Saturday, December 24, 2011

IRAQ-NONE DARE CALL IT VICTORY--As the US troops came marching home from Iraq, President Obama marked the occasion with a gala speech at Ft Bragg, North Carolina; the first lady was on the podium with him. Thanking the assembled cheering soldiers for their service, he characterized their return as one with honor and heads held high. At no time did the word victory cross the president's lips.

Does it follow that if the Iraq fiasco was not a victory, was it a defeat? It certainly was not a stalemate. Unlike the US chaotic departure from Vietnam under fire, however, US troops had an orderly withdrawal. Disorder in Iraq followed immediately after the last uniformed troop crossed out of Iraq into Kuwait.

Blasts rocked the country killing 68 and wounding 200 people to include children. Both Shiites and Sunnis were casualties. The unification government was shattered when Al-Maliki, a Shiite leader of the fragile Iraqi central government, issued an arrest warrant for the Sunni vice president, Tareg Hashemi. These events unfolded only days after the formal end of the US occupation. The reality is that the US force in Iraq appeared to be stop in the bottle--the stopper was now pulled out.

US response was one of aghast. It dispatched General SAVEUS Petraeus to Iraq in the cover of darkness to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. When that did not work, Obama rushed General Ordinero to Iraq in the brightness of day. Whether officially admitted or not, there still are reportedly 17,000 contractors in US pay; two bases remain there; and 4000 troops are still in Iraq. So complete withdrawal of US forces is myth that will blow up in the president's face when the insurgents zero in on this US residual force. Otherwise why would Obama send two four-star US Army generals back into the fray ? Both of these generals have had multiple bites of the apple without serious pacification, so why send them back ?

Except for those Iraqis paid by the US and its mercenaries, the US has little goodwill left in the Sunni and Shiite lands. Abu Gharib atrocities and the smashing of Fallujah finished long term US friendship in Iraq. Any Shiite appreciation for killing Saddam will steamrolled over by el Sadr and his Iranian allies. Kurdistan remains as a place where long term US interests could succeed, but that is a roll of the dice with Syria, Iran and Turkey playing in its backyard. VEEP Biden has always championed an independent Kurdistan, so that truncated state may be the best hope of the US in Iraq.

The US, with its abject support of Israel ,never did have much support on the Arab street even before its invasion and destruction of Iraq. Its invasion just polished off any influence. US bought Arab leaders mainly with military aid ,but that policy is evaporating in the Arab Spring.

Each day US influence in the area ebbs the US foreign policy is dysfunctional as it is in many cases projected through the American military industrial complex. Our trade seems to follow force projection through weapon sales. Ironically, China with loans to the US is the enabler. In this process the US has temporary gains while China permanently commands long term world resource markets and rapidly expands its military forces.

US has left a shattered Iraq with a smashed infrastructure and wrecked economy. A 100,000 Iraqi killed. Its museums looted. Cityscapes are choked with ugly cement blast barriers. Sectarian violence is busting out everywhere. The central government has no mandate with key cabinet security posts of defense and interior unfilled.

If the US left a democratic baby, it was still born. For this disaster the US has spent over a trillion dollars; had 4,487 killed and 32,226 wounded many of which lost limbs. Sixty six percent of our wounded suffer from traumatic brain injuries and post tramatic stress. Most will need costly extended care. In realpolitik ,Iran now has hegemony in the area. Even Obama does not have the temerity to call this mess an American victory.

Obama claims he fulfilled a campaign promise of ending the Iraq war. With a US residual force of around 20,000 still in Iraq, this boast is hollow. That this residual force is not higher was precluded only by Iraq which refused to accept a higher number by denying more under a status of forces agreement.

Despite the fanfare, the Iraq war is not over. US armed personnel still in Iraq will become targets and the US will respond with force---the surge is still not working --It never did, except in GW Bush's brain.-Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Friday, December 16, 2011

DRONES, DUDS , ROMNEY & PERRY---Strange things emanate from some Republican presidential hopefuls, especially as they pander to war hawks on their rabid right. During the last debate in Sioux City Iowa both Perry and Romney appeared prepared ready to go to war with Iran over the return of a US drone launched from Kandahar Afghanistan that crashed near Kashmar, Iran 140 miles ac cross the Afghan border.

Ironically, "Kashmar" in the Russian language means "nightmare" and there is a good chance that is what the US would have on its hands if either political opportunists like Perry or Romney were in the Oval Office. At least Ron Paul at the time had the sense to call such saber rattling dangerous and absurd.

Creating war hysteria over Iran is a Republican thing. It panders to the big time supporters of the Republican Party, ie, the military industrial complex the Israeli Lobby and its Christian Evangelical Zionists.. Bachmman, Gingrich and Santorum are all on the same band wagon. It is the same madness, driven by the same interests, that brought the US the disastrous Iraq war..Now 68 percent of Americans agree that war was a mistake.

The drone that crashed in Iran was a RQ-170 Sentinel Drone. It is a state of the art piece of equipment. It is nicknamed "the Beast of Khandahar", and is alleged to have been used in in recent operation against Bin Laden. CIA had operational control of this Iranian mission. It will be interesting to learn why the built-in self destruct mechanism did not function. Was some one asleep at the switch or less likely, did the fail-safe mechanism fail ? Imagine the delay, panic and bureacratic consternation involved to destroy millions of dollars worth of modern equipment.

CIA has a history of clutching on self-destruct when the chips are down--Remember Gary Powers in his U2 spy craft shot down over Russia under President Eisenhower--last time I checked you can see large parts of it in the Red Army Museum in Moscow and Mr Powers is alive and well as he was traded for high-level Soviet spy held in the US. He had the means and orders to destroy the aircraft and himself in the event of capture.

The US claims that the drone was lost because of a malfunction; that it was not shot down, and that no cybernetic technology or electronics were involved in the crash. Iraqis claim that its forces brought it down with electronic warfare. It is known to have an effective Russian AVTOBAZA jammer.

For the US its capture constitutes an inadvertent transfer of valuable technology, especially the sensors. One mystery is why the drone with a 66 ft wing span, flying as high as 50,000 feet, remains in good shape after it crashed. To make it more vexing to the US, the Iranians put the drone on TV and paraded throughout the country for propaganda purposes.

Faced with the dilemma of what to do about the drone once it was lost, the US administration chose to ask diplomatically for its property to be returned. So far the Iranians have refused. Other options by the US were rejected.

These include destroying the drone by US aircraft or special operations assault. Either of these measures could have denied the Iranians the technology, but may have involved US casualties and more equipment loss. Such activities would have escalated the incident as the Iranians would have met the attack as further provocation. US forces in Gulf and interests in Iraq are open to Iranian counter measures. Risk of war was evident as each side would develop military counter strikes. Obama understood this and took a deep breath and politely asked for his lost drone to be returned. Doubt that this will happen.

The US had diplomatic problems over its spy platforms previously. LBJ in 1968 with the USS Pueblo and North Korea, and GW Bush with the Navy reconnaissance aircraft with China in 2001 are examples of incidents when the US backed off use of force to rescue lost intelligence assests. So duds Perry and Rowney attacked without basis when they mocked the president for his cautious actions over the drone in Iran.

Obama has demonstrated serious weakness economically. I do not agree with many of his social policies and it is clear he has mismanaged US policy in the Middle East. He has permitted Israel to make US policy in the peace process. He has fumbled badly in Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Libya. He has opened new war fronts in Somalia and other parts of Africa. His surge in Afghanistan was absurdly pointless. He is at drawn swords with Pakistan over sloppy warfare incidents.

His pullout from Iraq deserves credit. He also killed Bin Laden who was right under GW Bush's nose in Pakistan. He curbed the Somali pirates. At least, at this time, fewer US military people are dying under his administration and that is something you will not get in a Republican administration run by screw balls and interventionist neocons. For the Americans, Republicans and Democrats are equally bad choices--It is nearly a Hobson choice.. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Monday, December 05, 2011

AMERICAN BOOB OF THE YEAR -- 2011--Look no further than the Republican Party presidential candidates.. With the exception of Ron Paul, the other candidates all are nominated for American Boob of the year 2011.

Huntsman could probably do the job well, but as a Mormon you never can predict whether or when he will board a spaceship for an island in the sky. Too bad. His credentials , resume and presence are impressive. He speaks fluent Chinese Mandarin and this for a round-eye is commendable. Especially compared to Perry and Cain who have a tough time with even English. He like Ron Paul and Romney rejected Donald Trump's mawkish invitation to a 27 th Dec. debate

Michele Bachmann is the only lady in the pack. Her strident evangelical beliefs qualify her to be a tent missionary to follow Rev.Huckabee and Rev. Pat Robinson in the successful quest for the Holy Grail of Iowa. But her shallowness has even apparently unnerved the holy rollers there. She is now at the bottom of the polls. Unbelievably Iowan Republicans currently believe Newt Gingrich loves Jesus more than any of candidates and have pushed him to the top of polls. About the only positive thing I can say about the Iowa Republican electorate was that it had the sagacity not to elect Bomb Bomb McCain and its Democrats broke Hillary's heart in their 2008 presidential primary. For better or for worse , the Iowa Democrats voted for Obama .

Gingrich has the reptilian visage of a fat lizard. His record demonstrates that he is cold blooded--dumped two wives that were sick.. While he was cavorting with prospective wife number 3, he was blasting Wild Bill Clinton for flagarento delecto excesses in the Oval Office. The man has character flaws that had him punished by the House Ethics Committee and the House membership.- His Republicans colleagues booted him out of his Speaker of the House leadership for lack of leadership. A tiger does not change its stripes., nor a leopard its spots.

The fact that he knows how to use influence and the capitalist way to enrich himself reassures us he is greedy, but as president could we expect more greed? We know his latest wife has expensive Tiffany tastes. His Pickwickean stature does not enhance his allurement. He is held in contempt by many Republicans and his nomination could lead to a third party run.

If the Republicans were dumb enough to run Bomb Bomb McCain and Drill Baby Drill Palin you can always expect another absurd choice by the party of Lincoln. Newt is their man , if the Party wants another wacky badly damaged candidate. Gringrich believes Donald Trump with four times bankruptcy is an economic genius, and further he wants neocon screwball John Bolton as his Secretary of State.

Why in the world anyone believed Rick Perry was presidential material is unknown. Perhaps some in high places figured if they could sell misfit, spastic GW Bush as a president, What the Hell ,why not Perry . GW Bush's two terms took the US over the edge economically, politically, socially to a point of no return.. His war on terror has led permanent war--he will go down as one the worse presidents in US history.

I was warned by Texans long ago that Perry was dumber than GW Bush. Perry's defenders say he is not dumb,but just uneducated! Enough said. If you watched the debates, you know that jnformaion is true. No more Texas governors or Bushes as president. It now an established profile in ineptitude.

Rick Santorum, reminds voters perpetually he is a family man with several children. He is a one-pony show fixated on anti abortion. When he is on a foreign policy rant, he comes up with knee jerk neocon baloney.;he shovels very fast on imposing democracy where it is not wanted and flies into paroxysms of joy over Israel. He appears qualified to head the local parish rosary society--not much else.

Mitt Romney is the darling of country club Republicans. Over 47 billionaires have contributed to his campaign. He seems to always challenge the conservatives with his moderate positions until he changes his views to suit their whims. And then he is accused of flip flopping. About 30 percent of the Republican s are of the religious right persuasion--they hate him like Huntsman because he is Mormon. Romney wants very bad ly to be be president. He is qualified,.Was a governor ; and has demonstrated his business acumen repeatedly.

When he was running in 2008 for the Republican nomination Huckabee characterized him as a man who takes the skin off his fried chicken before he eats it. His very presence at the debates at the same time would make Bomb Bomb McCain sputter, Romney has the cool sang froid that would suit a well-balanced president. At same time his aloofness inhibits the charisma needed to galvanize voters. Still, I believe he has the best chance when compared to the rest of crowd in the Republican race. Romney bends before the wind blows. His core values remain obscured.

Except for Ron Paul , and this includes Democrat Obama, . no one has signalled serious change in the status quo. Paul's chances are slim as winner . He faces the opposition of military industrial complex, Wall St, the Banks, trade groups, Federal Reserve, MSM and the Jewish Lobby--those are the pillars of power in the US. Too bad. For Paul as a major candidate would force a review of a very sick power structure from which change must eventually evolve. He would fiercely foster reconsideration of the US Constitution as the well spring of US law and conduct.

Herman "Bang Away" Cain has mercifully withdrawn from the presidential campaign. Hissexual peccadilloes competed even with those of Bill Clinton and JFK. He is not Clinton or Kennedy in the other categories by a long shot. He was clumsy, maladroit, uninformed and wearing his fuzzy pimp hat projected a cartoon quality. At least when push came to shove former black presidential candidates Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson could rhyme to brake things up in their farces. Cain's stupefying conduct and aggressive ignorance at a serious political level make him AMERICAN BOOB of 2011. This may be unfair to the extent the the Republican National Committee bore responsibility and permitted him to carry their banner in the spotlight.

Perhaps Hunter Thompson was right when he mused that there was no limit to how low a man would stoop to be president.

There is no question Obama is a failure; he does not deserve a 2nd term. The Republicans will not beat him if they continue to remain goofy or embrace religious fanatics. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret