Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Odds & Ends – GWBush Summer 2008

What do you know? Coincidental with the end of GW Bush's presidency, we see the end of the US occupation of Iraq. This withdrawal has nothing to do with victory; it has everything to do with failure. The US intended to depart Iraq with a strong democratic central government in place that was favorably disposed to US policies. There is nothing of the kind existing, or on the horizon.

Reality and the ending of a UN mandate has forced Bush out. Seventy percent of the Iraqis demand YANKEE GO HOME. US ground forces are exhausted and face a rapidly decaying security situation in Afghanistan and now Pakistan as the costs of Bush blunders mount. US presidential elections will bring Democrats into power who want to spend three billion a week on US domestic priorities, so Bush has to cut a deal soonest; he hopes at least to award his US oilmen pals some sugar. It is interesting, in this context, that the Iraqis recently invited the Russians to bid for petroleum contracts.

Bush has over sold the success of the surge. It has reduced US casualties as the US bribes Iraqi tribesmen at $200.00 dollars a month not to kill US troops. There are over 100,000 Sunni tribesmen that the US pays and has armed. These were to be integrated into central Iraqi defense forces. To date only about 5,000 have been. On the contrary, the central Shiite controlled government is now trying to disband them. What a set up for bloody future civil war – where is SAVEUS PETRAEUS on this one? He created the problem for short-term political gain in Washington. In the process, he has set the stage for long-term chaos in Iraq.

As far as the Shiite part of the security problems, the Iranians have decided to put all their money on Maliki and disbanded El Sadr's Mehdi militias. El Sadr himself is in Iran now piously studying to be an ayatollah. Remember that snake Ahmed Chalabi, the neocon plaything who boasted he was the midwife for the US invasion? You can bet he is up to his eyeballs in the Shiite situation angling for Maliki's job. He is the only guy who even managed to screw the neocons.

As far as the Kurds, the US is torn between keeping them part of the central government or independent, so they can be exploited by US oilmen and Israelis. The oil rich city of of Kirkut is the big prize; its control is key to a greater Kurdistan – the Sunnis, Turkomen and Shiite elements will permit this only over their dead bodies. Should the Kurds go independent, the Turks and Iranians will make certain that this independence has a short life.

Apart from the serious security problems, Iraq continues to be a political, economic and social basket case. Major cities have been religiously and ethnically cleansed. Property ownership is in disarray. There are about 2 million refugees, mostly in Jordan and Syria. Most of these people are former Baathists or US collaborators whose throats will be cut if they return home. They are precluded from working in Syria or Jordan. Most live off UN refugee handouts. They most certainly act as an internal security flash point for the destabilization of each of these small countries.

The US has so far avoided serious responsibility for these displaced persons. Excuse is they need background checks. So far about 800 Iraqi refugees have been admitted to the US. Under international pressure, US has promised to admit 17,000 next year – that should keep the FBI and Home Land Security busy in the US for the rest of this century.

With Senator Biden on the Democratic ticket, depending on his influence in the new administration, he envisions an Iraq plan which, like Caesar's Gaul, divides Iraq into three parts, along ethnic/religious lines. It would be an Iraqi confederation with a weak central government, probably with only the power to print postage stamps. Biden is an unabashed interventionist who believes Uncle Sam always morally knows best. He voted for the Iraq war and subsequent funding; another of his dubious achievements was the permanent US basing in three of former Yugoslavia states. He must fancy himself as an Ottoman Turk. As far as his dream Iraqi confederation, pure nonsense; it will be a bloody last-man standing affair and Petraeus will have been the enabler.

The selection by Obama of Biden as VEEP was a mistake. As VEEP, blowhard Biden is old wine in a new bottle. Historically, since 1973, he is part of the debacles in foreign policy suffered by the US. He has stated idiotically that there is no difference in US foreign policy goals and those of Israel. If Obama intends to change the equations in US foreign policy, Biden will undermine him. Obama will find he paid a high price for the Jewish vote in the Northeast and Florida.

By now even the dimmest Republican should have figured out that General Petraeus did not save us. There is of course one exception and that is Bomb Bomb McCain, but he does not know the difference between Shiite and Sunni or the boundaries of Iraq. His lucid intervals seem fewer and fewer.

By the way Bomb Bomb, this American resents you calling me a Georgian. Never thought the US would find a goofier President than GW Bush, but the Republicans have one on deck for the '08 presidential elections. Colonial Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Master Bungler – GW Bush

President Clinton left his office without US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He left a terrorist problem which was ignored by GWB until the Jihadists smashed the Twin Towers in NYC and ripped a deadly hole in the Pentagon. Incredibly he permitted Venezuelan Chavez to spawn major problems for the US in its own back yard. All these issues present long-term problems for the next administration, but his fumbling of the diplomatic ball with Russia may be his most ominous blunder; Russia is a nuclear power and rich on petrol rubles. And as recently demonstrated in Georgia, it is prepared to play hardball long term without blinking.

Bush's locker room, frat-rat approach to happy-clap political appointees may work with gullible Republicans, but this conduct misjudges most Europeans who regard it as childish, and lacking of dignity. Bouncing his Russian KBG pal Putin in a pickup truck on rough country roads at Rancho Crawford did not score points. Home on The Range is not an Old European concept. Even his wife Laura is looking for a civilized place to live after his pending departure from the White House. It is not in Crawford Texas.

Clinton passed a Russian diplomatic account to Bush that was, in the main, stable. Neocons wanted early on to interfere in Chechnya on the side of the rebels, but Bush stopped that after being bit by 9/11. Neocons were upset by Putin, because he recovered major Russian industrial and natural resources, assets sold to international Jewish entrepreneurs by the drunken Yeltsin. Putin was ruthless in the re-acquisition process. US had no dog in that internal fight, but the neocons apparently did. They advocated policies advanced by phony democracy arguments that antagonized Russia; it foolishly damaged relations and brought little security to the US.

During this period GWB was trying to reassure our nation and himself that Putin was manageable; Bush said he looked into Putin's eyes – believed he knew Putin had a good soul. How wacko can one be? As best I can reckon, the soulful relationship between Bush and Putin fell apart with the invasion of the sovereign country of Iraq. Russia was owed billions by Saddam. Russia, as the did former Soviet Union, made expensive strategic bets on Saddam; the US invasion ended this. It was a great Russian loss. Russia turned to Syria and Iran as enhanced client states in the region. This was in clear opposition to US policies and interests.

Both of these Islamic states consider Israel as a number one enemy. This of course made the Israeli-first Neocons go berserk. The Neocons with VEEP Cheney took GWB on a bums-rush, anti-Russian ride. A challenged Bush never knew what hit him. Bush and simple Condoleezza were soon flogging the dreadful book by Russian Refusnik Natan Scharansky who now lived in Israel where most considered him a nut case – Bush and Rice actually pitifully tried to sell his book holding it up for reporters. Scharansky's thesis, if carried in extremis, would destroy the world in the name of Democracy. Bush awarded the cretin the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Scharansky got the medal, more royalties on a 10-year old moribund book, and a cream pie in his face when he lectured at an American University. This is the same medal Bush awarded to losers Bremer and Tenet as well as Generals Franks and Pace. By honoring these failures, he degraded the medal to such a degree that it now can be passed out in CRACKER JACK boxes as trinkets.

Neocon pressure on Russia took the form of enlisting Eastern European States into NATO. It worked in the Baltic states, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. The US plays against former Soviet republics such as the Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia have not worked out. In the case of Poland and the Czech Republic, both countries agreed to host ballistic missile components – against strong Russian opposition.

It is uncertain whether these mutual defense pacts are useful in the age of nuclear weapons. Realistically, no American is willing to risk destruction of NYC to save Warsaw or Prague. All the Russians need to do is what they did in Georgia: just advance in strength on the ground into a contiguous area. As far as US ballistic missile defense sites so near the Russian border, those installations most likely will be sabotaged or neutralized well in advance of a nuclear strike.

These new American allies have bought the US more responsibilities, more vulnerabilities and greater risk of war. As far as our new NATO chums, they now get to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. When the bodies come home, second thoughts will settle in; for example: Polish tombstones reading THIS HERO DIED FOR NATO instead of for God and fatherland will be unsettling. Historically too many Poles have already died fighting on foreign battle fields under Napoleonic and Allied leadership.

While Bush enhanced NATO and used its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Putin was busy elsewhere. He crushed the insurgents in Chechnya; paid off international debts; eliminated effectiveness of domestic political opposition; spent over 80 billion on remodeling his armed forces; developed pacts with China that supplied military equipment and training; and, he sold military equipment to Venezuela that included small arms, airplanes and submarines. Putin now enjoys approximately a 70% approval rate by the Russians while Bush's rate is under 30% by Americans.

Putin is delighted with NATO engaged in Afghanistan. European and American troops are sent into a bloody maw that has no end. Bush bungled badly in Afghanistan by permitting the escape of Taliban Chieftain Omar at Kandahar and Bin Laden at Tora Bora. Iraq war's overwhelming priority permitted the Taliban and al Qaeda to regroup. Now GWB's quest for democracy has undermined Pakistani Musharraf – not a smart move.

The Russian foray into Georgia is an example of how Bush has lost leverage with Russia. Eight years ago the Russians were trying to conform to their post-Soviet period reality and to work with the West; this period has passed mainly due to the exploitation by the West of Russia's weakness. Ironically, Bush's aggressiveness in Iraq and Eastern Europe acted as a spur to Putin to reassert Russia's role in the world.

Russia is back like gang busters. The Russian Army Choir is now singing songs glorifying the Soviet Red Army. Russian BEAR aircraft have returned to shadow US carrier task forces. Asked when the Russians will withdraw from Georgia after the ceasefire, a Russian official responded along the these lines: that the US knows how difficult it is to withdraw from Iraq, so we should understand the Russian difficulties of withdrawal from Georgia as well.

The Russian military advance into Georgia could not have been a surprise to the US. There is no way US intelligence could have missed the massing of Russian forces near the border. It is more likely that Bush was warned but ignored the warning, because he had no effective option unless he risked escalating the military situation. The US had 2000 Georgian troops in Iraq who were returned to Georgia immediately. What price did the US pay for these services? We know at least 130 US military advisors were in Georgia when it was invaded and they were withdrawn immediately. We also know tons of US weapons and ammunition were captured by the Russians.

One surprise was that the Russians permitted the international press to roam around the area of operations. A western reporter asked an enlisted Russian soldier about Russian intentions. He replied that if the Russians were on the US-Mexican border, the Americans would also be concerned and take action. Knowing GWB's proclivity to make the wrong decisions, I am not as certain about this as the Russian soldier – Bush probably would be afraid to take any action that might threaten Mexican illegal immigration. You can expect that once a bungler always a bungler. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August Heat

August is the month of the year when weird things seem to happen. Maybe it is the heat. Maybe it is the fact most populations in northern continental climates go on vacation and things are allowed to hang out – Napoleon and Obama were both born under the sun sign of Leo. Other than that, about the only things these two personalities have in common are that both possess a sharp intellect, both pursue mighty power while young and both have the ability to take action; brains and action are a rarity in political leadership.

The history on Napoleon has been written; on Obama, it has not yet been written. Important figures in the 20th century who fit this intellect/action mold are General MacArthur, Teddy Roosevelt, Churchill, Lenin, Trotsky and DeGaulle. Obama has a steep mountain to climb. For better or worse, or for good or bad, he has the self-generating spark to drive him high.

The world is packed with intellectuals who like to cast sophist bullets, but wet their pants at the prospect of shooting them – they are unnerved by implementation. At the same time there is an over-abundance of those bubbling with testosterone, who are inherently drawn to action, thoughtlessly driven by Darwinian instinct; GW Bush, VEEP Cheney and, of course, Bomb Bomb McCain along with Rocky Balboa, are modern examples. This gang is useful to use to chase after the mechanical rabbits, but are incapable of devising policy that ever makes sense. They thunder action first and then try desperately to devise policy to support their follies. This group still cannot define victory in Iraq or Afghanistan despite the fact they are up to their ears in death and destruction for over seven years. They are of the school that is READY, FIRE, AIM.

Classic example of this modus operandi was illustrated by a statement made by Richard Perle, a member of the Neocon Sandhedrin. After shock and awe and the US invasion of Iraq, he said that now there was no turning back. He understood that once the US was trapped into spilling blood and treasure, inherent American patriotism would kick in and blindly push to victory, albeit undefined. The early 19th century US naval hero Stephen's Decatur's toast, MY COUNTRY RIGHT OR WRONG still works to get the American nationalist juices flowing.

Richard Perle represents the more contemptible elements of American society. He was a prime mover in the invasion of Iraq and is now tangled in oil deals with the Kurds that are illegal and undercut the Iraqi central government; he is a merchant of death. And he cynically used a foolish GW Bush who said he was told by God to invade Iraq.

There was a corollary to Decatur's quote made later in 1872 by Carl Schurz, a US senator from Wisconsin. It went like this, MY COUNTRY RIGHT OR WRONG; IF RIGHT, TO BE KEPT RIGHT; IF WRONG, SET IT RIGHT. This mocks the chauvinism of men like Bomb Bomb McCain and should be recalled the next time Bomb Bomb recites his I ALWAYS WILL PUT MY MY COUNTRY FIRST mantra. He certainly did not when he was a POW and supported enemy propaganda. He is a real piece of work.

This August was the time GW Bush finally succeeded in getting a terrorist conviction at Guantanamo. The man was convicted of supporting terrorism. His name was Hamden, the Yemenese driver of Bin Laden. He was not captured on the battlefield. There is no proof he killed anyone or conspired to do so; he dutifully led his captors to places where he drove Bin Laden

Apart from the the legality and constitutionality of military tribunal proceedings, you must challenge the Administration's judgment on the massive effort expended to fry such a small fry. Does this mean Bin Laden's barbers, tailors and sandal makers are on the terrorist list? GWB probably will go down as the worst president in the US, but there is no question he will go down as the most absurd. He is now cheerleading the US Olympic team in Beijing while his father, Bush 41, plays ping pong with Chinese dwarfs... guess once a cheerleader always a cheerleader.

In 1960s the Army switched from the khaki Eisenhower Jacket and officer Pinks and Greens to the current Army Green uniform. As I was stationed in Southern Germany at the time. I bought a bolt of regulation wool elastic material at the PX and gave it to an old German tailor living near my kaserne.

Since I had to visit the tailor several times for fittings, I got to know him well. He was close to seventy and told me that the most exciting moment in his life was when he was the personal tailor to SS Leader Reinhard Heydrich – aka by Germans: THE BLOND BEAST; and by others as HEYDRICH THE HANGMAN. He was second in command to Himmler and was reputed to be the author of the final solution which led to the murder of millions of Jews in Europe. He was a monster. Our tailor was not. Today, until the US learns to discriminate among entities and perceived enemies more wisely, the Jihadists will not be subdued.

The BLOND BEAST was killed in Prague by Czech partisans in 1942. SS retaliation was fierce – over a thousand Czechs were killed: the Czech mining village of Lidice was obliterated; every male over 16 was shot; women and children were sent to concentration camps; and Jews who were already rounded up were sent quickly to extermination camps.

The German tailor proudly embroidered his name in the inside pocket of my blouse. It was a beautifully tailored uniform and I wore it until it was thread bare; it was certainly singular. The top button was just a little high; the pocket flaps were just a little over designed. All this gave the uniform an almost JE NAI SAIS QUOI... Often wondered why a senior officer never called me on it. Sometimes a little non-conformity is good for the soul, especially in a hierarchical organization.

It is August, and Bin Laden's driver has been in jail for over five years. One has to wonder how my German tailor would have survived under the sanctimonious GW Bush and his Blood-in-the-Eye neocons. Throwing out the most serious charges, the US military court and naval judge let Hamden off lightly with time served – maybe the Pentagon is coming to its senses after 7 long years of deadly robotic foolishness... a little non-conformity by the military establishment is good for the country especially if the political leadership is clueless. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bomb Bomb McCain – His Mid-Summer Madness

US presidential elections are never pretty. Bomb Bomb McCain may surpass this expected ugliness by reaching for new low standards. Last week he launched two TV anti-Obama ads: one attempted to degrade the Democratic candidate to the same level of the celebrity twits, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears; the other mocked his Messianic style by depicting Charlton Heston as Moses parting the Red Sea.

All this even made the world capital of bad taste, Hollywood, gasp in despair as its tinsel crown came under attack. Politically active actors condemned the ad as a desperate act. For good measure, Bomb Bomb also cynically attacked the black presidential candidate for racism.

Paris and Britney are vacuous self-indulgent, self- absorbed creations; you may think Obama is too skinny, too smart, too black or too charismatic, or not black enough, but empty-headed he is not. So for Bomb Bomb to associate him with these two ditzy dames is way way over the top. Obama enemies may savor the attack; his supporters are enraged over it and write more checks for his campaign; the uncommitted have to be revolted by the squalid nature of Bomb Bomb's sleazy attack. The Hilton family, Republican to the core and big-time contributors, i.e. $4600.00 to Bomb Bomb, have even expressed dismay over the the ad; characterized it as frivolous, a waste of money and time – so who said Bomb Bomb was smart?

Last time I checked, Bomb Bomb's base, albeit shattered, is the evangelical religious right. Although there is a wide range of beliefs among this constituency, they all believe in the old testament with those talking burning bushes and the talking snake that leads you into temptation; some even handle venomous vipers as part of their ritual of belief. It is one thing for secular society to ridicule these beliefs, it is quite a different thing when their political emissary, Bomb Bomb, compares Obama to their hero Moses... was Moses Black? Maybe the Democrats should show the ad to these church groups and dub in their own sound. The ad has to piss off some of these holy rollers as it is. Wait until the photoshop boys and girls tweak it to make it even more ridiculous – who said Bomb Bomb was smart?

It is apparent Bomb Bomb's team has prepared on-the-shelf attack ads to rebuff any Obama onslaughts. Problem with this static tactic was similar to those of the Soviet Army's in WWII. It planned to launch on warning, but the scenario was seldom quite what was expected, so the execution was spotty, out of synchronization, and broke up unless the the plan was rescued by smart, flexible leadership at the point of contact – this rigidity is what seized Bomb Bomb's racial thrust. Obama said he was black, looked different than any other president on US bills and implied that his opposition will attempt to use this as a wedge issue. One can judge on how racial is his statement. My sense is that Bomb Bomb raggedly attacked Obama under a false flag; if he wants to understand black racism, he should check out the views of Farrahkan, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or the writing of Malcolm X... who said Bomb Bomb is smart?

Obama, who is against paying reparations to descendants of former slaves, took on a black heckler in a crowd in Florida. The heckler carried a banner decrying that Obama was not helping the black causes. Obama responded along the following lines: the heckler had three choices: 1) support Obama 2) support his opponent 3) or run for office himself... who said Obama is smart?Anyone with a brain. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret