Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bait-and-Switch in Iraq

The other day I bumped into a retired general I know. He's a friend of General David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq. I asked about a recent McClatchy Newspaper story by Nancy Youssef that reported that the training of Iraqi troops is no longer a priority for US forces in Iraq.

The April 19 piece began:

Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.

Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration's Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said....

[E]vidence has been building for months that training Iraqi troops is no longer the focus of U.S. policy. Pentagon officials said they know of no new training resources that have been included in U.S. plans to dispatch 28,000 additional troops to Iraq.

On January 10, when Bush announced his so-called surge in Iraq, he told the American people:

In keeping with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, we will increase the embedding of American advisers in Iraqi Army units, and partner a coalition brigade with every Iraqi Army division. We will help the Iraqis build a larger and better-equipped army, and we will accelerate the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential U.S. security mission in Iraq.

So Bush promised Americans an accelerated training program, and that has not happened. This change in policy has not been officially announced. Moreover, it seems to undermine the reasoning behind the surge. The escalation, as Bush explained it, is supposed to create space and time during which better-trained Iraqi troops can take over the key security tasks within Iraq. That would permit the United States to withdraw its troops. The goal of the surge was to facilitate this transition. But if the United States is surging without boosting training (which has so far been a failure), it is assuming responsibility for quelling the sectarian violence without preparing the Iraqi military to take control. This is nothing but a recipe for open-ended involvement. Bush has pulled a bait-and-switch.

This retired general told me the McClatchy story was accurate. He called it another indication that the military mission has been lost and that the United States was stuck in the midst of a situation akin to a civil war. What ought to be done? I ask. He lowered his voice: we have to start bringing the troops home. Have you said that publicly? I inquired. Not yet, he replied. He's not ready to do so. It's hard to totally break with the war, he explained, noting he felt some loyalty to Petraeus. He recalled that recently he had been asked by members of Congress if the United States should begin withdrawing troops and he punted. But, he said, he's getting closer to telling the world how he really feels. "I don't know how long I can go without saying it," he remarked.

Republicans these days accuse Democrats of supporting surrender. But reality can intrude upon politics and even friendships. Just ask this former general. My hunch is that he won't stay silent for long. Meanwhile, Bush has yet to answer for a fundamental shift in Iraq policy--and for having misled the public about the goal of his escalation.

Posted by David Corn at April 26, 2007 01:53 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Excellent piece!



Pat said...

If you're wondering what you could do this Saturday that would be different, check out Code Pink's web site. They list Impeach gatherings in each state and how they plan to frame their message.

GWB will be in the Miami/Dade area. Citizens are planning a big UNWelcome party.

PBS will feature Bill Moyers' Journal this Friday evening. Guests include Jon Stewart and Josh Marshall (TPM). Ought to be stimulating. This may be our moment of recognition for truthiness--MSM, please step aside!!



micki said...

David Corn left out a word:

[E]vidence has been building for months that training Iraqi troops is no longer the focus of U.S. policy. Pentagon officials said they know of NO new training resources that have been included in U.S. plans to dispatch 28,000 additional troops to Iraq.

Even good writers need a proofreader, I guess!

Gerald said...

My wife is an interesting person. We were listening to the Diane Rehm show this morning and the show highlighted Iraqi oil and the law that would rape Iraq's oil resources by Nazi America. For the first time ever she called Nazi America EVIL.

People, we truly are an evil country!!!

Gerald said...

Are the repugs running insane people for president to follow in Hitler Bush's footsteps?

Is he Insane?

capt said...

Bill Moyers on Media and Iraq: When Lies Become Truth, Soldiers Die

It is often said, and with some truth, that the problem with major media is corporatization, which limits dissent, stifles truth, corrupts reporting and is inclined to serve the regulatory master of the government and the financial master of Wall Street.

I submit an equal and possibly greater problem is the personal corporatization of many who have given up the profession of reporting to turn themselves into personal corporations and to turn their "journalism" into the personal pursuit of wealth, fame and vainglorious ego.

They become sycophants, not journalists. They repeat conventional wisdom, not reporting real news. They worship at the altar of their sources, and deprive their readers and viewers of truth that offends the powerful and threatens their insider position. They support each other and promote each other in their own little but lucrative world divorced from their customers, their country and the traditional standards of what used to be their profession.

For some, there will be a wall put up, where we honor the dead.

For others, they walk down red carpets and wave with camera-ready smiles, because for them, it sure has been a really great war.


capt said...

The Bill Moyers documentary on our failed and barren press


This is the point I have realized only recently which I cannot stress enough. They really do not think they did anything wrong. They think that their pre-war "journalism" (which, they will admit with great humility, could "of course" -- like everything in the world -- have been better) was perfectly excellent journalism, and anyone who suggests otherwise simply does not understand the elevated role of journalists, and is probably just a lowly partisan hysteric.

That's how they think. Just go read Knoller's response to the Moyers' documentary. Our government deceived the entire country into a war based on a whole set of blatantly false claims -- all of which were shoveled into the public's minds by our nation's media outlets -- and they continue to say what a great job they did.


*****end of clip*****

Glenn Greenwald - always an informative read.


David B. Benson said...

Germany has dryest April in 100 years...

micki said...

Oh, good, I see it got changed here, too.

David told me he had corrected his "whoops" at his site when I emailed him about the missing NO.

capt said...

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. -Abraham Lincoln

"There's an old saying in Tennessee. I know it's in Texas, probably Tennessee.. that says, fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me... you can't get fooled again." - George W. Bush -

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on." - George W. Bush


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Don’t Fire Gonzales
by Greg Palast
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Before President Bush fired his sorry ass, US Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, in a last sad attempt to suck up to his Republican padrones, allowed his chief mouthpiece, Norm Cairns, to speak with me. He shouldn’t have.

That was two years back, while I was investigating strange doings in New Mexico and Arizona, where, simultaneously, state legislators, Republicans all, claimed they had evidence of "voter fraud." Psychiatrists call this kind of mutual delusional behavior folie a deux. I suspected something else: I smelled Karl Rove.

In the New Mexico legislature, a suburban Albuquerque political hackette, Justine Fox-Young (her real name), claimed to have "several" specific cases of vote identity rustling. Like Joe McCarthy waving his list of "Communists," she waived documents of "evidence" of illegal voting on the floor of the Legislature. I called Ms. Fox-Young and asked her to send me the papers.

The "evidence" never arrived. Maybe her fax machine was broken. I called Justine.

Q. Justine, you’ve uncovered criminals! Did you turn their names over to the US Attorney?

A. Well, no, but someone did.

Whose initials are Karl Rove?

She swore to me that US Attorney Iglesias would back up her story: he was investigating the evil voters and was about to indict them.

So I got Iglesias’ guy Norm on the phone. Was Iglesias prosecuting, or actively investigating, one single real case of voter fraud?

Norm went into a lengthy swirly-whirly river of diving, ducking bullshit. I dove in.

Me: In other words, you can’t back her story?

Norm: Well, yeah, uh, I guess you’d say that’s true.

I guess I will say that, Norm. Fox-Young had just plain made it up; fibbed, lied, faked the evidence.

There was a multi-state con in operation. But what was it? Each of these bogus claims of voter fraud was attached to a sales pitch for a state law to tighten voter ID requirements — to prevent these ne’er-do-wells from voting twice. In Arizona, one crack-pot Republican legislator, the Hon. Russell Pearce, claimed he had evidence that five million Mexicans had illegally crossed the border to vote.

The point: Rove knew that a "challenge" operation by the Republican Party, run from his office, knocked out 300,000 voters — mainly poor ones, voters of color. His crew wanted to hike that higher.

The notable thing about this crime of voter identity theft is that it doesn’t happen. You are more likely to encounter ballot boxes that spontaneously combust. I found cases of voters struck by lightening — but out of 120 million votes cast, I couldn’t find a dozen criminal cases of a bandit stealing someone’s identity to vote.

Since the Republicans couldn’t find such criminals, they had to make them up. Force prosecutors to bring false charges against innocent voters (one did just that in Wisconsin) or at least claim they were hot on the trail of the fraudulent voters.

Iglesias, though a Republican, wouldn’t bring bogus charges. And he wouldn’t lie about active investigations that didn’t exist except in Rove’s imagination.

That was his mistake.

Rove’s right-hand hit-man, Tim Griffin, added Iglesias to the hit list of prosecutors who were cut down on December 7, 2006.

Griffin himself, after the December 7 firings, was appointed by Attorney General Gonzales, at Rove’s personal request, to one of the newly-vacated slots as US Attorney for Arkansas. The sleeper cell of Rove-bot US attorneys is now in place to bless voter suppression games in 2008.

I’ve previously reported for BBC that Griffin was the Man in the Memos who directed the massive, wrongful purge of African-American soldiers in 2004 — the ‘caging’ list scam. Based on that expose, voting rights lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., said, "Griffin and Rove should be in jail, not in office." That, too is another story — But the important thing to pick up here is:

1. It’s all about the 2008 election.
2. It’s not about Gonzales.

We’ve been here before. Gonzales is getting Libby’d. Takes the bullet for Karl Rove and the White House. If you wondered why the Republican jackals like the sinister Senator Specter piled on Gonzales — it’s because they were told to.

These guys learned from Richard Nixon. In 1973, when Nixon was getting hammered over Watergate, he threw the Senate Committee his Attorney General, a schmuck named Kleindeist. Famously, Nixon’s own Rove, a devious creep named John Erlichman, told Nixon to leave the Attorney General, "twisting slowly in the wind."

Rove and Bush are doing the Nixon Twist on Gonzales.

Look, I have no sympathy for Alberto the Doomed. He’s guilty of a crime I employed in racketeering cases: "Willful failure to know." It’s a kind of fraud; Alberto was going way out of his way to not know what he had to know, that Rove and the President were toying with prosecutors.

Gonzales is their glove-puppet. Why fire him? The nation watches these hearings and wants to kill something. But why shoot the puppet? It’s time to fire the puppeteer. Eh, Mr. Rove?

Saladin said...

"State sovereignty must be altered in globalized era," that a system of world government must be created and sovereignty eliminated in order to fight global warming, as well as terrorism. "Moreover, states must be prepared to cede some sovereignty to world bodies if the international system is to function," says Haass. "Globalization thus implies that sovereignty is not only becoming weaker in reality, but that it needs to become weaker. States would be wise to weaken sovereignty in order to protect themselves..."

Richard Haass, the current president of the Council on Foreign Relations
Weakness is strength? What a wonderful concept, so very Orwellian! War on terror, war on drugs, war on crime, war on poverty, war on climate change, so many wars, so little money to pillage from the already broke and pissed off people!

Saladin said...

Scotland: A Model for the Rest of Us

by Rob Blackstock
Lew Rockwell

After the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech, it is time that we turned to an older, more civilized country as a role-model. I speak, of course, of Scotland. Scotland has long since evolved beyond such displays of violence as we saw in Blacksburg this past week.

A United Nations report has labeled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America. England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.

The reason why is obvious: on March 13, 1996, a lone gunman entered the Dunblane, Scotland school gym and killed 16 children and their teacher. Within the next year handguns were made illegal in Britain bringing an end to gun violence in that ancient land.

The ban has had no discernible effect on gun crime, which has continued a steady rise dating back more than 25 years and which accounted for some 4,000 injuries in the UK last year [2006]. Immediately after the ban, the number of shootings actually went up and has stayed up, though the homicide rate, which is relatively low, has been almost unaffected. In Scotland, for instance, the rate of about eight killings a year by guns has remained the same despite the Dunblane ban.

Bravo for the Brits! Without guns, people are now safe to walk the streets.

[Dr. Ian] Holland and his colleagues operate on someone in Glasgow an average of every six hours, every day of the year. They try to fix the damage done by knives, razors, bats, fists, kicks and, very occasionally, innocent accidents. More than a thousand patients are sent to maxillofacial surgery every year as a result of violence in Glasgow alone – and the figure is rising. Only a fraction is reported to the police.

When will we Americans realize that the only way to make law-abiding people safe is to take away everyone’s guns?

Early indications, in the west [of Scotland] at least, suggest [crime statistics] will be up again in 2006-07, at least for murder – the easiest violent crime to count. There were 60 murders in Strathclyde between April and December 2006, 19 more than in the last nine months of 2005. Officially, reported attempted murders were up too – to nearly 300.

Without the guns, criminals are no longer able to hurt the innocent. Gang violence will come to an end.

[In Scotland, a] crackdown on the sale of swords has been launched as part of a campaign to tackle knife crime and violence….

The measures are the latest steps from the Scottish Executive to curb the problem of knife crime….

[Justice Minister Cathy] Jamieson said: "Knife-carrying is all too prevalent in some communities, particularly in the west of Scotland, and has cut short and scarred too many young lives.

"In these areas police, doctors and law-abiding citizens have seen the damaging effects of swords, including samurai swords, being wielded on the streets. "It is simply far too easy at present for these weapons to be bought and sold."

Other parts of the plan brought in under the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act doubled the maximum penalty for carrying a knife to four years, gave police the unconditional power to search someone they suspect of carrying a weapon and increased the minimum age for buying a knife from 16 to 18.

[Detective Chief Superintendent] John Carnochan, head of the police's violence reduction unit, hailed the measures as "another major step forward in the fight against knife crime and violence". More than half the murders in Scotland each year are carried out with knives or other sharp weapons.

True, law-abiding people including women and the elderly will no longer have the means to defend themselves from the young, violent criminal once all guns are confiscated, but those people will no longer have a need for self-defense. Without the guns, there will be no violence from which to be protected.

3 per cent of Scots had been victims of assault compared with 1.2 per cent in America and just 0.1 per cent in Japan, 0.2 per cent in Italy and 0.8 per cent in Austria. In England and Wales the figure was 2.8 per cent.

Scotland has shown us all, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that removing guns solves the underlying problem. Today, Scotland is once more a picturesque land where you and your mates can gather for a peaceful pint at the local pub.

Glasses and bottles face being banned from Edinburgh's pubs and clubs under plans to tackle the soaring number of violent attacks fuelled by drink….

The move comes after the number of glass and bottle attacks in the city soared by 40 per cent last year….

A similar ban is about to be rolled out across Glasgow….

So allow me to raise a glass to my ancestral people, the Scots, and to say thank you. Thank you for showing us the result of outlawing guns. Peace, serenity and culture.

The machetes are worst. As heavy as they are sharp, they cleave cheeks and split jaws – mash faces. Victims never look the same again, their twisted smiles revealing the true scale of Scotland's toll of violent crime.

April 27, 2007
Human beings, the most irrational creatures!

capt said...

New Thread!