Thursday, December 28, 2006

GW Bush – Loser’s Sweat in Iraq

In pool hall parlance or on the floors of casinos, loser's sweat occurs when a man attempts to recoup his losses by doubling his bets; instead of winning, he continues in a spiral, getting deeper and deeper into debt, foolishly clinging to expectations of winning. When you play this system with dollars, euros or rubles, you are just a fool. An intelligent gambler stops, knows when luck runs against him, and cuts his losses. When the game is played with military forces, it is madness and irresponsible. By throwing more troops into the battle for Iraq, President GW Bush is throwing more lives away with almost no chance of success. Those generals with guts have already told him that – it is defeat in detail, and exactly what happened in Vietnam; Johnson and Westmoreland incrementally escalated US troop deployments into the battle until about 500,000 were deployed and defeated.

Defeat in detail is a concept even the dumbest politician can understand: instead of using massive force initially to overcome and overwhelm the enemy, you dribble forces into battle allowing the enemy to respond and counter your moves. Never having the mass of troops to win decisively, at best, you can hold a status quo; but that is not winning by a long shot – it just bleeding. Generals Powell and Abizaid have given Bush this information. Unlike Powell at the UN, Abizaid now has chosen to retire rather than execute GW Bush's corrupt orders.

Neocon Kenneth Adelman, the blowhard with the worst taste in ties on TV who sold "Cakewalk In Iraq", has declared that if the Surge does not work, he thinks we should get out Iraq. Uncertain whether Adelman knows the difference between tin soldiers and those with flesh and blood. Like his disturbing choice of sartorial splendor, you can bet he has no idea what is going on in Iraq. "Dead Wrong Twice" is the new nickname he has pending. Hopeless Henry Kissinger, who still pads around the White House on a regular basis, is probably one of the fathers to the crackpot Surge concept. Does anyone believe he will get anything right on Earth before his time comes to start advising celestial deities? Neocons have been consistently wrong on Iraq. If the consequences of their misjudgments were not so deadly, you could enjoy the absurdity of their calls. What ever happened to their pet Snake Ahmed Chalabi when they need him?

Apart from the projected failure of the so called McCain-Liebermann Neocon Surge policy, is GWB's frantic tactics used to justify this reinforcement strategy in Iraq. GW Bush has told us repeatedly in his cheer leading period that he takes advice from his combat commanders in war... but he now has a new caveat: that is, if my commanders agree with my neocon pals. He has sent Mr. Vanilla Bob Gates, his freshly minted SECDEF, to Iraq to find support. Gates had to look high and low. He got no support from the Iraqi leadership, such as it is. He did find support from some handpicked enlisted men and from generals probably looking for another star, but the trip was at best a flop. The top level generals in Iraq told Vanilla Bob what the Joint Chiefs told him: Tell us what the Mission is for the augmented brigades and we will consider it. Gates finally got General Casey to agree that he would not interpose objections for additional troops. How luke warm can you get and stay on active duty? Apparently, tepid obedience is the price of future glory for General Casey. As far as Gates, the the Pentagon brass will find that the new SECDEF follows directives fervently from the president, like a nun follows holy edicts... If Rumsfeld drove the generals crazy with his shallow, aggressive hubris, Gates will try to bore them into compliance. Gates’ promotion to SECDEF is the triumph of the super clerk over leadership. Do not expect him to purge DOD of the pernicious neocons and Israeli Defense Force imbeds – that would take leadership.

Despite a mandate by the voters to end the Iraqi war in the mid-term elections, the many congressional Democrats, at least those who take gold from the Israeli Lobbyists, prefer political hari kari than to confront their rich, powerful campaign donors. They too quickly buy into the refrain that we have to support the troops; and therefore, we cannot control the expenditures for the war through budget constraints. This is a cowardly cop out and a bought and paid position. If they wish to protect the troops, get them out of harms way and end the pointless war – set up political/military milestones that if not met, choke off the funds. If you expect GW Bush to end the war, forget it. He takes orders from the neocons who want permanent war in the Middle East to project their own objectives. And at the same time, poor GWB will hold on at all costs until the end of his term with the hope of blaming defeat on the next elected commander in chief.

