Thursday, August 16, 2007

GW Bush on August Break – Mars in Charge

Afghani Karzai, Russian Putin and French Sarkozy have recently visited the US. The Frenchman and the Russian were treated to a visit to Rancho Norte at GW Bush's father's spread in Maine. Karzai did not make Maine Camp David Two, probably because he expressed something positive on Iran. Given Iraqi Maliki was recently spotted holding hands in Tehran with Ahmadinejad, had he come to town, he probably would have had to stay in a pitched tent in Lafayette Park and fed cold C-rations.

Ever since the senior Read My Lips Bush vomited at a banquet during his visit to Japan, the Bushes have not been noted for their exotic cuisine. In Maine, I read about menus composed of toasted cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers, so Karzai did not miss much. If Daddy Bush gagged at the sight and smell of eel skin wrapped sushi, what do you think happened when GWB saw his favorite puppet off the string, Maliki, cavorting in palaces of Persia, hand in hand, with that Holocaust Denier, the evil Ahmadinejad. It must have upset and bent him over for days. Rejected? The pangs of despised love? His neocon pals are even worse off – most are seeing their retainer psychiatrists. You can bet they are now plotting another regime change for their current democratically elected Shiite leader of Iraq.

This Iraqi/Iranian Entente is a serious blow to the Bush occupation. It was always in the cards as Iraqi Shiites and Iranian Shiites, having adjoining borders, are members of the same Islamic brotherhood; political fusion would come sooner or later after GW Bush's dumb invasion of Iraq. What is surprising for President Bush is that Maliki did not wait until GWB left office to make the move to his Iraq/Iranian Co-Prosperity Sphere. At Bush's last press conference, he was asked what he intended to do about Maliki's wayward ways. He replied jokingly that he would DUKE IT OUT WITH HIM. Well, the last time I tried that in a bar brawl 35 years ago, I ended up with a chipped front tooth. Bush will have greater issues than that, once he inadvertently unites all the Iraqi Shiites against him in a whirling suicidal mass attack against US forces.

My sense is the Maliki government exists only on paper; Sunnis walked out of his government. The US arming of Sunnis forced the issue now. General Petraeus is killing el Sadr militia and Maliki is unable to protect it, so the situation is boiling. As far as the Petraeus/Crocker report, it is on its 95th draft as Bush, his neocons, Crocker and Petraeus keep rewriting it to conform at least marginally to the rapidly changing real situation. One thing for certain, the Iraqis do not have the same benchmarks as the US. Even our beloved Kurds do not want to privatize oil, which would permit Big Oil to play and compete against OPEC. Petraeus has 160,000 troops and another 120,000 private contractors that provide security, logistics, intelligence and combat service support. If he cannot put down the insurgency with that force, he will surely end up in the General Westmoreland Hall of Fame of Lost Wars. Or even possibly, if he gets careless, the General Custer Museum of Lost Battles. Petraeus has to be careful. The insurgents are blowing up key bridges to limit US mobility of its armored vehicles.

Recently, this year so far, the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan has brought a 25% increase in in attacks on NATO forces. For example, one fortified NATO position in Southern Afghanistan was hit three times in a few weeks by frontal attacks. In terms of statistical lethality, Afghanistan now matches Iraq in KIA NATO forces. The Taliban uses roadside bombs and suicide bombers. Their forces operate from sanctuaries in Pakistan. NATO forces were cajoled into operations by the US by arguing it was less dangerous to fight in Afghanistan than in Iraq. NATO was expected to do its duty as members in the alliance, but has now learned it got more vicious than it expected. Participation was designed to be a division of labor: Germans to train the police forces; Italians to develop a judicial system; and the English to interdict narcotics traffic. The US was to train the Afghan Army and take the Taliban on in combat along with help from the Canadians and Dutch. Despite the fact the English have overall command authority, each country has its own rules of engagement, many of which inhibit combat operations – the division of labor has led to serious coordination problems. The English commander recently complained that the US has caused civilian collateral damage with its bombing and inhibits support of the Afghan people. NATO's record on the ground in Bosnia was abysmal. Napoleon always preferred to fight against coalitions. The Bosnian Serbs appreciated this also, and now so does the Taliban.

Despite the goofy claims by Bush about al Qaeda in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Pakistan border areas remain the epicenter of jihad and terrorism. As far as al Qaeda in Iraq, it is estimated that it amounts to 7% of the insurgency. And it is sustained there, ironically, by the presence of US troops. When Bush invaded Iraq, he shifted main combat elements to Iraq from Afghanistan – these were mainly the best special operations troops and most Predator drones equipped with Hellfire missiles – any real nation building was starved for funds. This is now changing. Funds earmarked for Afghanistan jumped from 3 billion to 9 billion this year; that is what is spent in Iraq in about two months. What do you expect? There is no oil in Afghanistan. Karzai has another money problem: the war lords do not turn over duties collected at border crossings to the central government. There is not much the green caped Karzai can do about it but declare, IT IS NOT FAIR...

General Musharraf is having serious problems holding on to power in Pakistan. He wanted to declare martial law and refused to attend a tribal meeting in Kabul. Condoleezza talked him into attending at least the last day of the meeting and not declaring martial law. Musharraf is a crafty leader, so I was surprised he took Rice's advice. Condoleezza is never right – Musharraf will lose power within the year. He hates Karzai, who is backed by the Afghan Northern Alliance, which is supported by his arch enemy, India.

You would think the American people would get their money's worth with two US Bush presidents meeting together with Putin and Sarkozy separately, but remember zero plus zero still equals zero, despite what the Bushs' neocon fan club insists. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen the 1994 interview with VP Cheney that is floating around the internet about invading Iraq? He was exactly right. VP knew this would be a quagmire.

I hope this stupid adventure in the Middle East does not turn out to be an even bigger disaster for the US.

As Ron Paul said "just come home, we wrong to go".


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