Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Buck Shot, Buck Fever, Bungling and Dick Cheney

By now almost everyone has an opinion on VEEP Cheney's shooting a lawyer in a hunting accident. One recent poll had 56% of those polled sympathizing with the VEEP in his moment of self-inflicted tribulation... This is in spite of the fact that he was clearly negligent. It is of course possible that poll reflected more a general contempt for lawyers than pity for the VEEP.

Cheney's tour de force as VEEP has been the stuff that is usually found in myths, because it is fraught with disbelief.

As the story goes, GW Bush picked Cheney to head a committee to find a vice presidential candidate as a running mate in 2000---guess what? He picked himself. At the time, despite the temerity, it seemed like a good idea... GW Bush was callow-head big money with family name recognition behind him; but was at best a provincial, regional figure, so Cheney would provide gravitas to the ticket.

Cheney took over the administration of national security and energy policy once elected, and dominated it. Apologists for President Bush like to point out that the president is a Harvard Business School graduate trained to delegate authority, but fail to mention you never delegate responsibility. So Cheney's blunders are in fact Bush's. The exception is that GW Bush did not shoot the lawyer.

Remember Cheney brought tons of falsehoods that helped Bush justify the invasion of Iraq. These consisted of WMDs, contacts between Al Qaeda and Iraq, yellow cake uranium ore, Iraqi oil revenues to pay for the war, no expectation of an insurgency, and limited economic cost of the war. On top of this, his office was key in outing a CIA agent to cover the administration’s tracks on the Yellow Cake fiasco. Libby, his chief pistolero, is under indictment for cover up. Cheney is up to his ears in the Iraqi debacle.

As far as Mr. Cheney’s expertise on energy--when he took power, oil was less than $30.00 a barrel; now it bumps $70.00. Exxon has a record year in profits. Venezuelan Chavez, taunting Bush, sells cut rate oil to poor people in the Northeast US--gasoline at the pump is $2.50

No bid contracts to prosperous Halliburton corporation in Iraq and in Katrina reconstruction are disgusting, and in some instances, now coming under legal scrutiny--Mr. Cheney left the CEO job at Halliburton to be the VEEP or did he?

Cheney has been off point for the last five years. In a recent poll, 45% indicated that the VEEP did not have the best interests of the US at heart. This is startling.

Maybe all this failure has impacted; clouding his judgement when shooting quail. We know the VEEP shot the lawyer, but did he hit the quail? The record to date is silent on the issue. Some believe Mr Cheney suffered from buck fever when he blasted his 78-year-old hunting companion. Buck fever is defined as "nervous excitement of an inexperienced hunter on the approach of game". In the February 20th edition of the WASHINGTON POST, J. Turner writes "Medical studies show that hunters often experience a type of physiological frenzy in the presence of game--or its illusion ......a male’s heart rate can reach 118% of maximum heart rate "

Mr. Cheney's admission of the proverbial beer before the hunt, combined with his heart medicine may explain the delay reporting the incident to avoid routine testing by law officials..

Given the fact the VEEP passed on going BANG BANG with six deferments during the Vietnam war, it is apparent he does not like to shoot at things that shoot back. If he still needs the rush provided by the smell of gun powder and the sound of weapon discharges, he may want to try hovering over Fallujah in a US helicopter for two minutes.

The great irony of Mr. Cheney is that in the Bush aggregate he is by far the most outstanding leader. His record as a US congressman, Chief of staff for President Ford, and Secretary of Defense under the GHW Bush administration during war, clearly demonstrated his leadership. With his authoritarian style, he does not need a cackling staff to make decisions. I like his style in avoiding the gushing press spot light. In the last five years, Mr. Cheney's process in making decisions is not in question. What is in question are the disastrous decisions he has made. It is not his ability to fire, but to aim. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Three Who are Making a Revolution--Chevez, Morales and Fidel

Three who made a Marxist revolution in Russia were Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky. The first two died with their boots off. Trotsky was murdered by an assassin sinking an ice ax into his head in Mexico. Their revolution caused the eventual destruction of Imperial Russia that took over two centuries of Czars to build, relentlessly with blood and iron. Though the Russian Marxist dream fell from its own torpid weight in about six decades, it left a legacy. A legacy which continues to bedevil the US.

Three countries have emerged that have adopted the Russian revolution as a guide to action. Castro Cuba, Chavez Venezuela, and most recently, Morales Bolivia. All three are anti-American and seek to expand their trio with other Latin American states. Their candidates for membership are rapidly expanding with leftist regimes in Brazil. Uruguay, Argentina and most recently, Chile.