Al Qaida has offered Bush a one month truce to exit his troops and 70,000 civilian contractors from Iraq – an audacious propaganda ploy that Bush cannot accept, but it does question the argument that he needs extended time to redeploy. It is an invitation to surrender – all heavy equipment is to remain in country as bases are turned over to Iraqi insurgents. This is what Bush's faces unless he can figure out a more graceful exit while his combat power in country is not more dissipated. To join the insurgency, all you need to do is learn three Sura verses by heart from the Koran and you will be paid by the insurgents. What is the offer from the Iraqi Army to join up? So there are choices for Iraqis who regard the current government as a puppet of the occupation.

A mission for the Surge? More of the same or will there be a determined effort to unhorse el Sadr and his militia? US has turned Najaf over to the Iraqi Army and that is where el Sadr hangs out. The US Main Supply Route can be closed by the militias and to keep it open under continuous fire will be more costly than it is now. So far the number one Ayatollah Sistani who speaks Arabic with a Farsi accent, has not dropped his handkerchief for US troops to remain in Iraq, nor will he support Bush's moves for a unified Iraqi government. It is just a more stupid, BRING THEM ON.

This whole Iraq war has taken on a surrealistic fog. It is as if the Vietnam debacle never occurred – no lessons learned. The Bush administration with its generals move in detached, dream-like scenarios that pay little attention to the devastating results their bloody actions inflict on themselves and their adversaries. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Jimmy Carter – A Hero in his own Time

PALESTINE PEACE NOT APARTHEID, a book written recently by former president Jimmy Carter, has caused consternation among the Israelis, Israeli Lobby and Israeli strap hangers. It is an audacious book, because instead of praising Israel, it is critical; and it was written by a former American president who still has high visibility, respect and by stark comparison, certainly thinks clearer than the current US president. Carter's book has been smitten by hair rendering critics, mostly by American Jews who believe they have a monopoly on shaping US attitudes and policy toward Israel. This book is evidence that there is another game in town, and he has made the point: he wants to bring the US Israeli policy out the the closet and into the open, for critical discussion.

My opinion of Carter has undergone a metamorphosis over the years; to paraphrase John Kerry, I VOTED FOR HIM BEFORE I VOTED AGAINST HIM. As a traditional Republican, much to my ancestors dismay, I voted for him in 1976. Richard Nixon foolishly splattered himself against the wall with Watergate, poor Gerald Ford could not exit the stair ramp of an aircraft without tripping, and Ford's SECSTATE, Hopeless Henry Kissinger, had no check or balance under Ford. I was serving at the Office of SECDEF at the time and witnessed how Kissinger threw away US national security advantages in strategic missile defense with the ABM treaty for the Soviet promise, and I repeat, promise, to negotiate their heavy missiles in follow up Strategic Arms Talks II. As I spoke Russian, Soviet military representatives in Geneva had told me directly and privately that the Russians understood Kissinger, i.e.: all you had to do was flatter him and he would work to agree with them. Based on the negative outcome for the US of Kissinger SALT I negotiations, you have to wonder whether the Soviet officers had a point. GW Bush finally abrogated the ABM Treaty.

Apart from this, the other thing that impressed me about Carter was that such a bug-eyed hayseed could beat the sophisticated establishment, high powered Democrats, and capture the nomination – figured if he were that clever, he might be able to run the country. It took me about 8 days later to realize I made a mistake

It was a small thing at first that made me question my vote. The WASHINGTON POST had run excerpts from Carter's personal diary as a midshipman at the US Naval Academy in which Carter wrote about brushing his teeth, the times he heard profanity and how his fellow midshipmen used smutty language when talking about women... thought to myself at the time that I had voted for a candy ass and he would have a tough time in the brutally cruel world of national and international politics, and he did. Then I became more concerned when he had his domestic oil crises, confessed to lust in his heart and was frightened by an aggressive rabbit... When Iranians took US diplomats hostages, his attempt to rescue them ended as an unsuccessful, deadly, military farce. Fidel Castro dumped thousands of his criminals and insane on US shores in Operation Marialitos, and the Soviets took his measure and invaded Afghanistan. His CIA Director Admiral Stansfield Turner effectively destroyed the US human intelligence collection capability that still has not recovered. As a result, I voted against Carter in 1980.

Carter did play the Middle Eastern card effectively at Camp David in that he defused tensions temporarily between Egypt and Israel. He even won the Nobel Peace Prize. This one positive US step in the middle East gives his latest book its bone fides; Carter walked the walk. Though he had his share of failures, he accomplished something tangible in a volatile area where other US presidents failed before and afterwards, as they collapsed under pressure from the Israeli First Lobby.

