Once again we're crawling in suplication to Ayatollah ali-Ssitani to dig us out of the hole we're in.

The report goes on to say that Scott McClellan denied reports in Baghdad that president Bush had written a letter to Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim. You remember, al-Hakim is the leader of Sciri, whose armed wing the Badr Brigade is accused of rampaging around Iraq killing Sunnis. The NYT reports that the U.S. military now believes that the Shiite militias are more of a problem that the insurgency is.

So why would the president be writting letters to one of the leaders of those militias, you may ask. It's because we attached our star to the wrong bunch to begin with. The leading Shiite party led by al-Hakim wants to split the country up into three pieces. The Sunnis want Iraq to remain one nation. Say what you will about the Sunnis and their past rule, but at least they're nationalists and more secular for the most part.

I said it along time ago and I'll say it again, we're going to eventually wind up backing the Sunnis. The Shiites may be the majority in Iraq, but the Sunnis are the majority around the region. If we ever expect to get the help of our Arab allies in the Middle East, we're going to have to back the Sunnis.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:38 PM EST
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Tuesday, 28 March 2006
A.C. Grayling and his great plan for victory in Iraq.
Topic: Iraq

The NYT published an astounding column by A.C. Grayling in yesterday's edition that really got me wondering what the hell their thinking about at the Times these days. Grayling started out alright by writing that a watchful press should make sure U.S. forces in Iraq are adhering to the "doctrine of distinction," a basic law of warfare that requires the military to distinguish combatants from noncombatants to make sure the latter are protected.

This is all well and good, but then Grayling launched into a twisted historical analogy of the British war against the Mau Mau in Kenya in the 1950's as an example of what he thinks we should do to "dry out" the insurgency in Iraq. The British colonial strategy for fighting insurgencies involved "physically moving a civilian population from troubled areas into camps,” or draining the pond in which the insurgents swam. The camps in Kenya "into which civilian population was 'drained,'" he writes, "were usually comfortable villages with good amenities and became an element of the hearts-and-minds aspect of the campaign."

Let's just stop here for a moment and get into the way-back-machine and find out exactly what the British did to the Kenyans:

Ashley Pettus writes in Harvard Magazine:

"British soldiers herded nearly one million of them into detention camps and 'emergency villages,' where they endured forced labor, starvation, torture, and disease. At least 100,000 died. When the British left Kenya in 1963, they destroyed all official files relating to their crimes...brutality was common and took place at every level, ranging from electrocution and mutilation to beatings and various forms of sexual assault and humiliation. Many of the women forced to labor on so-called 'poor relief' projects on the reserves died of exhaustion and disease. Others found their babies had died while strapped to their backs during work brigades. Both British officers and loyalist African guards raped women with impunity."

[See also Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya by Caroline Elkins]

Besides, the fact that the British waged a vicious campaign against the Mau Mau that almost wiped out the entire population, there's also the American experience in Vietnam ,which Grayling, I guess, just forgot to mention. We've tried this "draining" the pond strategy before and it met with abject failure. And on top of that, this has already been tried in Iraq in the aftermath of Fallujah II and despite the check points, ID cards and retinal scans, the insurgents are still operating inside Fallujah with relative ease.

The problem then and now is that rounding up whole populations up and putting them behind bars only reinforces support for the insurgency, which wouldn't have been able to operate in the first place if it wasn't for the majority of the population being full square behind the idea of expelling the occupier. Grayling finishes up by writing that, "An insurgency cannot be defeated, only damped down and eventually ended through a political settlement. This hard truth has to guide efforts in Iraq, the sooner the better."

With this I agree, but so far our quest for a political settlement through elections and the creation of a constitution has only exacerbated the sectarian and ethnic divisions inside Iraq. A political solution now seems more distant then ever before. After the assault on Fallujah that left a city of 300,000 in ruins and the de facto imprisonment of its population, coupled with the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the consequent degradation of our moral standing in the world, I hardly think putting Sunnis in concentration camps is a strategy for victory.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:20 PM EST
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Monday, 27 March 2006
That was then, this is now. Picking a new fight with Moqtada
Topic: Iraq

As if things weren't going well enough already, now it looks like we might be going into round two with Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi army. Yesterday, U.S. Special Forces and the Iraqi cannon fodder army apparently stormed a Mehdi army headquarters in Baghdad ---which we called a "terrorist cell" ---and somehow managed to kill a bunch of "insurgents" or militia members or maybe civilians and an 80-year old Imam inside a mosque in the northeast of Baghdad. [NYT] The facts are still sketchy, with the U.S. claiming they were barely involved and didn't attack the mosque at all the Iraqis not saying much of anything on the subject. Something tell me, though, we probably had a much larger role than what we're letting on, but we can't be seen to be taking sides in this non-civil war.

See, the problem is that al-Sadr was the target of a mortar attack near his home in Najaf just hours before this raid took place. Al-Sadr may be connecting the dots at this point and be thinking we're out to get him. Since he's a major power broker in the negotiations to get a "unity government" going --- which will lead to peace and tranquility and our departure --- getting into a hot war with him at the same time we're fighting the Sunnis and al-Qaeda, might not be the best situation to be in. Military spokesman Maj. Rick Lynch says, "Sometimes it's hard to sort out who's killing who," amidst this non-civil war, but in this ever expanding Arabian nightmare we might find out pretty soon that everybody is out to kill our guys in particular.

Adding the Mehdi army to our list of enemies would pretty much double the number of people we're fighting right now and put a quick end to W.'s rosy predictions of a big draw down of forces by the end of the year. That scenario must be especially worrying to congressional Republicans on the election trail who are trying to get Iraq off the front page in their home towns, where the war is becoming ever more unpopular.

The reason I say we probably had more to do with this "incident" at the mosque is because I don't buy the fantasy W. is peddling that the Iraqi army is doing a great job and is increasingly able to operate on their own. The NYT reported in the same article about the raid, that 40 bodies were found dumped near the highway between Baghdad and Baquba, 30 of which were decapitated.

So, I guess, that crack Iraqi army W. is so fond of talking about fearlessly moved in to secure the area and pick up the bodies, right? Not exactly. "Iraqi Army troops waited for American support before venturing into the insurgent-controlled area to retrieve them. 'It's too dangerous for us to go in there alone,' said Tassin Tawfik an Iraqi army commander." Boy, you really get the feeling the Iraqis are ready to stand up so we can stand down, don't you? These bozos can't take a whiz without our air and logistical support. Why would anyone think that they took on the Medhi army all by themselves, while we only sent a few "advisers" to look over their shoulders? Are these the same "advisers" that were giving the ARVN a leg up in Vietnam by any chance? Give me a break.

Someone very smart recently said that a policy that leaves you no options is no policy at all, referring to W.'s contention that our policies in Iraq are working out great. We have no option in Iraq. If we leave it'll be a disaster and if we stay it will be a disaster. Not only are the Iraqis, who we're relying on to take over for us, incapable of operating without our support, but now we're on the brink of being dragged into a full-scale civil war with them being the only ones on our side in this thing.

And even then, we can only really trust the units made up of the Peshmerga, because the Shiite units are infested with troops who are connected to the Medhi army and the Badr brigade. And how long can we count on the Kurds if they decide to take over Kirkuk while we're busy in Baghdad and Anbar? They might have to redeploy to their northern border to deal with the Turks, who are already not exactly impressed by our lack of interest in their little PKK problem problem.

And then there's the Iranians, remember them? If we're too busy dodging all the various factions bent on killing us, the Israelis just might decide at some point very soon Iran has crossed that red-line they keep talking about and take matters into their own hands.

But the Italians will help us, though, right? NO? They're leaving? The Brits? Oh crap, they're leaving too. Well, there's always Romania.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:57 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006 12:21 PM EST
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More evidence that Bush was trying to avoid war. Riiiiight!
Topic: Iraq

The NYT reports that even as W. was telling the world on January 31 2003 that," Saddam is not disarming. He is a danger to the world," he was telling Tony B-liar privately that he didn't expect any WMD to be found before the invasion. According to previously leaked memo of the January meeting, W. was trying to come up with a way to get Saddam to fire the first shot in order to justify the invasion to the world.

The memo says, "The U.S. was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted with U.N. colours." This was W.'s great idea apparently. "If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach." Another Bush brainchild was that, "The U.S. might be able to bring out a defector who could give a public presentation about Saddam's WMD." (Who, Curveball?) Keep this little tidbit in mind over the next few months as W. tries to come up with an excuse to attack Iran.

Even though W. was initially reluctant to even bother going to the U.N. early in 2002, he was apparently pressured into going the U.N. route at some point, maybe by Daddy. Thus the first resolution that was passed authorizing inspections ---but not an attack as the defenders of Bush keep claiming. Security Council resolution 1441 threatened "serious consequences" if Saddam failed to comply, but not military action per se. (Keep this in mind also as W. and his wrecking ball Co. try to get similar wording into a new resolution against Iran.) The memo says the idea behind the second resolution was that it "would give us international cover, especially with the Arabs." The Brits seemed to be the ones most intent on getting some sort of international sanction for this highly illegal maneuver. Bush for his part thought he had God on his side, so he didn't need no stinkin' badge. Even so, Bush agreed that the U.S. and Britain should attempt to get another resolution but time was running out.

You see, after all the preparation involved in getting ready for the war W. supposedly didn't want ---starting way back in Dec. 2001 when Rummy started taking money earmarked for the war in Afghanistan and moving it into the Persian Gulf ---the military was ready to go and nothing could stop the time table. Certainly not some namby pamby legalistic fig leaf the limeys were asking for. The memo says Bush told his British "partner" that, "The U.S. would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and twist arms and even threaten. But he had to say that if we ultimately failed, military action would follow anyway." Of course, you see how Saddam forced him into this?

Well, that was then and this is now.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:45 PM EST
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