CLICK TO READ: UP IN THE AIR - Where is the Iraq war headed next? - By Seymour M. Hersh - The New Yorker
This is a most depressing -- and confusing -- article on U.S. plans (if you can call them that) for "winning" the war in Iraq. Hersh paints a picture of chaos and disagreements (most of which we will never hear) with no realistic "victory" strategy being provided by anyone. We do know that keeping troops in Iraq through the summer of 2008 is the government's intent. Transitioning to an air war, with U.S. manning the planes and dropping the bombs where their Iraqi counterparts direct them, is another part of the plan, one which is creating much anxiety in the military ranks. Intimidation and threats are the norm for keeping criticism of Bush's war at a minimum. Critics are silenced by fear of losing their jobs should they express anything less than the party line publicly. So we, the people, as usual hear only what the morons in the White House want us to hear: lies. And more lies.
It is quite clear by now that this administration has no recollection of our experience in Viet Nam or have learned nothing from it, as they are evidently switching to the same air strategy that failed in that war for the same reasons it will fail in this one.
And to make matters worse, we are propping up political figures such as Iyad Allawi, the secular Shiite who served until this spring as Iraq's interim Prime Minister, and Ahmad Chalabi, another secular Shiite most famous for promoting flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction before the war and now deputy Prime Minister in Iraq, both of whom may turn out to be our worst nightmares due to their close ties with Iran.
And of course, our God-annointed President, Mr. Bush, still refuses to listen to those who are in the best position to advise him--because it conflicts with his pre-conceived view of how the war is proceeding:
Hersh writes, "Current and former military and intelligence officials have told me that the President remains convinced that it is his personal mission to bring democracy to Iraq, and that he is impervious to political pressure, even from fellow Republicans....
Bush’s closest advisers have long been aware of the religious nature of his policy commitments. In recent interviews, one former senior official, who served in Bush’s first term, spoke extensively about the connection between the President’s religious faith and his view of the war in Iraq. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the former official said, he was told that Bush felt that “God put me here” to deal with the war on terror. The President’s belief was fortified by the Republican sweep in the 2002 congressional elections; Bush saw the victory as a purposeful message from God that “he’s the man,” the former official said. Publicly, Bush depicted his reëlection as a referendum on the war; privately, he spoke of it as another manifestation of divine purpose.
The former senior official said that after the election he made a lengthy inspection visit to Iraq and reported his findings to Bush in the White House: “I said to the President, ‘We’re not winning the war.’ And he asked, ‘Are we losing?’ I said, ‘Not yet.’ ” The President, he said, “appeared displeased” with that answer."
And perhaps most dangerous of all, as the debate over troop reductions continues, the covert war in Iraq has expanded in recent months to Syria. A composite American Special Forces team, known as a SMU, for "special-mission unit," has been ordered, under stringent cover, to target suspected supporters of the Iraqi insurgency across the border.
All this is just a long way of saying don't expect our troops home anytime soon, don't expect that the war outcome will be any more successful for it, and DO expect the death tolls to continue to climb--for both our men and women in uniform AND for Iraqi citizens caught in the middle.
Transcript and Audio of Scott Ritter on war with Iraq and Iran - Amherst - November 17, 2005
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US may use planes as substitute for troops in Iraq by Jamie Wilson The plan is causing consternation among commanders in US air force, who say it could lead to increased civilian casualties and lead to airstrikes being used as means of settling old scores.
Asia Times Online :: The illusion of phased withdrawal by Mark Rothschild Whether euphemized as "redeployment" or described frankly as withdrawal, the new strategy has moved into the mainstream. In this new context, the positions still being defended by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are beginning to look increasingly marginalized.
t r u t h o u t - Bob Herbert | Cut Our Losses Bob Herbert writes that Jack Murtha is as tough as they come, but he's seen enough of the misguided, mismanaged, mission impossible war in Iraq to know that it's not sustainable, not worth the continued killing and butchering and psychological maiming of thousands of American GIs.