Noted that Carter was on LARRY KING and HARDBALL to sell his book. In both cases he was interviewed by an American Jew. King’s questioning technique involved using questions from Harvard's Super Zionist, Alan Dershowitz. Finally Carter got tired of it, and after the third question from the same source, Carter told King he was not on the program to interview Dershowitz. It was obvious King had not read the book and stumbled and groveled through the rest of interview. In the HARDBALL interview, Shuster replaced the usual Chris Matthews. As Carter listed Israeli brutalities and human rights violations on the Palestinians, Shuster tried to change the subject to the Ruwanda slaughter, but Carter snapped back that we are here to talk about the Middle East and Shuster backed off, demonstrating his callowness. Carter's national book tour is being chased by protesters; pro Israeli Newspapers in the US are hammering him relentlessly – Carter has even had prayer meetings with rabbis – but he has not recanted a single word. The book is about number 7 on the NEW YORK TIMES best seller list; over 67,000 copies have been sold. Apparently the opposition to Carter's book does not understand the precept that a WICKED BOOK GATHERS NO DUST.

Carter's frankness was surprising. He discussed the Camp David Accords, that was by far his greatest accomplishment during his term in office, and openly admitted that they led to the assassination of Anwar Sadat. He also indicated that other Egyptian military was neutralized as a threat against Israel by the Accords. As a result of reduced military pressure on the Egyptian border, Israel started aggressively to colonize the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and parts of Lebanon; and, politically strangle the Palestinians. Israel contemptuously violated the Accords. Reagan turned a blind eye on the treaty breaches and even authorized a Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC on US Government land. It replaced the historic US Mint building that was razed.

Carter is unremitting in his criticism of Israel brutality in the occupation: group punishment, restricted movements, wanton destruction of private property, turning military weapons on non combatants, false arrests, and land grabs. Carter is emotionally involved in the situation as he has spent time living and working with the Palestinians on the ground. He cites specific incidents like the events in Hebron, that gives his arguments cogency.

President Carter summarizes his views on Israel as follows:"... two Israelis. One encompassed the ancient culture and moral values of the Jewish people, defined by Hebrew Scriptures.... The other existed within the occupied Palestinian territories, with policies shaped by refusal to acknowledge and respect the basic human rights of the citizens.” No wonder the Israeli apologists have pulled out the stops to demean Carter's book.

In his interviews Carter made the point that the US media is too intimidated to criticize Israel. Based on the strident attacks on Carter, the Israeli Lobby has played to Carter's script, but it has not yet frightened him. Bravo! Let us hope there are others who have the moral courage to tell the American people publicly about the bloody situation in Israeli occupied Palestine, that is fully supported by the US government. I do not regret my first vote for Carter as much now – as a matter of fact, hope he lives a 100 years. Robert E Bartos Colonel USA RET

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Shrapnel’s Persons of the Year

In mid December every year TIME magazine traditionally and unabashedly publishes its "Person of the Year". Over the years, as political correctness seized our nation, the title has navigated from "Man of the Year" to "Person of the Year". More importantly it has changed from individuals to groups or even themes. All this is pure hubris, for no one with any sense would trust the judgement of a pack of New York City scribblers whose editors demand no news, and reformat stories to increase circulation to capitalize on the holiday season – it is at best, old wine in a new bottle. Using the same lack of scruples, I have decided to publish my own list; however, if political correctness is found in the presentation, it is inadvertent and I apologize now. Since I do not have TIME's minions at my disposal, I have decided to lump personalities and themes into group packets, each with a title.

IRAN – GW Bush's stupid invasion of Iraq unquestionably enhanced Iranian hegemony over large parts of Iraq along with its oil riches. Our President is now entertaining pro Iranian ayatollahs like Hakim, and civilian leaders like Maliki at the White House. Latest rumors are that Bush will tilt to Shiites and Kurds – the so-called 80% solution – good bye Sunnis? Iran's Hetzbollah clients in Lebanon rode out Israeli/American bombardments and are now threatening the pro Western Christian government in Beirut. Despite much huff and puff in the UN, Iran proceeds merrily on the nuclear path... Bush is the best thing that has happened to Iran in several centuries – no more Saddam or Babylonian Kings, compliments of GWB. Iranians recently fought 8 years of a very bloody war and still could not defeat Saddam, but the US did it in two weeks or did it? Expect large tile pictures to go up in Tehran slums honoring GW Bush inscribed in Farsi: US PRESIDENT GW BUSH; OUR FAVORITE GREAT SATAN. This is unlike his father's mosaic portrait embedded by Saddam on the Rashid Hotel in Baghdad floor for patrons to walk over.

KOREA – in the past year the North Korean Government has tested nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems. GW Bush’s response is to cut off the country's French cognac supply and, much to dismay of General MacArthur's ghost, threaten to remilitarize Japan. Bushido warriors on the march again? BANZAI! Better to recommend to send more cognac as it might make the dictator more mellow – include some Sinatra records with the tune MY WAY.

LATIN AMERICA – Venezuelan “El Presidente” Hugo Chavez was just reelected in landslide. With Cuban Castro showing his mortality, Chavez is the standard bearer for left wing Latino regimes; and they are developing faster than GW Bush can count. Nicaragua-Sandinista Ortega is back, by election. Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Brazil have initiated crushing, share the wealth, Socialist governments. Pinochet of Chile died with his boots off much to the distress of human rights groups and leftists. A benign Socialist government rules, but with Pinochet finally gone, it will now turn its full attention to financially milking the producing elements of Chile. Chavez passed a law that in Venezuela a citizen can own only one piece of property, so it is a panicky buyers market there. Chavez is a nuisance for the US as he makes pals with GW Bush's axis of evil and Russia. Chavez even upstages the US government on fuel aid to poor people in the US. Mexico is a political basket case with at least one province in full revolt, and others struggling with narco rule; the government has a strong leftist minority that has even opened its own consulate in Chicago. These political shifts happened under GW Bush’s nose whose main response has been to open sweet trade deals that crush US production, and eliminate US labor participation.

ISRAEL – Still the apple of America's eye as we blindly supply its aggressive war machine and die in Iraq for the Jewish state foreign policy goals. The US still has not realized that the Israeli and US goals in the Middle East are not the same. Right now some American Jews are going berserk over President Jimmy Carter’s recent book, PALESTINE: PEACE NOT APARTHEID..... and the success of Mel Gibson’s recent film Apocalyptco. On top of that there is a Holocaust bashing contest in Tehran and Christmas trees at the Seattle airport are attacking the Jewish faith. So many targets, so little time. After Israel bombed Lebanon, allegedly to release the prisoners taken by Hamas and Hezbollah, the POWs still have not been released. I asked a Israeli about this and she replied that Hetzbollah and Hamas want high powered Islamic POWs to trade for low ranking soldiers, and Israel will not do the trade under those circumstances! GW Bush bought into some casus belli...

RED CHINA – During the midterm election at an international monetary conference, Red China hinted that it would exchange one trillion in dollars for other currencies... the US stopped it. How is unknown, but let's hope it did not promise the Chinese the Hawaiian Islands... maybe Taiwan. This threat is a real sword of Damocles over the US and it was strung up by Bush's trade policies.

TEAM BUSH – There are many more on the team than President Bush, VEEP Cheney, SECSTATE Condoleezza, and late SECDEF Rumsfeld, but too many targets, too little space... With the midterm defeat, Bush has lost his groove. Cheer leading has been curtailed and he has been chastised by Daddy Bush. Given Condoleezza's failures in foreign policy, she had to be absent for the last year. Maybe like the famous Italian of yore, Orlando Furioso, she went to the moon to look for her brain. Sure Shot Veep Cheney is still hunting for Bin Laden in all the wrong places. Do you think Rumsfeld will do a FOG OF WAR mea culpa like McNamera? I do not. What a gang! They should all march under the banner, BORN TO LOSE. The cake walking, deceitful Neocons, to the music of a klezmer band, have the privilege to carry and wave the flag to lead the parade.

POLONIUM 210 poisoning of Russian spy Litvinenko in London is the crime of the year. Little did the Polish Madam Curie know in the late 19th century that her discovery would be used eventually to kill a Russian, from a country at the time occupying Poland. My sense is that Putin is not guilty of ordering the assassination. KGB hits usually employ more complicated cut outs as in the attempt to kill on Pope John Paul; from Moscow to Bulgaria to a Turk who pulled the trigger. Comrade Litvinenko was involved in a large web of dark activities; the scary thing is that polonium 210 is an alpha emitter that is complicated to detect and apparently very dirty.

