Monday, September 25, 2006

English Cupboard Panel-ca 1810

Torture, Torture Burning Bright with GW Bush

To torture or not to torture – that is the question. There appears no credible argument that the Bush Administration has not employed torture on Jihad detainees. Otherwise, why all the sturm and drang over redefinition of article III of the the Geneva Convention. Why have Republican Senators Warner, McCain, Graham and others balked at the President's proposal? And even General Powell piously chimed in, because he is upset believing the Bush attack on the Geneva Convention signaled a moral decline in America and will impact how the US will be perceived internationally...

Thank you General Powell, but you should have thought about immorality when you supported Bush's doped intelligence before the UN on the run up to the Iraqi war. You spent days at CIA to reassure yourself that the information in your speech was supported by confirmed intelligence.

We still do not know whether Powell was dumb or opportunistic to accept the CIA's misleading conclusions. This is especially disconcerting when his own in-house State Department Intelligence organ, INR, had serious doubts over its validity. In either case, Powell should quietly fade away instead of hysterically seeking salvation by jumping on passing band wagons that he believes offer redemption.

The Senators' breach of Republican party discipline is different... All have military experience like Powell, unlike the majority of politicians who support Bush's proposal who do not. So let's give the Senators credit for doing the right thing. Whether the current Geneva Convention will prevent the slow painful butchering or flaying of an American POW by a blood thirsty, tribal Jihadist is a moot point; but at least such murderous acts will not be unintentionally codified by opportunistic US politicians screwing with a ratified international agreement.

There apparently has been a deal struck between the President and Senators which does not fiddle with the Geneva convention, but permits Bush to torture under a US detainee act. At least the Senators and Bush both seem content. Beats the hell out of me how its going to work. If I were a CIA interrogator I would hire a lawyer on retainer or change occupational specialties... How can you support the Geneva convention and US law if they conflict? Only in the Land of Oz is it possible. Let's hope the Senators' knees did not buckle after a very public outcry; and Bush for show, is sucking sweet lemons. Despite the fact the agreement is to be applied retroactively, if I were a CIA interrogator, I would carefully weigh my current service against bagging groceries in a supermarket or cleaning toilets in a federal prison.....

For those of you who witnessed the President’s latest Rose Garden press conference performance, when he argued for rewriting of Article III on the Geneva Convention, the President acted like a wound up fanatic. He seemed to be fighting existentialist enemies. His arms flayed; his red face painfully grimaced. He was angry or maybe frightened or even cornered. He repeated himself over and over... His staff should be concerned that if he does not de-tune himself emotionally by the next press conference, he may explode like Rumplestillskin when his name was discovered. Behavioral psychologists should have a ball with the tape from this press conference – it is probably already being dissected as a course study.

Apart from the non-substantive aspects of the press conference, Bush's motives for tampering with the Geneva convention might be examined. Ostensibly, he argued that more specificity was needed to outline the parameters of conduct for mainly CIA interrogators. However, the military intelligence operatives appear to be satisfied under current conditions. Bush threatened to end the current program of interrogation unless he had a rewrite of the Geneva Convention his way. Said he needed legal protection for civilian interrogators. To do what? Torture?

This whole issue was precipitated by the US Supreme Court decision that Bush required congressional intervention on guidelines on the treatment of detainees. Detainees recently were moved from CIA facilities or places where they may have been rendered and now placed under military control at Guantanamo. Issues on rules of evidence must also must be resolved before they can be tried – this court ruling came as a surprise and has had the Bush administration scrambling ever since... It could explain Attorney General Gonzales’ recent quick visit to Iraq...

According to legal experts, Bush desperately needs legal language to cover past activities that may have violated the law during interrogations. So this may explain Bush's up-tight press conference – he may be in legal jeopardy and that is enough to make any self righteous man sweat. As far as ending the CIA program of interrogation and rendering, these activities should be over for the moment as all the CIA detainees are now sitting in Cuba. There still remains another ticking time bomb; over 14,000 detainees held by the US military forces in Iraq detention camps, almost all held without charges. But the next immediate moment of more anxiety for Bush is when these most recent CIA detainees go to confession to the Red Cross representatives at Guantanamo.

Torture is an uncivilized practice, but it has been used historically and regularly by civilized countries, governments, police, military forces, criminals and religious orders. It has been used for punishment, revenge, instilling fear, pacification, extracting confessions and sadistic amusement. Experts disagree on how effectively it squeezes intelligence out of prisoners... Some say a tortured victim will tell you what he thinks you want to hear whether it is true or false just to relieve the pain. As far as Bush's program, the only way to determine its effectiveness is to compare the interrogation reports to actionable intelligence. Finding the Holy Grail would be easier than having access to these documents. Bush assures the American people that the process has been extremely productive, but who can believe Bush on anything? At the same time, Representative John Murtha, who has been briefed on the results of the CIA interrogations, indicated that the information produced was not that important.

GW Bush as a college student, was president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) social fraternity at Yale. At this time, there was a campus investigation of his House involving the hot iron branding of DKE pledges. As a defense, Bush was reported to have responded that branding was no worse than a cigarette burn – guess the traditional beating of pledges' asses with a wood paddle and making them swallow goldfish was too low a threshold for Bush's taste in hazing. Behold the evolution of a frat rat president to US President. Question: Will the new agreement with the Senate include inflicting cigarette burns, branding and water boarding? Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Sunday, September 17, 2006

19th century Italain Iron Wall Shield Depicting Dante's Inferno

GW Bush 9/11 X 5 = 0

Like the Ides Of March, the fifth anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone. Americans, Iraqis, Palestinians, and Afghans were killed in faraway places on that day, but not in the USA. That gave GW Bush grim solace as they did not die on our shores But dead is dead, contrary to those of you who hold on to resurrection miracles.

The Jihad strike against the USA on 9/11 blasted an unfocused GW Bush out of his seat. For the last five years he has been trying to play catch up – at least the gapping hole in the Pentagon has been repaired, but NYC still has a yawning cavity unfilled; and, a suitable monument to those who perished in Flight 93 has not been erected. Five years is a long time in an industrial society – even the economically and hopelessly inefficient Soviet Union figured a Five-Year Plan was time enough to accomplish something. Greedy Hollywood did manage to capitalize on the tragedy, producing warped films on the event – guess that is something...

By now even the most ardent supporters are questioning Bush's military responses to the Jihad assault... He went in Blitzkrieg into Afghanistan, but unlike the German field marshals, he did not send the forces to mop up and hold ground – he missed Bin Laden at Tora Bora, because he thought he could bomb him to death, and failed to close his escape routes. To add to the tactical ineptitude, Rumsfeld agreed that Karzai, the US Afghan puppet, would accept Taliban Chieftain Omar’s surrender at Kandahar, even when he was surrounded by US Marines. Guess what? Omar escaped with Karzai's help.

Where was CENTCOM Commander Franks when all this went down? Answer: writing his book. Taliban is back, clearly, bombing and shooting up the American led NATO Coalition, and Bin Laden is still playing catch me if you can; his security was enhanced recently by Pakistan's agreement to stay out of his back yard. At the same time the Parkistanis promised to keep hands off the Taliban staging for attacks from Pakistan into Afghan territory. US has succeeded in rolling up some of Bin Laden’s lieutenants, but most have been replaced. Deadly Jihad attacks since 9/11 in the Far East, London and Spain, plus foiled attempts elsewhere, make it appear there is a Jihadist under every rock – all this since 9/11.

Bleeding, bloody Iraq will go down as a historical albatross around the neck of America. Instead of snuffing out Bin Laden as he was being hammered in Afghanistan, contrary to the rules of war, Bush chose to divide his forces and invade Iraq. Now it is evident he did not have enough forces or strategic wisdom to finish the job in either place. Where was CENTCOM General Franks on this? Another dropped ball? Answer: still writing his book. Bush opened a hornets nest in Iraq; he destroyed the country, crushed local talent with political and security leadership, and presented an engraved invitation to Iran to extend its hegemony. The last chapter is being written now in Iraq with the Administration doing its best to suppress the bad news. All poor Bush wants to do is hold on until his term is over. One thing Bush did accomplish clearly with his invasion of Iraq, was to reinvigorate Bin Laden both tactically and strategically.

Blame game for 9/11 is reaching a ferverish point as the midterm elections approach – Bush is trying to blame Clinton's actions for him being caught flat footed – as far as I am concerned, Bush was Commander and Chief. He had the strategic warning of the attack and bungled it, so he is responsible. But, you still have wonder why Clinton's National Security Chief, Sandy Burger, was caught stuffing his bloomers with classified documents in the National Archive Building after 9/11.

Bush did his best to suppress the 9/11 investigations. He was forced to proceed mainly by an outcry from families of 9/11 victims – the insecure Bush even had to have VEEP Chaney hold his hand during the 9/11 interviews by investigators. As far as the USAF air defense during the attack, it failed. Especially, when the Pentagon is hit and over a hundred people killed; you got to wonder as to what the hell happened when you cannot even protect HQs. Recent documents and tape recordings of air defense communications have surfaced, revealing all the confusion and ineptitude. Anybody relieved of command? Not that I heard...

Is the US more safe now from Jihadist attack than it was five years ago? One thing absolutely certain is that Arab public opinion, aka the Arab street, of hostility and rage toward the US, has increased significantly since 9/11. This is the crowd that provides the anti-American, ready-to-die Jihadists. Invasion of Iraq combined with the US military atrocities, was a major factor driving Islamic fanaticism. Blind diplomatic support and blank check to Israel to kill Arabs with American weapons is a permanent running anti-American sore, and it has been enhanced recently by Bush standing by as the Israeli destroyed Lebanon, and inflicted massive civilian casualties. After all this destruction, Israel still has not retrieved its prisoners, the alleged casus belli. The US record in Afghanistan is one of careless bombing killing the alleged Taliban – it is so reckless at inflicting non-combatant deaths that Karzai asked the US to stop bombing in Afghanistan. Net result of all this, despite killing thousands of Arabs, is that Bush has increased the number of enemy during the last five years and it appears to be growing worse. As far as the USA being safer... Are you crazy?

Bush gets credit for no Jihad attack on US mainland in the last five years. This is despite the 20,000 US wounded, and over 2,900 US killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. No expert believes this freedom from attack will continue despite Bush’s foolish bragging of KILL THEM OVER THERE AND THEY WILL NOT KILL US HERE. What about the killed and wounded Americans OVER THERE? US Ports, air and ship cargos, nuc power installations, like our borders, remain unprotected.

Continued serious mistakes by Bush has embroiled the US in permanent war against Islam. Bush vigorously promises more of the same... His policies are blowing up in his face and he is taking America with him. Our country is split badly when it needs unity... Bush has lost credibility as a leader and cannot unite the country. For example, Bush could not even resist using his recent 9/11 speech to plug his war in Iraq. Surprised he did not jump into the pit in NYC city with a fireman and a bullhorn to recapture his popularity of five years ago. When you elect a cheerleader President, pathetically, this is what you get. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Sunday, September 10, 2006

18thc Austrian bronze wolf chair ornaments

GW Bush at BAY

Wolves of reality are circling our President GW Bush – his choices in Iraq are STAND, SPEND AND DIE or CUT AND RUN. Stung by his crushing anti-war polls while faced with the onset of the 06 elections, his moment of truth is fast approaching. Victory is no longer an option.

His diehard strategy is to convince the American people that the war in Iraq is part of the war on terror – it gets confusing as this proposition ignores an insurgency that is composed of different stripes of Iraqis – as a matter of fact, the al Qaeda leadership gets bumped off regularly in Iraq. Whether it is a matter of successful hunt and kill intelligence or the fact the foreign leadership is turned in intentionally by the insurgents, is a matter of conjecture. Elimination of al Qaeda fighters, probably strengthens the unity of the insurgent command, but it certainly has propaganda value. By now how many al Qaeda fighters have been captured or killed that had a hand in the demolition of the sacred Shiite mosque in Samara? Bush refuses to accept that the insurgency has national roots and is anti-American; to date, death or capture of al Qaeda leadership has only increased the violence in Iraq. Some say, ironically, it strengthens the national insurgency.

Bush has had the temerity to announce he will not withdraw from Iraq as long as he is President – this statement goes down in History right beside his unenlightened BRING EM ON and MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Last time I checked, in our Democracy the executive branch has one vote, and the judicial and legislative branches each have equal power. If the Democrats gain control of the house after 06 elections, the President will figuratively be grabbed by the hair to end the war before his term ends.

Bush strategy is to counterattack opponents of the war by smearing them as defeatist, fascist, Leninist, evil ones or those who devour babies: Grand Swift Boat attack techniques. Some Democrats make an effort to deflect the assault by cool logic: they whine over fairness or find flaws in Bush's logic, like a kid who tells the teacher when he gets slugged on the play ground. This Little Lord Fauntleroy approach plays into Bush's hands. These bombastic attacks have the stench of Marxist modus operandi – probably developed by his neocons, who in many cases learned from relations who were Trotskyites. The only way to respond to this kind of diatribe rough stuff is to INSULT THE INSULTERS – encourage the country to try BUSH AND HIS INCOMPETENT BUNGLERS – develop multi-media ads about BUSH THE RUNNING DOG OF BIG OIL, BUSH THE LOBBYISTS’ LAP DOG, BUSH THE BOMBER, BUSH THE WAR LOVER, and BUSH THE MEXICAN/CHINESE DOORMAT. If the Democrats are smart, they will make Bush explain how these slogans are wrong or unfair. Otherwise, they may win the moral ground, but remain unelected like Kerry, who failed to smash the Swift Boaters.

Democrats must stay on target and focus on only GW BUSH. Forget Rumsfeld. He just follows the big elephant in the parade and sweeps up after him. COURAGE, DEMOCRATS!

Bush's image of victory in Iraq is amorphous and intentionally overoptimistic: Iraqis blissfully enjoying the fruits of freedom, adoring Israel and remaining united; one country, eagerly pumping oil to the US markets. Fat chance! Kurds want their own flag right now and have de-facto independence. Even Sunni Iraqis are moving to Kurdistan to avoid the insecurity in their lands. As far as democracy flourishing in Iraq, note that it is not working so hot in the US. The last two national elections are replete with irregularities: still recounting votes in Ohio, and voting machines have no paper trail in nearly all the states. Congress will not pass laws to protect our borders. Corruption has been a way of life for centuries in Mesopotamia and that is not ever going to change. Israel is detested by all tribes and most of the Iraqi Jews left for Israel years ago frightened by the destruction of their synagogues and lured by Zionist promises. Whatever Iraq ends up as, you can be certain it will be brokered by Iran and you can kiss the oil goodbye under these circumstances. Bush still does not have enough sense to open diplomatic relations with Iran and has disdained an open public debate between him and the Iranian leadership. Bush prefers to drop bombs, not talk.

As far as world opinion on Bush's success on building Democracy in Iraq, we have to go to a recent press conference at St. Petersburg, Russia between Bush and Putin. While in Russia, Bush gracelessly chided Putin on the pace of Democracy in his country – Putin fired back without batting an eye YOU MEAN THE KIND YOU ESTABLISHED IN IRAQ? At that, the assembled international press corps roared with laughter – poor Bush weakly replied with a childish rejoinder: You just wait and see. Yes, Mr. Bush we will wait and see. How many more dead and wounded Americans will it take and how many billions of dollars must we spend? It is a fair question the Democrats should ask every day – at every opportunity.

Bush and the neocons argue that despite the failures in Iraq, the US must stay the course otherwise chaos will ensue – they argue it would be worse if we pull out. It may get worse, but the US troops will stop dying and the flow from US treasury blocked. As far as the Bush prediction on more chaos, he has never been right about Iraq and there is no question that the US troops contribute to the existing chaos. Nobody believes the US knows what it is doing in Iraq and by many reports, that includes the troops themselves.

Time to fold the tent and come home. For whatever it is worth, claim victory for regime change and try to make a deal on oil with the tribes, as the Iraqi puppet regime folds the minute we depart. It seems obvious now that the Iraqi politicians have a foot in the US and another in the Insurgent camps, so most elements will survive. This duality of loyalty extends to Iraqi police, Army and security forces – as far as the neocons' pet snake Chalibi, he may even run for president of Iran.

Alternatively, the US can execute the General George Armstrong Custer maneuver: stay until we lose. Colonel Robert E. Bartos USA RET

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Persian Laver Kerman Rug
Ancient Persian King Slays the the Winged Lion of Babylon

GWBush vs. The Fruit of Allah, Terrorists, Fascists, Liberals and Other Evil Doers

Can you imagine sending US attorney General Alberto Gonzales to Iraq amid the chaos and bloodshed to discuss the rule of law? Given his recent problems with the US courts over Guantanamo, torture, and internal telephone surveillance, uncertain whether he understands the subject at all... Anyway, in Iraq right now it is the rule of the CLUB AND THE FANG.

It is the CALL OF THE WILD in Iraq. If Jack London still lived, he would have been a better choice to send to Iraq than Gonzales. At least he would have understood the Darwinian political environment: the survival of the fittest.

Remember when Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and his Neocons kept defining the enemy differently as the insurgency grew – dead enders, diehard Baathests, foreign terrorists. By accepting the insurgency as Iraqi, the Administration has to face the fact that Iraqi against Iraqis amounts to civil war. And with a civil war in Iraq, it complicates the validity of the congressional resolution that authorized Bush to go to war.

Latest fix on the evil ones by Bush is Islamic fascist – half the time it is now linked with Hitler – seems to me the Bush/Neocon appararatus is dented by the holocaust, and it gets more preposterous and foolish by the minute. Next Bush fix for the evil ones will be Islamic fascists who run Auschwitz... give it rest... This reach is way too many bridges too far and past. Sorry pals, no building permit for a Holocaust museum on the White House lawn. You really think if he were named Adolph Bin Laden, he would be easier to catch?

Senator John Warner, Republican Chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee recently indicated that a new congressional resolution would be needed if the situation in Iraq developed into a civil war. Given the disaster in Iraq, the chances of getting a new authorization under any circumstances are next to zero. So the generals and the Administration continue to reject the concept of civil war in Iraq... Senator Warner, though his knees are starting to buckle on legality of the war, will do his best to stall the issue – Warner has never found an American war he did not support. Even when he was under the Clinton administration, he gleefully supported the war against the Serbs and the subsequent US garrisoning of the Balkans.

Civil war in Iraq is on like gang busters... No amount of mumbling by Generals Abizaid and Pace about how to define civil war in Iraq can obscure the fact that Iraqis are killing each other at record numbers. Forget about GWB, Rumsfeld, or other politicians trying to ignore the facts on the ground – politicians always bob and weave or lie – but it is sad and frightening when the generals join in the plot. By now the generals should have learned on Iraq, going along with stuff at odds with their professionalism for political expediency or career enhancement, corrupts and leads to defeat, not victory.

It is not bad enough that Shiites and Sunnis kill each other; now Shiites are even killing each other. Shiite militia and Shiite government troops recently managed to kill a total of over a 100 in one battle, wounding scores more; and two brigades of Iraqi government troops refused to deploy from their base area. A few days earlier, government troops allowed a base, recently turned over to them by the British in the South, to be looted right under their noses. Some may argue that one swallow does not make spring, but flocks of them certainly do. Like every thing else Bush touched in Iraq, his latest exit strategy to turn over operations to Iraqi government troops has turned sour.

So far the policy of flooding Baghdad with redeployed American troops from other areas of Iraq is costing serious US casualties and has not stabilized the capital by a long shot. We hear calls for more troops to send to Iraq – we had 500,000 men in Vietnam and left with our tails between our legs. One thing for sure, the US trained Iraqi troops fight with the same ineffectiveness as the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. With all that experience from RVN, apparently little was learned about the political nature of an insurgent war.

The military fights the war for which it is trained. As stupid as its sounds, it determinedly does this despite the military realities in the area of operations. It is like the old Roman inn keeper, Procustus – when someone slept in one of his beds who was too long for the bed, he cut off the guest's legs to make him fit. Doubt the military will ever learn to reset to meet the operational situation as its leadership promotes clones; Iraq, Korea, Somalia and Vietnam were all different, each requiring smart flexible military leadership that simply was never there.

Try this: Immediately retire all officers above the grade of LT Colonel in the Marines and Army. The Navy and USAF, who are more technical, get it right most of the time, so let them remain as is – the problem is with the ground forces. Except for minor league conflicts like Panama and Grenada, they just cannot win a war. If you have not figured it out, Gulf War I is part of the failed current war.

Next, close West Point. Rename it Sandhurst-on-the-Hudson. The British do a hellava job training ground force officers in around a year. The Long Grey Line has bravely led the country to glory, and historically, has stoutly defended it over the years; but it has lost its groove. It is, unfortunately, beyond the existing, self absorbed military leadership’s capability, to fix it.

Next wars will be insurgency or stabilization. Key to these operations are Special forces, intelligence and civil affairs – all these take a back seat today to combat arms in the Army and Marines. Special Forces, intelligence and civil affairs should lead these operations with support from combat elements. Because now, the reverse is failing us. Until this focus changes, insurgent wars will continue to be lost. Colonel RE Bartos USA RET