Monday, June 26, 2006

Apotheosis of War by Vasily V Vereshchagin

Cut and Run or Bleed and Pay

Like cutting the Gordian Knot, finding the root of complex problems is often simple. Police Chief Bratton of the Los Angeles Police Department was asked why LA has all those wild speed chases on the freeways. He replied that we just have a lot of crazy people here...

Anybody but a fanatic, born again, Bible thumping Christian has to ask why the Bush administration has to keep jumping from the the frying pan into the the fire. Howard Dean says that the Administration simply does not know what it is doing. Dean certainly has a point when it comes to the wars, the deficit, balance of payments, energy problems, illegal immigration, Katrina, Iran, North Korea, China and Latin America — Dean's problem is that his Democrats have not come to a consensus on what to do about it — at least Dean was right about Iraq from the very beginning.

Last week Ron Suskind published a book called THE ONE PERCENT DOCTRINE . If his thesis is true, it is a real eye opener into the bizarre, sick minds of the Bush national security apparatus — Cheney, buttressed by Neocon support, came up with a theoretic underpinning to make war on anybody at anytime. This doctrine dictates that if there is one percent chance of a terrorist attack, the US must attack even if the evidence and analysis is incomplete — the doctrine argues that certainty is not as important as a response; this is a page straight out of the Israeli paranoid playbook that often results in dead Palestinian children on the beach in Gaza. And, its mindless application will bring the US the same international opprobrium applied to Israeli — that certainly will make the Israeli Lobby delighted; misery loves company.

The war in Iraq is going badly. Like sweet lemons, Bush wants to embrace its failure as badge of honor for the oncoming national elections — it is obvious the longer the war goes on the more the US military forces suffer, not only in terms of escalating casualties, but in deterioration in discipline and morale — equipment inventories are burnt out — the Army has announced that it will now accept 42 year old enlistees — sailors and airmen are now assigned to ground forces in Iraq — wisdom of Bush's stay the course is suspect as he daily looses his ability to control events in Iraq...

At the same time, military public Information officers are also losing control of military information management as the self righteous lawyers and desperate relatives of those servicemen accused of killing Iraq civilians, make their case publicly on the TV news and talk shows. Recent media circus over the two tortured and killed soldiers drives the horror of war into the living rooms of America. A stay the course policy wilts in the face of all this emotion and sympathy, and is not sustainable in the long term. In this case, the definition of long term is: as long as GWBush remains in office.

The US Ambassador to Baghdad recently sent a report to the State Department that seriously undercuts Bush's recent optimistic views on Iraq — it was all gloom and doom — appears it is a Pontius Pilate report — symbolically washing his hands of the mess.

Bush says he does not want to let the Iraqis down. What Iraqis? Kurds want the US to stay forever. For the rest of the 70 percent of of the Iraqis, it is: Yankee go home now! As far as the carpet baggers like Chalabi from London, they are on the first plane out of Iraq with their now fat London bank accounts and paid up flats. As far as the 25,000 mercenary contractors — there is always bloody work — Afghanistan is their new land of opportunity.

Bush has given the choice of stay the course and bleed and pay — the other choice is get out soonest, cut and run. As Bush is kicked out, he will try to keep troops in Kuwait and Kurd lands — so at this stage, it is only cut, but not running. Based on polls, the American majority want out of Iraq, but Congress does not... One thing for certain is that Congress does not know what’s best, otherwise, it never would have foolishly voted to go to war in Iraq.

Howard Dean is right. The Bush Administration does not know what it is doing governing the US, but to Dean's consternation, it sure does know how to win elections... Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Monday, June 19, 2006

Fool’s Errand

The banality of GW Bush’s recent second visit to Iraq was the act of a desperate man — he said his visit was to look the new Iraqi leadership in the eye — yah, like he looked Russian Putin in the eye, who now regards the American President as an enemy of the Russian people — more importantly, what did the Iraqi leadership see in Bush's eyes — guesses, a Bible or maybe, an oil pipe line.

This time Bush made it to the GREEN ZONE — none of that Halliburton plastic turkey routine at the Baghdad airport like during his last visit — his spin doctors tried to give his helicopter assault on one of Saddam's old palaces in the Green Zone some sort of heroic implications — what do you expect from a guy with his sometime record in the Texas and Alabama national air guard units? Those helicopter flights in the Green Zone are routine for daily MEDEVAC flights — so Mr. President, give us a break on the bullshit front. Your airplane ride to Bagdad was a cynical stunt.

Now if Bush really wanted to make a big macho splash, he could have dangled himself from an Apache helicopter at palm tree top level over Fallujah — bullhorn in hand, hectoring the Wahabi Sunnis, crouched in their bombed out huts with — REPENT NOW — THE SAVIOR IS COMING! — this makes about as much sense as to send his SECSTATE Condoleeezza to speak at a Southern Baptist convention, which she did recently — onward Christian soldiers.