THE ILLEGAL ALIEN is like sin: everyone deplores it, but loves it. How uneducated Mexican peasants can successfully beat and game the system in the US is bewildering. The American people understand the fiasco, but the politicians and corporations defend the lawlessness. WORK WILL MAKE YOU FREE has an updated application of the old slogan in the year 2006...

OCCUPATION OF IRAQ is GW Bush's Great Moronic American Tragedy. Get out now; let the Iraqi people and oil go. Set the date. If CENTCOM cannot handle a quick redeployment, suggest the operations be turned over to the Logistics Department at Wal Mart – this organization showed its stuff during Katrina while FEMA is still stumbling. The US military forces are not designed to retreat; all gears mesh on only forward...

Merry Christmas – Peace on Earth – Good Will Toward Men

Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Friday, December 08, 2006

Make Me Believe it is Not True

GW Bush told us last week that he did not want get out of Iraq gracefully – apparently he was outraged by the suggestion that he could do anything gracefully. In Vietnam and Somalia we came out with our tails between our legs; in Korea and the Balkan War we never got out, as US troops still garrison both areas. Bush remains delusional on Iraq. He knows he cannot win the war, but he talks the talk of winning despite no evidence of success or impending victory. All the man wants to do is hang on by his finger nails until a new president relieves him of his duty. But no matter where or when he departs, his legacy will always remain the Iraq debacle; a political dagger in his heart. No wonder his father sobs in public.

Bush travels a lot. You have to wonder when he has time to reflect on issues. As his term of office continues to unwind, it becomes more apparent that he only thinks superficially. Based on his conduct, the best his spinners can say about him is that he is a profound man in an obscure way – emphasis is on obscure.

His foreign journeys are always fraught with goofiness. He recently returned from Vietnam where he publicly argued staying the course to victory in Iraq in a place where the US departure without victory has made the country flourish. Last week’s visit to Estonia was designed to squeeze more troops out of NATO to send to Afghanistan, but at least publicly he was transfixed by Iraq. From Tallinn he went to Amman Jordan to meet with Iraqi premier Maliki. It was a disaster... Maliki intentionally missed the first day of meetings, reluctantly appearing the second day to meet with Bush for couple hours. He left behind chaos in Iraq as his cabinet, members of his Shiite coalition, walked off the job to protest his visit with Bush. Concurrent with his visit with Bush, a leaked NSC memo written by Hadley based on personal observations on recent visit to Iraq, blasted Maliki's for incompetence. Through all this, Bush hypocritically swore fealty to Maliki, a man he hand picked. If Maliki lasts three more months in power, it will be surprising. Bush is already hedging his bets with the invitation of Abdul Aziz al Hakim to Washington this week.

By meeting with Hakim, Bush is dancing with a cobra. The Shiite cleric is a mainline Iranian torpedo aimed at US interests; he controls the largest pro Iranian bloc of Shiites in the Iraqi parliament. He wants Bush to destroy the Sunnis for Iran.... He has plotted with the independent minded Kurds to weaken the central government, to create an independent Shiastan from the 9 Shiite Iraqi provinces in the South. He has blamed the US for the destruction of the Shiite mosque in Samara. He said the American Ambassador to Iraq had given the terrorists a green light... And, a strong case can be made that characterizes him as an agent of greater Iran. His use to Bush is as a counter balance to Shiite militia leader el Sadr. Both Shiite leaders are quarreling because el Sadr’s power base is in Baghdad and there is little chance for him to receive post war oil revenues if Shiastan is established.

Some estimates put el Sadr’s military power at eight times what it was a few years ago when he managed to close the Coalitions Main Supply Route through the South, as he responded to US military pressure; Bremer even had to ration food at Coalition HQs. Maliki right now is his puppet on a string. The intrigue is fierce – way above the heads of our State department and the lost Defense Department. More confusion is also coming with the imminent departure of Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq. Replacement??? Maybe John Bolton wants the job. He would have a chance in the Green Zone to shoot the bullets instead of just making them.

Rumsfeld's Parthian shot on his departure from Defense was to drop a cover-your-ass snowflake that admits the grave situation in Iraq and offers options, none of which solve the problems. Since Rumsfeld was SecDef twice, wonder if he will be honored by two portraits or one in the Pentagon corridors. In either case, the paintings should displayed upside down as a sign of distress.

The Baker/Hamilton report on Iraq, at first analysis, is a punt. For the good of the country, Baker pushed the Israeli Palestine issue front and center and made the obvious case: it is the main source of the problem in the region. However, his massive advisor effort in Iraq may mitigate the defeat, but who is going to protect the advisors? As far as threatening the Iraqis by withdrawing aid and troops, this is absurd. Iraqis want us out yesterday. The only people hurt by this will be the 70,000 US contractors and their pals like Halliburton. If you need a withdrawal plan, ask for a truce and I bet you get the rice and rose shower when we march out like the one promised by the neocons, when we marched in. The Baker plan is continued occupation, but at a lower intensity. It - will - not - work. Iran will make certain of that. One thing for sure, the insurgency is getting more effective against US forces as the casualties mount. This is especially vexing as politicians wrangle in Washington to do everything to avoid pullout. Latest lie, number 12? – IF WE PULLOUT, THE REGION WILL BE INFLAMED. So what is new? Democrats better get off their asses, because the Republicans will not end the occupation – even Pat Buchanan has bought into the gibberish and deadly silliness.

Baker/Hamilton findings, despite undermining Bush's credibility on the Iraqi war, have in the end played into Bush's hands; bottom line is that the report calls for permanent presence of US forces in Iraq. That is what the Israeli lobby wants. Lee Hamilton predictably delivered for the Republicans under a smoke screen of bipartisanship.

Peter W Galbraith in his recent book, THE END OF IRAQ, indicated that Bush called Hakim in August, 2005 to ask for concessions for the Sunnis. Bush then asked Hakim, who is a dedicated exponent of Sharia (Islamic law), to honor women's rights. Noble thought, but demonstrated Bush's misconception of the whole Islamic culture; apparently, Bush still has not learned not to mess with other men's women. Hakim politely assured the President that they are sacred.

Mr. Bush should not be concerned over being considered graceful, as expectations for him to be so, are low. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Saturday, December 02, 2006

GW Bush – Blood in the Bucket

Americans from time to time assign their presidents nick names; examples are IKE, JFK, The Father of Our Country, and Old Hickory. President GW Bush himself however, likes to assign nicknames to others – who will forget some: Brownie (FEMA Director Brown), Fart Blossom (Karl Rove) or Cobra (NYT Columnist Maureen Dowd). It is time to assign him one: "Blood in the Bucket Bush" is what I had in mind.

First time I heard the term was as a kid when I lived in a Midwestern city. The outskirts of the city was populated by poor unskilled white workers from West Virginia and Kentucky who flocked North to work in the WWII defense industries. They lived in squatter shacks and second hand trailers, some without electricity, in an area called Black Oak. They brought with them evangelical tent ceremonies for those who were blessed; and a raucous dance bar, set up in a condemned building named BLOOD IN THE BUCKET for those unblessed, who did not see the light. As city kids we would ride our bikes to the rural area and sneak into the tent ceremonies to watch jumping, shouting and cavorting by the members. We were all Roman Catholics or conservative and strict protestants, so this practiced religion appeared as freakish entertainment and absolutely unfathomable. The evangelical parish was kind to us and sometimes served us Kool Aid and cookies, but it made no converts from our gang. During the advent of GW Bush, these people have become a main-stream religion. Probably unfairly, but when I hear those TV preachers such as "SEND MONEY" Baker, Swaggert, Falwell, and Robertson; the creepy childhood images from Black Oak still haunt me. As far as the religion today, I still consider it a strange attraction, but the world is what it is... The evangelists certainly do not have monopoly on disrepute in the American religious communities.

Blood in the Bucket was another thing... It stood in sharp contrast to the fanatic holy rollers in the tents. Saturday nights, usually the day after payday in the mills, the Blood in the Bucket rocked. Everybody was drunk on moonshine – knife fights and shootings were common as lonely men fought over the few long haired Loretta Lynn style country girls. Most of the other women, but without make up and rhinestones, were busy singing and waving their arms in the tents. Our gang stayed far away from the place, terrified by the reputation. It finally was burned down; most suspect arson by the God-fearing tent people. You know... the hand of God thing with help from God’s psalm singing children.

