Thursday, October 25, 2007

More War Less Talk – Iran

You cannot call it war mongering, because that is a nasty Marxist epithet used against the US by the Communists, discarded with the end of the Cold War. What you call GW Bush's threat of WWIII if Iran acquires knowledge of a nuclear weapon is up to you, but I call it just stupid. Look, if the North Koreans, Israelis, Indians and the Pakistanis can build nuclear WMDs, whether the Persians have the knowledge is not the burning issue. The issue is do they have the bomb or are they moving toward its acquisition? Is Bush's and his Israeli pal's intelligence is so thin on the subject that Bush is stuck with dancing with the amorphous word knowledge. Most PhDs in nuclear physics have the knowledge to build a nuc.

After all, Bush said Saddam had WMD and he proved to be dead wrong. To make matters worse this time around, Russia's Putin officially disagrees loudly with Bush's conclusions on Iran's hot pursuit of the bomb. So maybe Bush will practice caution this time. Nobody believes Israeli intelligence except Bush and the neocons.

Second part of Bush's statement on WWIII was that an Iranian nuclear weapon was a direct threat to Israel and that was why the US will prevent its acquisition even if it started WWIII. Bush has to be careful of linking the Jewish state as the basis to starting war or he will begin to sound like the much pilloried and drunken film star, Mel Gibson, who blamed the Jews for starting wars. My sense is that Israeli has nuclear weapons and has the best airforce in the Middle East, so it should take care of itself if it foolishly chooses to risk war. Israeli targets in Iran may be out of range, but that problem is solved with one way missions. Desperate situations call for desperate measures. As far as living with a nuclear Iran, there is always a Mutual Assured Destruction Doctrine that worked well in the Cold War. Was interesting to note that retired US General Abizaid, former commander of CENTCOM, recently declared that the US should do its best to persuade Iran to not acquire nuclear weapons, but if not successful, the US could live with them.

One thing obvious at this stage is the US military is not keen on war with Iran. It followed moronic cake walk pro Israeli neocons into war on Iraq. Let's hope it concluded that the Administration, with its imbedded neocons, do not know what they are doing in terms war and US interests. Israelis want US troops in the region to come to their rescue if necessary at any American cost. What the US does not need is deeper involvement with Israeli security pushed frantically by the neocons and Israeli lobby. A US attack on Iran is at the top of their agenda. Just watch Senator Leiberman jump when told by Israel to do so. His last leap through the Israeli hoop was leading the US Senate to brand the Iranian Guards as terrorists that provided political ground work for the invasion of Iran.

War with Iran would bring on oil at well over a 100USD a barrel with a major ruinous impact on the US and world economy. War with Iran was put something like this by the Iranians: The US has encircled itself with Iran; pre targeted rocket and missiles will rain on nearby US military forces and installation in the region to include Israel. Iranians indicated a 2 minute response to attacks, so it effectively is a launch on warning scenario.

This is most likely a puffed up over estimation of Iran's counter attack capabilities. Reminded me of a the time I asked a Yugoslav general how he expected to stop five Soviet tank divisions from pouring into Yugoslavia across the Danubian plains from Hungry into Yugoslavia. He replied that the Yugoslavs have 15 anti-tank weapons for every Soviet tank! So like the Yugoslavs, the Iranians will go with what they got if they are attacked; it will not reek devastation on US forces, but will inflict serious losses to US troops, to include US capital ships – remember the Shiite Iranians have a suicide ethos that enabled them to fight the better equipped Saddam forces to a standstill, despite Saddam's ruthless use of chemical warfare against them. They are a strong ethnocentric nationality, a religious group with firm ties to a glorious past. AND, there are about 70 million of them.

Unlike the pre-attack on Iraq, Russia has interjected itself dramatically into the scene. A Moscow/Tehran axis has developed with leadership exchanges, and Russian hand-holding of the Persians on nuclear developments. Russia recently sent Condoleezza and SECDEF Gates from Moscow with a stern lecture on US planned bases in East Europe. Russia also threatened to abrogate the Intermediate Missile Treaty in Europe. It also has reactivated the long range recon Bear bombers to keep tabs on the US fleet. You have to assume their submarine patrols also have increased. Any attack on Iran by the US has to factor in Russian mischief.