Mexico's Fox is not a member of the leftist club, but he absolutely delights it with his velvet invasion of the US by flooding the US with illegal aliens. . . So far the estimates of these exceed 12 million. This unregulated influx will develop into an internal security problem for the US. Illegal aliens already fill US prisons disproportionately for crime committed in the US.

Latino attraction to the authoritarian Leninist Marxist model as opposed to the leftist Social Democratic approach to rule, found in economically developed Europe is based on how economic and political power is applied in their underdeveloped countries... Once Marxist Leninists have control, either by revolution or the ballot box, they reorganize the police and army and develop new internal security apparatus. The press is gradually brought under regime control. Sometimes there is arbitrary land redistribution. Nationalization of key industries, in most cases, without compensation to previous owners is always part of the formula. Social structure is usually inverted with the former oppressed becoming the new oppressors These regimes usually fall either through their inefficiency, lack of talent or by counterrevolution--seldom through the ballot box.

Castro is the leader in the new Marxist trio. Most in the world are astonished how he has survived in power... especially with US political and economic antagonism. Many even believe he was involved in the conspiracy that killed President JF Kennedy--President Lyndon Johnson believed this until his death.

JFK inadvertently helped Castro make him what he is today. Despite apologists for Kennedy, his Bay of Pigs invasion flop and the subsequent missile crisis cemented Castro's power. JFK moved US missiles from Turkey targeted on the USSR and pledged to the Russians not to invade Cuba, if Khruschev would move his ICBMs out of Cuba. There was not much left of the Monroe Doctrine when JFK came along. He most certainly presided over its burial by permitting the continued Soviet penetration of Cuba..

Castro won his bones as a Marxist leader. He foiled internal dissent and counterrevolution elements by encouraging emigration to the US by plane and boat loads, or ruthlessly killed and imprisoned his opponents. He reorganized his economics through nationalization and created new leadership cadres from the underdogs. He fought for the Soviet Union in the Angolian war of national liberation and was active in other areas of Africa and in Latin countries. He was supported by massive Soviet aid. When this ended, he rebuilt his economy by attracting Canadian and European investments. He now is very cozy with Red China in trade and there are rumors the Chinese have taken over the old Russian communication intercept site at Santa Maria on the edge of Havana,

Until Chavez came along Castro's role among the Latin American countries was moribund. His initial success in Nicaragua with the Sandinistas was crushed by the Reagan administration as was Castro's power play in Grenada.

When Chavez won an election in Venezuela, he turned to Castro for brain power. And Castro jumped at the chance with alacrity, Chavez has turned bitterly anti-American. The same now has happened in Bolivia with the election of Morales. In power little over a month, Morales has stopped US-sponsored eradication of cocoa crops. He said cocoa is okay but cocaine is not! Large national gas reserves in Bolivia surely will be a target for nationalization

Castro, always nettlesome for the US, has taken on a new threat proportion as his influence grows with Chavez and Morales--.Castro just had sugar, cigars, rum and very pretty women as resources, Now with Chavez and Morales as clients, he has oil and natural gas, both important to US energy requirements, that he can influence.

China, a Communist country, now based on the shoulders of the Panama Canal, is providing an economic shield for the trio. If military support is needed, bet on China coming to their aid

Jozef Stalin is the hero of the three who are making a revolution. He is credited with winning the war against Hitler and the industrialization of Russia. He ruthlessly brought order to Russia, built gulags and deported whole nationalities to Russian Asia.. He killed millions during collectivization. He was by any standard a monster. Despite this, today 56 per cent of the Russians agree that Stalin may have made some mistakes, but did more good than bad.

As the trio's troika is pulled around Latin America spiritually by Stalin, materially by the Red Chinese, and by the energy of the dissatisfied Latino masses, you have to wonder what GW Bush is doing about all this--very little--his administration cannot even go quail hunting without screwing it up. Robert E Bartos Colonel USA Ret

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Ayatollas, Iran and the Bomb

One incontrovertible lesson the world learned by President GW Bush's invasion of Iraq is that your nation better have nuclear weapons or buckle to US mandates. Saddam had none... His offspring are dead. His power gone. And he will be hanged unless he crushes a cyanide capsule between his molars.

Bush's foolish invasion of Iraq has insured that the Iranian Ayatollas will have the BOMB, or alternatively, go down fighting desperately attempting to acquire it. Unlike the Libyans who agreed to give up their nuclear programs under US pressure, the Iranians fervently believe the BOMB will set them free.

Gone are any hopes of a nice, neat surgical US or Israeli surprise air strike with bunker busting bombs that will destroy Iranian nuclear bomb making capabilities and command and control centers There is no expectation that after such a strike the Iranians would return blissfully to weaving spectacular oriental rugs and enriching themselves, quietly pumping oil for engines in Europe and Asia.

First, there are serious doubts the US targeting intelligence is up to finding all the Iranian nuclear producing facilities. If found, there remains a question whether they can be destroyed. On this one, Bush has to skip his addiction to faith based intelligence or accepting that twisted crap from Mossad that projects mostly Israeli interests. He has to get it right the first time, because the gloves will be off as the Iranians launch suicidal counterstrikes--these may come in the form of WMD the air strikes missed. There will be regional economic blows and military actions by Iranian general purpose forces--Probability of terrorist alerts inside the US will be raised as the hysterical Ayatollas would go for broke and lift all constraints. On top of this, world wide Islamic reaction would be violent-look what happened when it took exception to a Danish cartoon!

There are cogent reasons the Iranians are paranoid about US military intervention in their country. Apart from the lesson of deposed Saddam facing the gallows, the US has military forces on the Iranian borders in Afghanistan and Iraq. Additionally, it has based naval and air forces in the old Trucial states on the Persian Gulf, where it also fields CENTCOM, a forward, air conditioned US joint forces battle command--the high command for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And let us not forget Bush raised the temperature of the Iranians by branding Iran as an Axis of Evil.

Contrast Ronald Reagan's cake baking gambits during the Iran Contra Affair to the House of Bush's two wars in Iraq, and you clearly understand recent failures of US the Persian Gulf .

Assumption is Iranian retaliation will be strategic and tactical. Strategically, Israel will be hit by Iranian missiles. Most likely many of these will have WMD warheads. If the Iraqis could strike Israelis with low speed, obsolescent SCUD missiles during Gulf War I, the Iranians will succeed in the launch of some of their modern long range missiles, Oil production in Iran will be stopped, maybe internally sabotaged by the Ayatollas. The Straits of Hormuz most likely will be blockaded at least temporarily, interrupting oil transport from other Gulf states. Meanwhile, the US would raise its terror alert and watch its stock market tumble as America anticipates a retaliatory blow to its heartland. Price of oil would skyrocket. Tactically, the US troops in Iraq would be turned into staked goats... Powerful Iraqi Shiite militia leader el Sadr vowed he would fight if Americans attacked Iran, and he would be massively augmented by fanatic fighters from Iran. Ambassador Bremer recently explained the vulnerabilities of US supply lines in Iraq, so there is no question el Sadr could cause serious problems for US operations in Iraq. Basra oil production and distribution would be halted.

US military intervention, therefore, would be madness. The ayatollas will have the BOMB. The diplomatic kabuki at the UN buys more time for the Iranians to produce the nuclear materials. Iranians have been working on the BOMB since 1980, when Abdul Qadar Khan from Pakistan provided them technical knowledge. You can assume North Korea and perhaps China have aided the Iranians as well. The Iranians have long range missile delivery systems as of a few years ago-- weapon warhead testing can be bench tested on computer models, or deep underground or in another country.

A nuclear free zone in the Middle East is absurd as long as Israel has the BOMB. Mutual Assured Doctrine will be fashionable again. North Korea, Pakistan, Israel and India now own the BOMB, and it has not been employed. No one except the US has pulled the nuclear trigger. The concept of a nuclear weapon free world is admirable, but just utopian. As far as US Intelligence community, they estimate that it will take years for the Iranians to have the BOMB, ignore it . These guys have not been right since GW Bush has been president. The Iranian BOMB is imminent.

For the foolishly aggressive neocons to be right when they said the military intervention in Iraq would be a "cakewalk", they have to add "when compared to the invasion of Iran". Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

George W. Bush in Freefall
President Bush's failure to anticipate the Hamas victory in the Palestinian Territorries is just another step in cascading US national security blunders in the Middle East. Americans deserve to ask why the President continues to bungle with such regularity

Answer is that he has outsourced his formulation of US Middle Eastern policy to Israel . If that was not bad enough, it now appears that intelligence analysis and collection in this area are also not fully under his control To our new National Intelligence Czar--Where were you on this one Ambassador Negroponte? However, you still have to fail far more monumentially to win the George Tenet Slam Dunk Award.