Uncertain of what Bush was doing in Baghdad a second time — he certainly was not boosting the morale of the Iraqis — except for collecting their checks and saving their skin, the fewer Americans they are associated with the better. As for visiting the US troops — anybody who was in the services knows that VIP visits are a pain in the ass — especially in Iraq where security is always a headache. According to one poll in Iraq, 74% of US troops want out of Iraq in a year. Apparently SECDEF Rumsfeld is getting shell shocked from his public hammering, so he stayed home. My best guess was that Bush was clueless and bored, so he got to sleep on Air Force ONE for 22 hours without being hen pecked by his wife. As far as fooling the US press corps on his intentions — What's new? That is one thing he does well. Bush still does not understand that his theatrics have a 6-day shelf life. Remember Shock and Awe — Fall of Baghdad — Death of Saddam’s sons — Capture of Saddam — and all that crap over elections. Impact but no victory in Iraq — Bush still has the Iraqi tiger by the tail and he cannot let go.

It seems to me that Bush has put a lot of chips on the new Iraqi premier, al-Maliki, who has been around in the big time only since the end of this April. He was a forced compromise candidate by the US to replace the interim premier al-Jarafari.

Al Maliki has called for separate investigations by Iraqi authorities over American killing of Iraqi civilians as well as amnesty and release of detainees who have killed Americans. He is hard on al Qaeda but seems easy on the anti-American insurgency; his national call is, IRAQ FOR IRAQIS. That is not what GWB has in mind, but for al-Maliki to remain alive, he has to end the occupation or his feverish Shiite pals will cut his throat. Right now the US holds over 14,000 detainees most of whom are Iraqis — the so called Iraqi government holds an unaccounted number more in Shiite militia controlled prisons. Release from both groups will measure the independence of al-Maliki.

Bush in Iraq has no goodwill left with the Sunnis and Shiites; he would have none except for the Kurds. He does have self delusions about democracy which he forces on an access driven, uncritical US press corps, but he may have inadvertently stumbled into an exit strategy.

His latest reason to occupy Iraq is to fight al Qaeda — all the other reasons for his colonial war have blown up in his face. There is an outside chance the insurgents and al Malaki can control al Qaeda in Iraq — Zarqawi’s death appears more and more to be an inside job. Who got the reward money of 25 million USD?

Think about al Maliki declaring victory over Al Qaeda in Iraq, and then demanding that GW Bush and his troops go home... This is Bush’s and Israel’s worst nightmare, but best for Iraq and certainly the USA. Robert E Bartos, Colonel USA

Monday, June 12, 2006

Live By the Sword — Die by the Sword

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death had an ironic quality about it. He was a man empowered, made famous by GW Bush's blundering invasion of Iraq, and his life was violently ended by two US 500 pound bombs dropped on his head — had Bush not provided him rich opportunities for jihadist mischief, doubt whether he would have made the rank of shoeshine boy in the Al Qaeda network.

In terrorism, like the other fields in the kingdom of the blind, where there are no sign posts to guide you, the one-eyed man is king. Zarqawi, with all his murderous instincts, was the father of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, but was quickly to be marginalized as the national led insurgency developed with local leaders.

With each release of his promotional tapes, it appeared that he was suffering from the cult of personality where he fancied himself more important than the movement itself — his last tape where he fumbles with a jammed automatic weapon and required assistance was zany.

With twenty-five million dollars on his head, Bush made him a real bandit hero — it will be interesting to learn how the reward is distributed. Bush will now need a new villain to personalize — to explain his own failures and pass on the blame. In the scheme of the insurgency, Zarqawi was responsible for only 5% of the sectarian violence. Bush preferred to blame Al Qaeda for his miseries in Iraq — he still cannot face facts; it is a broad based, anti-American insurgency. The only thing the Sunnis and the Shiites agree on is their hatred of the American occupation. The Iraq insurgency has very little to do with the war on terror — it is a colonial war that Bush masks as a war on terror...

Bush has already called Zarqawi’s death a turning point in the war — if true, it has to be Bush's 695th turning point in the war. The same time he announced his new turning point, 40 Iraqis died from terrorist blows.

At this stage it is uncertain whether Zarqawi’s death will make the insurgency stronger by removing friction among the insurgents, or weaker by removing a mad dog who raged the country — who took orders from no one.

One thing for certain, there is one less crazy Jhadist and American forces should be congratulated for taking him out. Despite this success, I remain troubled about just what the US forces have accomplished after the fall of the Saddam. Still no nation wide security. US troops live in fortified areas and are picked off as they race between them — the Green Zone, like a Star Wars colony, is safe because of massive American troop presence — step out of it and you can die quickly — most reconstruction projects are stalled by lack of security — standing up Iraqi troops so far is a joke. Coalition command will provide you increased numbers, but the fact is that the locus of Iraqi military power resides in the militias and US training has made the militias better trained fighters — problem is the central government does not control them. Electric, water and gas situation is worse than pre-war.

If you want to count the formation of a new permanent Iraq government as a success, be my guest — until this gang produces something other then meetings and photo ops, I suggest you hold your judgement — corruption is a way of life — billions have already disappeared while they just have been practicing to run a unified government.

Next time you get a pro-war, stay-the-course politician like Senator McCain or Senator Lieberman... watch them handle the question of pull out — they predict non-specific doom and gloom — catastrophes of biblical proportions. So remember, Israel has these two in its pocket as you listen.

Did hear from another pro-war blowhard that if the US left, Shiites would be under Iranian hegemony — the Saudis would control Sunni lands and the Turks would control Kurdistan — sounds okay to me — no more Americans dying and supporting chaos with its treasury. We certainly would find out quickly whether Halliburton can survive in a competitive environment. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pangs of Despised Love

When the Dixie Chicks openly diss GW Bush and simultaneously drive their latest DVD to the top in sales, the President has problems -- if he is branded as a screw-up in pop art circles, there is no hope, when even those with musical notes on the brain, come to a thumbs down verdict on the guy.

Bush's Army of the Mesopotamia is slowly being blown apart -- his pretext to war to establish democracy has been also blown apart by US forces at Abu Gahrib, Fallujah, Haditha, along with countless smaller incidents stemming from lack of fire discipline. Even his Iraqi puppets are now becoming part of the anti-occupation, Yankee Go Home mob -- the new Iraqi leadership is not behaving like a puppet when it calls for US FORCES TO STOP THE KILLING AND BRUTALIZATION OF IRAQI CIVILIANS -- guess that is democracy. The Iraqi are now going to run their own investigations on civilian deaths in combat. This will add still another level of confusion and tension to an already anarchical situation.....

Administration officials are flummoxed. After all those bribes distributed to their Iraqi chosen, how can they so quickly snap back and bite them? As far as Americans dying for Iraqi freedom, that was always absurd, a pile of steaming horse shit, and those who believed it were fools.

If you want to really understand how the Iraqi and Iranian mind works, suggest the following exercise -- go out and buy a genuine, antique, hand knotted oriental rug from one -- you have to go through the routine of vicious haggling and insults, painted wear spots, dry rot, hideous patches, added borders lines, and threats and pleas for sympathy. Once you finally conclude the sale, go elsewhere and try to sell the same rug to a different group of rug dealers.

The new rug dealer will measure the rug -- and you will find that it was shorter than you thought -- he will lay out the rug, jump on it and kick it. He will then find soiled spots, alleged mending, snaps of dry rot; finally he will roll up the rug and offer you less than half of what you paid -- and that becomes the opening offer. In the end, if you cannot agree on price, he will try to trade you a rag and some money for your rug or ask for it on consignment; and, if there is no deal, there is a good chance you will get cursed.

I asked a Turkish rug dealer why the Iraqi and Iranian rug dealers are such swine -- he said that they are mostly Shiite and that they believe anyone else is subhuman and you can therefore, when involved, lie and cheat as much as you wish. Maybe Condoleezza should go buy and sell an oriental rug before she develops her next steps in her diplomatic fan dance with Iran.

GWB's elective war in Iraq was "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war". Innocent people always die in war --whether they are killed with a bullet in the back of the head or pulverized by 500 pound bombs dropped on them -- atrocities are a disgusting aspect of war especially when, inept politicians pull the trigger and send men to war; when things go haywire, the military is blamed. Those Marines at Haditha were not there on vacation -- they were sent there by the Bush Administration -- the fact they killed the wrong people, demonstrates the fragility of taking mama's boy and training him into a killer -- core value training is not a substitute for leadership and discipline. And that is where the Marines broke down -- at My Lai, after an exhaustive investigation, LT Calley was convicted and put in house arrest -- Nixon pardoned him later and this was a recognition of the politicians' responsibilities in war.

Too many inhibitions on the fighting forces' rules of engagement risk turning it into a flaccid organization like the Puerto Rican national police -- in the last riot over a month ago, the police had the hell kicked of it. Asked why it permitted the rioters to thrash them, the police officials said they were afraid of law suits -- they requested that in future riots the government provide lawyers on the scene. Tickets should be sold for next riot event.

The English condemned Breaker Morant to death by firing squad for following orders in ruthlessly suppressing the Boer insurgency in the South African Boer War -- Morant, an Australian Cavalry officer was a hero by most standards until the war ended -- much to the Boers' dissatisfaction, he is still heralded by Australians, "When they speak of heros of men who look for action, who chose between honor and revenge, they tell the story of Breaker Morant ".

History in the end recognizes only winners -- how they won is not important -- In Iraq who is left standing determines the outcome -- anything else is baloney. Let GW Bush explain why Americans perished and bled...

Receiving pathetic emails now, urging me to pray for GW Bush -- will comply -- but will pray he does not inflict more damage on the US before he leaves office. Robert E Bartos Colonel USA Ret