After GW Bush's recent press conference where he toyed with WWIII, some main line media types believed GW Bush had just ad libbed the lines, improvised, i.e., no talking points. This was supported by the way the president squirmed, with a goofy smirk on his face when he delivered the words. That conjecture was soon dashed when VEEP Cheney, a few days later, went after Iran warning the Persians that dire measures by the international community will be taken if the Iranians continue on their present course. Am uncertain who is this international coalition; it is not the UN for certain. As far as NATO, it has not even fulfilled its commitments to Afghanistan as promised; SECDEF Gates protested about this last week. Cheney has eager, sometimes loyal Israel, but its premier Olmert may be in jail for corruption before it is time to strike. By this time the Englishmen are tired of being GWB's lap dog. The Poles have just changed government and the new gang has put a much higher price on its military cooperation with the US. The Europeans get the bulk of their oil from Iran – oil will not be pumped or transported during a war. So Cheney's multi national bandwagon for war on Iran is very light – might even say delusional.

There is cheering in the neocon offices at the American Enterprise Institute and the Weekly Standard that ardently and successfully promoted the foolish invasion of Iraq. For Iran it goes, WE DID IT BEFORE AND WE CAN DO IT AGAIN. The war drums are beating. The incompetent morons who brought you Fiasco I are prepared to unveil Fiasco II. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET
*Photograph: Persian Qjar Tile of Lady

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ending Iraq War by Accident

Turkey is a stalwart US ally. Apart from its NATO membership, it has an important role in the US war in Iraq, mainly furnishing air bases and a transport net that are key to logistic support for US combat operations. Two things drive the Turks absolutely crazy; one is anti-Turkish Kurdish partisans operating in their country; the other is rubbing the Turk's noses in the genocide of Armenians that occurred a little under 100 years ago during a civil war in the Ottoman Empire. The US has managed to stick its finger into the Turkish eyes on both of these sensitive issues.

Unintended consequences of the steady US armament of Kurdish tribes recently, first against Saddam, followed by the employment of Kurdish militias against Sunni and Shiite insurgents, has enabled emboldened Kurdish guerillas to attack the Turkish Army in Turkey on a larger scale. Objective of these Kurdish attacks is to unite Kurdish tribes in Turkey with those in Kurdistan. Recently, 27 Turks were killed by the Kurd forces on Turkish soil. Turkish military reprisals have begun with an artillery bombardment of Kurdish lands, helicopter gun-ship attacks against guerilla staging areas and the movement of 60,000 Turkish forces to the Kurdish/ Turkish borders. Historically, Turks inflict pain. There is not much history to support they endure pain. My prediction is that before this skirmish is over, there will be many more than 27 dead Kurds.

There are sizable Kurdish minorities not only in Turkey, but in Iran and Syria. Big powers played the Kurds against these nations as well as Saddam over the years. And the US was up to its ears in the game in the last half of the 20th century; as a result the tribes loyal to the major Barazani group still do not trust the USA. The US has support mainly from Talibani Kurds. Oil development contracts with Kurds and Texas Hunt/ Halliburton oil outfits could be in jeopardy if turmoil spreads. Israeli dreams of pumping oil by pipeline from Kurd lands through Jordan to Haifa, Israel, promoted by hopeless Henry Kissinger, might go aglimmering.

The Turks were not supportive of the US invasion of Iraq. They refused to cooperate with the US to invade from Turkey and specifically refused to permit the 4th Infantry Division to deploy through Turkey into Iraq. Since then the influence of Turkish Islamic parties has increased to a clear majority and support of the US is being questioned more seriously. The Turks greatest fear, that the Iraq War would destabilize the area by stirring up Kurdish nationalism, has come to fruition. The US is biting its nails over this predictable dilemma. Thank you moronic neocons for another disaster!

Into this tense situation steps the US House of Representatives with its slap happy resolution to condemn Turkey for an Armenian genocide that occurred between 1915 and 1917 under the Ottoman Empire. Maybe I am old fashioned. Why involve the US in marking any massacres committed by other countries in other countries? When in Berlin years ago I asked a Berlin taxi driver where the controversial German Holocaust memorial would finally be situated. He replied with a sardonic smile, RIGHT NEXT TO THE US EMBASSY. This national indulgence really took off in the USA when President Reagan provided the American Jewish community with the historic US Mint building for a holocaust museum in Washington, DC which, contrary to the agreement, was promptly razed by the group to put up a modern building. Its construction set off a furious cottage industry to build Holocaust Museums in nearly every major city of the USA. These shared chambers of horror honor those who were mercilessly murdered by the Nazis, but why such an excess of museums? It was an hysterical, over-the-top building program that diminished and degraded the impact of the tragedy by making it a common street corner side show exhibition. Their widespread existence has not precluded man's inhumanity to man in the slightest. These memorials/museums belong in Israel and Berlin, where they now impressively stand.

