Wednesday, March 22, 2006

That's His Story, and He's Sticking With It


Reading this Consortium News article makes me think Team Bush actually had some sort of plan, at least for the casus belli in Iraq, even if it's as clear as a lovely spring day that, like the proverbial dog that catches a car, they had no clue what to do next:

In a nationally televised press conference, George W. Bush repeated some of his favorite lies about the Iraq War, including the canard that he was forced to invade because Saddam Hussein blocked the work of United Nations weapons inspectors in 2003.

Bush has uttered this lie in a variety of forms over more than 2 ½ years, yet the Washington press corps has never challenged the President directly about the falsehood. He got away with it again on March 21 when no journalist followed up the question from Helen Thomas that elicited Bush’s response...

Bush reasserted his false claim about the U.N. inspectors after Thomas noted that Bush’s pre-war rationales had turned out to be false, an apparent reference to Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s supposed links to al-Qaeda.

...Hussein accepted the U.N. inspectors in November 2002, granted them unrestricted access to suspected sites and announced – accurately as it turned out – that Iraq had destroyed its weapons of mass destruction.

U.N. chief inspector Hans Blix reported that Iraq was cooperating with his team and the U.N. Security Council thus refused to endorse Bush’s insistence on war in March 2003. Bush then rebuffed the U.N. Security Council, forced the inspectors to leave and invaded Iraq in violation of the U.N. Charter.

Yet, Bush has been presenting his bogus pre-war history since July 2003, three months after Baghdad fell, when the absence of WMD was becoming obvious and an Iraqi insurgency was beginning to kill scores of American soldiers.

In his first version of this revisionist history, Bush said about Hussein, “we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.”

When the U.S. news media failed to object to Bush’s rewritten history, he continued to spin out this lie in various forms, including at the Republican National Convention and during the presidential debates.

So, my guess is that the "rationale" for the prelude to Operation Flightsuit Photo-Op was Hussein's refusal to admit the UN investigators...but then Saddam ruined everything by screwing up his role and allowing them access to Iraqi sites. Evidently they forgot to tell Shrub--or, once locked in, he simply refuses to let facts get in the way...or maybe he knows he's lying through his teeth and no one in the syncophant press corpse bothers to call him on it.

Which, in it's own way, is instructive: it demonstrates the rather limited capacity at the top, the mouse-like behavior of the national press, and the degree to which some people will play along with the clown show even as it becomes an international embarrassment--and tragedy. After all, war isn't a parlor game: the town of Ishaqi north of Baghdad last week, Iraqi police said that US troops had shot 11 people, including five children, in their home. The local police chief, Colonel Farouq Hussein, said that all the dead had been shot in the head, according to autopsies. "It's a clear and perfect crime," he said. In an incident in the town of Haditha in western Iraq on 19 November last year, US soldiers went on a rampage in a village after a bomb attack and killed at least 15 civilians, according to witnesses and local officials cited by Time magazine in an investigation.

The US military first claimed a roadside bomb had killed a US Marine, Miguel Tarrazas, along with 15 Iraqi civilians caught in the blast. Later, a military statement said "gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire" and in returning fire the Marines killed eight insurgents.

But after Time presented the US military with what Iraqis said had happened, an official investigation found that 15 of the civilians had been deliberately killed by US soldiers.

The bomb attack on the US Humvee took place at 7.15am. Eman Waleed, a nine-year-old child, lived in a house 150 yards from the explosion. "We heard a big noise that woke us all up," she recalled later. "Then we did what we always do when there's an explosion: my father goes in to his room with the Koran and prays the family will be spared harm."

The Marines claim they heard shots coming from the direction of Waleed's house. They burst in to the house and Eman heard shots from her father's room. They then entered the living room, where the rest of the family was gathered. She said: "I couldn't see their faces very well - only their guns sticking in to the doorway. I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny."

The US soldiers started shooting in to the corner of the room where Eman and her eight-year-old brother, Abdul Rahman, were cowering. The other adults in the room tried to protect the two children with their bodies and were all shot dead. Eman and her brother were both wounded.

"We were lying there, bleeding and it hurt so much. Afterwards some Iraqi soldiers came. They carried us in their arms. I was crying, shouting, 'why did you do this to our family?' And one Iraqi soldier tells me, 'we didn't do it. The Americans did it'."

The Marines' explanation is that they heard the sound of a Kalashnikov being readied to shoot and had then fired their weapons. The Marines say they were fired at from a second house, where they broke down a door, threw in a grenade and opened fire. The eight who died in the second house included the owner, his wife, the owner's sister, a two-year-old son and three young daughters.

In a third house the Marines searched four young men were shot dead. A military investigation decided these were insurgent fighters, along with four others killed in the street.

The Marines later delivered 24 bodies to a hospital in Haditha, claiming they had been killed by shrapnel from a bomb. Dr Wahid, the director of the hospital, said: "It was obvious to us there were no organs slashed by shrapnel. The bullet wounds were very apparent. Most of the victims were shot in the head and chest - from close range."

An US military investigation decided the deaths were "collateral damage". Relatives were paid $2,500 (£1,400) for each of the dead.

Collateral damage--nice, sterile, and just as much of a lie...

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