Under the aegis of Israel, with the support of the Israeli lobby and leaders of the Christian right, the US went along with crippling Arafat, leader of the Fatah Party . At the end Arafat was a prisoner, powerless. After his suspicious death, his party became dependent on US funding and transfixed by promises of the return of Gaza and small pieces of the West Bank.

Return of these territories was in Israel's long term interests, and a majority of Israelis agreed--the Palestinians would not submit to the Israeli boot without more bloodshed, and continued military occupation was just not cost effective. Moreover, there were demographic problems in the future for Israel if it was to maintain a Jewish majority .

The Bush administration was central to the evacuation of Gaza. It provided funds to reimburse Israeli settlers for their homes , most of which were cannibalbized for parts and subsequently razed. At the same time the Fatah Party was encouraged to hold down attacks on Israel, and using US handouts, to cooperate in the peace process . Bush, certain that the Fatah Party would win the parliamentary elections, insisted they proceed as quickly as possible.

Both the Bush and Israeli goverments made a major miscalculation . Instead of the pliant Fatah Party taking credit for forcing the Israelis out the Gaza, Hamas militants loudly claimed the credit. As the recent election now demonstrated, the evacuation of Gaza favored Hamas.

Hamas had other factors that augered for its sucess in the election. Fatah was rotten with corruption and just too cozy with the US and Israel. This, right or wrong, was the perception, an outgrowth of direct negotiations for a peace plan. Hamas also had a solid record of administering social services to the Palestinians and was on the forefront of anti -Israel militancy, with its members willingly dying for their beliefs As usual, Bush based his intelligence on tendacious polls, faith -based assumptions and unvetted analyses of intelligence from Mossad. Bush still cannot believe a terrorist organization can win a democratic election. To make matters worse, Jimmy Carter, who was an official observer at the election, has pronounced the process honest and fair. GWB cannot even claim fraud.

The fact that the US provides 3-4 billion in aid to the Israelis and 150 million to the Palestinians says it all, cynically, in terms of an even-handed approach of US policy in the Israeli Palestinian conflict. This US bias- loaded policy is bipartisan. Senator Biden, Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stood in front of the television cameras with his hands flatly clasped together announcing that there was not a ray of light in the difference between US and Israeli policy.

Consider Israel's role in the 1967 attack on the American ship LIBERTY, the Pollard spy scandal and the recent conviction of the Pentagon's Mr. Franklin for passing secrets to Israeli lobbyists and agents in the Israeli Embassy. Two functionaries from the Israeli lobby are also currently under indictment for espionage. With allies like this who needs enemies ?. Do not forget that superneocon Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was declared Man of the Year by the Jerusalem Post for leading the US to war in Iraq.

This all out US support of Israel made sense duing the Cold War when the Soviet Union backed every radical Arab regime in the area in the name of national liberation. This tme is long past. US now has military bases all over the Persian Gulf to protect its oil interests. It is time to try to develop Arab good will. This is not done by blindly supporting Israeli polices, e.g., building walls on Arab territories and invading Islamic countries that threaten Israel. Last time I checked, there is no oil in Israel. Where is the US national interest here?

Hamas democratically elected in Palestine makes the Bush policy of imposing democracy a farce--democracies are not always friendly to the US. Check with Chavez,Fox, Morales, and the Shiite leadership in Iraq and Iran, . President Bush had told Americans, along with Jesus Chrst,that Anton Sharansky, an ex -Soviet dissident who later had a role in the Likud government, was his favorite philosopher..Shransky is a purveyor of the line that democracies will make America safe . Sharansky was such a screwball, even Sharon dismissed him from his cabinet. But GW Bush apparently still believes in him.

Whether a Hamas central government survives is an open question. It assumed control of an anarchy and now Fatah militants are furious over their loss Hamas has no experienced leadership, no money, serious poverty, widespread unemployment, a high birth rate and deep emnity for and from Israel. And the US and European Union policy is up in the air, because they have branded Hamas a terrorist organzation. The turmoil in the Palestinian Territories is now an open door for Iran or el Qeada to sneek closer to attack Israel . And the closer proximaty of either of these terrorist torpedoes would seriously complicate Israeli security

Israel was born in fire and has walked in fire for a half century. There is no indication the intensity of the flames will subside. Without the US support, the Jewish non -secular state would have been consumed long ago. There is no question as long as it is imbedded in the bosom of a superpower like the US , it wll continue to exist, albeit singed. Real question is whether the superpower can sustain its posture of power with the sick, misguided, opportunistic brand of leadership President GW Bush and the US Congress provide. Is it now on to Iran with the Bush policy of rolling disaster?. Robert E Bartos Colonel US Army Ret