For better or worse the US population appears to have a morbid proclivity to champion the remembrance of other nations' massacres. Now can we expect Congress to pass pointless resolutions on Darfur, Cambodia, Rwanda, Grozny and Fallujah? Maybe even on the ancient massive atrocities committed by Tamerlane, Ghengis Khan, and Attila the Hun. If your cup of misplaced pity still is not filled, try to take a bite of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but do not choke on Pearl Harbor and the Bataan Death March in the process. Learn lessons: the past is past; do not let it flog the future. The US legislative concern over Armenians killed nearly 100 yrs. ago makes no sense. It is absurd. Congress should focus on ending two wars, an out of control budget, massive corruption and a decaying national infrastructure for starters.

California congressional representatives Pelosi and Lantos insured last week that a US House resolution condemning the Turks for Armenian genocide passed from committee to the floor for vote. As of this writing no date has been set to bring it to vote on the floor. Bush administration is doing it best to prevent this from happening and for a change is on the right side of the issue. Armenians throughout the world have self righteously sought to embarrass Turkey over the issue. It was a cause celeb by the internationally famous French Armenian vocalist Charles Aznavour in the mid 20th century. My visit to Yerevan in Armenia in the 60s brought me to the national museum where on entering the building, you were greeted by very large painting of a beautiful Armenian maiden in national costume lying in a pool of blood draped over a pile of scattered Armenian books. Standing over her is a brutish Turkish soldier with a bloody yataghan in his hand, so it is certainly an emotionally charged issue, intentionally perpetuated, that has a life of its own.

Representative Pelosi admitted that she championed the Armenian cause mainly to satisfy the demand of an Armenian constituency in California. This is ward healing politics at its worse with national interest be damned. Representative Lantos declared the same reason, but Lantos had other reasons. He is a holocaust survivor from Hungary. He is a secular Jew who regularly champions human rights issues, so genocide was the kind of issue on which he morally and emotionally is fixated. As an American lawmaker, his first responsibility is to the US interests. He was expected to reflect: to focus on how his political actions deleteriously impacted on Turkish /US relations.

US military organizations have begun planning how to support the logistical operations in Iraq if Turkish facilities are denied. There are really no good options. Cost of supporting the operations will explode as vulnerabilities to logistic trains expand. If the Turks react strongly, Pelosi and Lantos could have inadvertently complicated the Iraqi war to the degree that it can not be sustained without even more huge, unacceptable costs that finally force a welcome end. So there might be a long term bright side to Congress' obvious foolishness. What an ironic outcome... Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET
* Photograph: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk [Atatürk](1881-1938) the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first President

Friday, October 12, 2007

Halloween is Coming – 2007 Version

October always ends with bang. It is called Halloween; it once was a time when creepy, morbid things like ghosts, ghouls and demons were good-naturedly celebrated. Trick or Treat? As a kid it was my favorite holiday. It has changed... Now many adults don costumes; it has turned into a sort of big city saturnalia where children are afraid to take to the streets sometimes prowled by predators. Sickos even plant drugs and razor blades in their treats.

Last year on Halloween I was in Old town Alexandria, VA for Sunday brunch. Outside, through a restaurant window, there was an endless parade of dogs and their masters. Each dog was in costume. Some even wore glasses and jewelry; several were pushed in baby buggies and strollers; others rode in little red wagons. Their masters were mostly overweight; females wore preppy, sexless rubber shoes and men over 40 years tended to waddle. Nearly all the dogs were pure bred and represented a majority of AKC’s finest. Most of the female singles were pulled around by labrador retrievers, so you can conclude that was the breed of choice for that status of woman. The parade went on for hours. The folks were not glamorous, but their dogs were stunning, even with the absurd decorative accouterments. I did not see any kids in costume.

This year GW Bush's China trade policy will bring us made in China toxic plastic pumpkins, costumes and masks; so run out to buy them and die. If you are a Republican loyalist, it is your duty.

Now that public-bathroom-lurker Republican Idaho Senator Craig decided not resign from the Senate, it has been announced he is to be inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame. That is better than what Republican Representative Foley received when he resigned for lusting after congressional page boys. According to some blogs, other Republican senators and congressmen may be outed for gay tendencies. If they put on lipstick, false eye lashes and eye liner for Halloween, we will know for certain. What is this? Our leading Republican Presidential Candidate Rudy 9/11 Giuliani pictured dressed in drag? Instead of the Grand Old Party, GOP will stand for the Gay Old Party. BRING THEM ON, as GW Bush says. Should make the Religious Right holy rollers spin just a little faster...

Halloween always needs a magician or an illusionist for a well-balanced, full cast. My nomination is General Saveus Petraeus. Anyone who can try to make us believe that 66 US troops killed in action in Iraq in September is progress after five years of war, should be a charlatan barker at a sideshow. The accuracy of General Petreaus' charts to hawk surge success in front of Congress is still under question. Reminds me of third world police force efforts to reduce crime; they just ignore and not report the crimes. In Petraeus' case, it was to reclassify Iraqi victims from sectarian violence to deadly robberies; it is all magic with dead bodies stacked in different columns.

Going to have a masquerade ball at my place on the 31st of October. Will invite the neocons and Senator Leiberman who will be masqueraded as Americans. Senator McCain masqueraded as sane; Bill and Hillary Clinton masqueraded as a cohabiting couple living in conjugal bliss; President GW Bush masqueraded as the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Condoleezza masqueraded as a US Secretary of State; and Iraqi Premier Maliki masqueraded as a person with power. Venezuelan Hugo Chavez will come as Simon Bolivar and VEEP Cheney as Napoleon exiled to St. Helena. If the New York Times favorite agrarian reformer, Cuban Fidel Castro, is up to it, will have him bring a loud, brassy salsa band with a dozen hot exotic dancers. Soirée will be invitation only. Fire arms checked at the door. I promise a real GW Bush illegal alien will park your car. Ice cold Mojitos served. All the lechón you can eat. Only Cuban Cohiba cigar smoking on premises is permitted... TRICK OR TREAT. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

* Photograph: French Illusionist Poster – 1920's

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Columbia University on Steroids: Israeli Lobby on the Roll

It was an unbelievable scene at NYC Columbia University as an invited guest speaker was excoriated by its president publicly on stage. The object of President Bollinger's unhinged attack was Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who was in the US to attend UN ceremonies. The agenda that prompted this attack was purely from the Israeli lobby playbook; Columbia president Bollinger even mentioned in his tirade the fact that there were many Columbia alumni living in Israel, so we assume he was also stroking his donor base. Apart from undermining any pretense of academic freedom, Bollinger demonstrated intense bad taste and crude manners by insulting an invited guest. If Bollinger had such contempt for the man, why invite him? He apparently tried to have it both ways: to welcome but with insult. Student substantive issues with the Iranian were adequately addressed in the question and answer period, once the guest speaker finished. Bollinger's action was over the top, brash Israel lobbyist stuff that has brought the US convicted Israeli spys, Pollard and Livingston, and now two more men from the principal American Israeli lobbyist organization under indictment for espionage. Bollinger should be fired for his robotic exuberance for pushing squalid Zionist party line propaganda unsuccessfully masked as academic freedom. It was a diplomatic incident. As usual Condoleezza does not know what to do...

Massed outside the gates of Columbia were angry crowds waving Israeli and American flags, and placards with a swastikas superimposed over Ahmadinejad face. Some demonstrators wore Yarmulkes. The Iranian leader reportedly promised to destroy Israel, not the USA, so why all this angst on the shores of the Hudson River? Bollinger perhaps reacted to the roar of the crowd. It was quite a colorful, animated display by some folks from Manhattan and it was not even Christmas time. Saddam promised to burn Israel. Khrushchev promised to bury the US – none of this happened. It was all hyperbolic propaganda. Mature nations can handle this verbiage and not over-react in a strung out, rabid, extremist way.

As despicable as he was described, the Iranian brought a little unintended humor to the intense gathering when he replied to a question on homosexuals in Iran by declaring that Iran does not have them like in the US. They certainly exist there and are executed based on five witnesses to such acts. Over there, however, they do not have gay rights parades with marchers dressed as cavorting drag queens and sugar plum fairies, but they do have Shiite self-flagellation parades on religious holidays where the marchers publicly draw blood on their bare backs and chests. Not yet ready in the US for a mutual exchange of values. As far as freedom of speech in Iran, it exists on Persian blogs at least to the extent where it is obvious Ahmadinejad is not always a hero and has serious detractors.

My association with Columbia University was the result of a military assignment to attend Columbia University and was part of a US Army graduate program to train me as a Russian expert. I had just completed nearly a year of intense Russian language training, so my Russian language capability was better than most students there, unless it was a Russian exchange student. In the late fifties I reported for registration at Columbia in my military uniform and was told immediately that for my own good, I should not wear my uniform to classes – that it attracted less attention was okay with me, but I asked why since President Eisenhower had been President of the University until shortly before his election. The response was that military organizations are inimical to academic environments. I had no problems socially or politically from the left wing faculty and students. After all, part of my curriculum was the study of Marxism/ Leninism and Columbia at that time provided a teeming petri dish.

Most of my subjects of study were associated with the Russian Institute at Columbia. It was reputed to be the best in the country on Russian/Soviet studies at the time and that is why the Army picked the school. I had to compete for admission as any regular graduate student. This association between Columbia and the Army was terminated a few years later as Columbia and the Army quarreled over admission of active military students.

The Russian Institute faculty was almost all composed of Central and Eastern European Jewish professors, either first generation or born there; uncertain whether they were secular or not. One thing for certain, I never heard a hint of Zionist propaganda or the mention of Israel. For example, a leading expert on Communism at the time was Leonard Schapiro in London, who had just published a magnum opus on the history of the Soviet Communist Party. It was mandatory reading for us. Columbia University arranged for Schapiro to come to Columbia for a short time to lecture and attend our seminars, where the students could question him. The leadership of the Russian Revolution were mostly all Jews except Stalin and Derzhanski, so all this made good sense to me at the time to understand any possible ethnic thought process. It still does as an analytical tool as I witness the interplay of theory and practice in modern political and religious movements. Despite the fact there were no Red banners in the crowd or pictures of Lenin outside the gates of Columbia, especially with the anti-fascist swastikas, there was still just a little déjà vu that took me back to the holiday tumult of 60's Red Square in Moscow.

Compared to Indiana University where I received an AB, the student body at Columbia had far more fervor and intellectual energy. Maybe it was because I was at the graduate level then, but it was also that the student body came mainly from intensely competitive big cities rather than the isolated farms and small towns of the Middle West. The intellectual environment was also highly charged by NYC talk shows hosted by Gore Vidal, Bill Buckley and David Susskind. The issues at the time that were defined by them became important subjects and sparked debates in the student body.

After my year at Columbia I was assigned to Europe to be immersed in a Russian environment for two years, which included travel to the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union. My home base was an Institute in Bavaria where I had as instructors former Russian military officers from the Vlasov Army; the Vlasov Army was a military formation composed of Russians captured by Germans in WWII. They were turned and used as German auxiliary forces. In some cases they were used in the murderous suppression operations, as in 1944 in the Warsaw Uprising. Most were deported to the Soviet Union– to Stalin – by the Allies after the war, where they were brutally killed as traitors. For example, the leader, General Vlasov, was hanged by the throat on a meat-hook on display in Red Square. Someone in the US had the sense to keep some of these thugs in the West to be useful in the Cold War. To a man, they were survivors; all changing sides at least two times. All spoke only German and Russian. They all were cut throats in some way or another and were a sharp counterpoise to my gentle intellectual professors at Columbia. Their hard-eyed world view was to prove far more valuable to me than those of the professors, as I was later assigned mano a mano duties with the Soviets in the Cold War.

Bollinger's performance at Columbia with high viz. pandering to the Israeli lobby saddened me, as it projected a once great university now turned into a crass tool of the Israeli Lobby that now promotes a foreign agenda. Much has changed since my attendance there over 50 years ago and it would be an interesting academic exercise to determine how this change was wrought – the why is easy to determine.

This week also witnessed the US Congress brand the IRANIAN Revolutionary Guards as terrorists. The move was led by the Israeli Nuncio in the Senate, Joe Lieberman. Many believe this move establishes the predicate for the US invasion or attack on Iran, which is a major Israeli foreign policy goal – if you do not believe me, watch how the neocons pee in their pants with joy as this resolution is used to promote war with Iran. It worked for the invasion of Iraq, so why not try it again for Iran? One difference now is that there are Admirals in charge of CENTCOM and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; they may not roll over as easily as the Air Force and Army generals that blindly led the US into Iraq. The Navy produced Zumwalt and Rickover who could think for themselves. Let's hope this tradition survived in the Navy flag ranks and acts as a fail-safe to more foolish wars. Even the top tier of the Democratic Party Presidential candidates pathetically now expect the Iraqi war to continue through their terms. Both Democrats and Republicans are prepared to vote funds to continue the Iraqi War indefinitely. Is there, in the USA, anybody in power who does not have an Israeli ring in their nose? And that includes our sycophant dears of the Media.

After Ahmadinejad's brief stop in the USA, he went to visit Latin American leftist regimes where he was hailed as a hero of harsh public treatment by the American Israeli Crusaders in NYC, in the belly of the beast. He and Venezuela's Chavez clicked their glasses to celebrate oil over 80 dollars a barrel and fall of the dollar to less than 60 cents on the Euro; a currency now used and mandated to buy Venezuelan and Iranian oil. Americans soon better learn to be addicted to kosher pickles, knishes and matzo ball soup more than oil. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET