Monday, January 10, 2005

Like Spinning Donuts in the Yard...

Or goin' muddin' in a cane field--that's my latest take on the Bush foreign policy, as this weekend brought more catastrophic success in the Middle East, even as Alberto 'Abu G. the surfboarder' Gonzales saw himself pushed from the headlines by, among other things, the trial of Spc. Charles Graner--no lie. Graner's defense, by the way, will be that his actions were sanctioned by higher ups in the chain of command...

UnFairWitness has a number of links to stories I saw over the weekend, starting with this gem from Newsweek titled "The Salvador Option." Apparently the neocons have finally realized that fighting Iraq as Vietnam redux is a losing strategy, so they've opted for Central American-style death squads:

"We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgency—as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time—than in spreading it out.

Aside: William S. Lind predicted just this scenario not long ago, taking the "break the back" metaphor and turning it on its head:

My favorite last week was the American general who claimed Falluja had "broken the back" of the insurgency. Insurgencies, like octopi, are invertebrate.

You know, at least we're finally seeing in the mainstream media--albeit in their usual lukewarm, mushy, milquetoast way--confirmation of a very sorry episode in recent US history, namely, the shameful support given by the government to cold-blooded killers in Central America (you know, like Saddam, although on a VERY slightly smaller scale):

Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)

Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions.

Nothing like fanning the flames of ethnic division in Iraq even more than they've already been fanned. But, as they say, desperate times call for desperate, apparently, killing civilians.

And, on that subject, once again, a "mistake" by US forces had deadly consequences:

An American air strike in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul has hit the wrong target, the US military has admitted. The bomb demolished a house in Aaytha, killing 14 people, according to local officials. The US put the toll at five.

The military said it "deeply regrets the loss of possibly innocent lives", and promised an investigation.

"Possibly innocent civilians?" They DON'T KNOW? Or is it that they simply can't admit it...Neither is good. One implies ignorance, which is deadly under war conditions, the other implies mendacity, which guarantees we'll either lose--or be forced to adopt tactics that amount to genocide.

Staying on the subject of civilian deaths, Today in Iraq notes that five Iraqis--three civilians and two Iraqi soldiers (our "allies") were killed when US forces opened fire following a roadside bombing. Matt notes that Faux News harkened back to the old "if it's dead it's [name your enemy here]" bullshit, initially reporting that the casualties were "terrorists." Well, I guess Faux is working on the "domestic consumption" angle...

Speaking of domestic consumption, this Boston Globe op-ed (my source: Rising Hegemon), points out something I'd come across recently in Counterpunch--that, while it's right and good to mourn the victims of the natural disaster in South Asia, our actions in WEST Asia have caused quite a bit of destruction--yet we've hardly given it a second thought:

Not once did Pelosi or any American politician say in the last two years, "God bless Iraqi civilians" or any variant. Only one time has Bush uttered "God bless the people of Iraq," and that was in announcing Saddam Hussein's capture. Not once has he asked God's blessing for the courageous civilians and the families of Iraq who had no choice but to brave our bombs.

Let us do what we can for the victims of the tsunami. But no matter how much we weep for them, no matter what donations we spare, the offerings will not spare us from history's judgment, if not God's. Lugar said his heart goes out to the victims of the tsunami. No hearts have gone out to Iraqi civilians in this heartless coverup.

Powell said of the tsunami, "The power of the wave to destroy bridges, to destroy factories, to destroy homes, to destroy crops, to destroy everything in its path is amazing." He said, "I have never seen anything like it in my experience."

Yes, he has. It was in Iraq. The tsunami was us.

Today's news, by the way, isn't much better: two more US soldiers were killed--and four were injured--by a roadside bomb. Baghdad's deputy police chief was assassinated as he left his home, and another car bomb targeted a police station, killing four and wounding nineteen. Oh, and yesterday, the head of interim president Allawi's party was assassinated as well.

I'm thinking that it's a safe bet no one mentioned any of this to the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Because he'll just wave them away. He doesn't want to hear it--or any genuine news coming from the region. Instead, Bush opts for the political equivalent of hopping into the General Lee and riding the trails of Hazzard County...

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