Blood in the Bucket is a fine sobriquet for GW Bush; wherever the President walks, the man leaves bloody footprints. In most cases his policies stimulate the mayhem; in some he is just ill fated – blighted by bloody disaster. The last category is Katrina where he and Brownie fumbled the ball and their ineptitude contributed to wholesale suffering and in some cases death. GW Bush’s culpability in 9/11 is still a coin toss; we know he ignored strategic warnings of the Jihad strike, but whether he could have stopped the attack is still moot. The Democrats in power in Congress now will go after the issue like a dog goes after a bone, so the last investigative chapter remains unwritten. Bush's bloody role in Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq is categorical and has intensely fueled terrorism against the USA.

In Lebanon he tacitly encouraged Israel to destroy Lebanese infrastructure with made in America aircraft, iron bombs, and used cluster bombs on their population. In Palestine, Bush forced elections that Hamas democratically won, and then he withdrew his support for Palestine, because the election backfired on him. His effort to walk back the elections has now caused even more bloodshed in a civil war. War in Afghanistan is characterized by indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilian communities that even makes the US puppet Karzai gasp and call for it to stop. And Iraq... the US started a war of choice under false flags, (i.e. No WMD and Saddam and Bin Laden were not sweethearts), and to implant democracy by the sword. The war blew up in his face – horribly – there are many lost Americans who are dead and many more who are seriously wounded. A vast fortune has been extravagantly spent on the war, and by most standards, the war is lost as the country erupts into civil war.

As GW Bush's walls came tumbling down signaled by the 2006 elections, his father, former president HW Bush, stepped into the fray to rescue his boy. He told the world that his son is an honest man. Too bad he did not finish the sentence, for example: My son is honest but dumb...; My son is honest but likes to play with explosives...; My son is honest but weak and prefers to be led by his nose... To fix the Iraq problem, Daddy Bush ginned up a bipartisan Iraq study group headed by Jim Baker and former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton. Hamilton is the Republicans' pet Democrat and he was also hauled out to co-chair the 9/11 Commission. The study group has people like pro war Larry Eagleburger, who is Hopeless Henry Kissinger’s loyal retriever trained to fetch on command – give him a few drinks and he will do a Kissinger imitation, German Yiddish accent and all. Baker is by far the most competent and has in the past sometimes kept Israeli considerations at arms length, but his main role here is to protect what is left of GW Bush's shattered legacy; the committee recommendations will be a watered down compromise that most in Washington will salute, but expect the Shiite and Sunnis in Iraq to thumb their noses – at least those who do not speak English with a London accent which is 99.9999% of the people.

The US badly needs an exit strategy from Iraq, otherwise it will end up fleeing a burning Green Zone with shattered forces. Let us hope that the Baker/Hamilton duo can at least do that. Do not expect the military leadership to do it. The generals would rather be buried with WE ARE WINNING, chiseled on their tombstones than admit they lost the war.

There is a touch of irony that HW Bush crawled out of retirement to protect GW Bush. He started this whole Iraqi debacle with his invasion of Kuwait. HWB used every diplomatic chit he had for a real coalition invasion that included Syria and Saudi Arabia, so sonny boy had very few to use in Iraq War II. Bush I called for the Kurds and Shiites to revolt and who because they did, were brutally punished by Saddam as Bush stood by – I never understood the difference between buying oil from Saddam or from corrupt Kuwaiti sheiks, but unlike senior Bush I never had to deflect public attention from raising taxes after promising READ MY LIPS. His Iraqi war did not help him get reelected; he was turned from office after four years as Clinton and Perot ripped out his guts during the campaign.

We have two more dreadful years of Bucket of Blood Bush as the country pointlessly bleeds in Iraq. He still has the pro Israeli neocons and Israeli lobby dancing on his head to stay the course and to invade Iran. Daddy Bush may have to put him in a straight jacket and clamp an iron mask over his head to prevent a spastic response to bomb more heathens. The tent people in Black Oak and the torching of the bar, Bucket of Blood, taught me early never to underestimate the determination of religious fanatics; this includes Jihadists and Zionists – this attitude was reenforced later at Indiana University in 1954 when I graduated with James Walker Jones of the Destructive Doomsday Cult. He made the words DRINK THE KOOL AID famous, as the call-sign for religious nut cases. Robert E Bartos Colonel USA RET