Monday, March 13, 2006

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When the airlift finally started in early April, about 570 fighters were ready. As the C-17's were being loaded, Mr. Chalabi wanted to go as well. General Abizaid objected, arguing in an exchange with Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, that the military command should not be taking sides in future Iraqi politics by flying a potential Iraqi leader to southern Iraq, but Mr. Wolfowitz did not yield. He said Mr. Chalabi's fighters did not want to go without their leader, according to officials familiar with the exchange. When General Abizaid awoke the next day, Mr. Chalabi was at Tallil. His fighters would never play a meaningful role in the war. They arrived without their arms and were not well supervised by the United States Special Forces. But Mr. Chalabi, now the deputy prime minister of Iraq, proved to be undeterred. After arriving at Tallil, he drove to Nasiriya and delivered a rousing speech. It was the beginning of his political comeback.

The above is from Michael Gordon and (retired Marine lt. general) Bernard E. Trainor's military porn in this morning's New York Times that's billed as "Dash to Baghdad Left Top U.S. Generals Divided." Long on pillow whispers, short on facts, they struggle with reality throughout. Chalabi's "fighters would never play a menainful role in the war"? Excuse me, you've still got pundits and news people citing the fall of the Saddam statue and that sparsely attended press event featured the Chalabi Players, shipped in for that manufactored photo op.
Hearts & minds was the "military" objective to that propaganda, of the American public. Has the Times ever noted the truth about that photo op? I'm sure a columnist has (possibly Krugman), but have the reporters ever told the reality of the staged photo op to the readers?
They don't today. And make no mistake that the event was significant to the war. It was as significnat as the lies around Jessica Lynch's "rescue." Gordon and Trainor write a very long (overly long) piece but they still can't address reality.

What it reads like is a number of military people want to be sure that now that the public has turned against the war, they're not left holding the bag. No need to worry. The "bag," like the costs of the war, will be shoved onto the people.

For reality on Iraq, never count on the New York Times. Zach steers us to Robert Parry's
"Bush Still Ignores Iraq Reality" (Consortium News):

As George W. Bush sets out on another speaking tour to justify invading Iraq three years ago, he's still ignoring what should be the chief lesson for any U.S. President: Don't play games with the intelligence, especially on matters of war and peace. You only get good people killed.
Yet, in test-marketing his new P.R. campaign in a March 11 radio address, Bush had his rose-colored glasses firmly back on. In his upbeat assessment, he downplayed grisly evidence that Iraq is sliding toward sectarian civil war, with Shiite "death squads" butchering Sunnis and Sunni gunmen killing Shiites.
He didn't mention how the Iraqi elections have divided -- not unified the country -- by solidifying the political power of Shiite fundamentalists who have close ties to Iran. Nor did Bush acknowledge that the anti-Americanism engendered by the U.S. occupation has been a boon to al-Qaeda's recruitment and training of a new generation of terrorists.
For Bush, the Iraq glass is always one-tenth full, not nine-tenths empty.
In the week ahead, Bush made clear he intends to deliver another dose of the wishful thinking that led the American people to believe that the conquest of Iraq would be a "cakewalk," a "shock and awe" pyrotechnic display followed by thankful Iraqis showering U.S. troops with candy and flowers.

More reality on Iraq can be found via Martha's highlight, Josh White's "Detainee in Photo With Dog Was 'High-Value' Suspect" (Washington Post):

When Army Sgt. Michael J. Smith faces a court-martial today on charges that he used his military working dog to harass and threaten detainees, one of the prime examples of that alleged misconduct will be a photograph of Smith holding the dog just inches from the face of a detainee. It is one of the notorious images to emerge from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Although officials characterized the other detainees who appeared in the Abu Ghraib photographs as common criminals and rioters, the orange-clad detainee seen cowering before the dog was different. Detainee No. 155148 was considered a high-value intelligence source suspected of having close ties to al-Qaeda. According to interviews, sworn statements from soldiers and military documents obtained by The Washington Post, Ashraf Abdullah Ahsy was at the center of a military intelligence "special project" designed to break him down, and was considered important enough that his interrogation was mentioned in a briefing to high-ranking intelligence officials at the Pentagon.
[. . .]
Ahsy could become a central figure in Smith's trial because attorneys for the Abu Ghraib dog handlers have said that military intelligence (MI) directed the soldiers to use their animals as part of an interrogation regimen, one that top officers approved in December 2003. Unlike others implicated in the Abu Ghraib abuse, the dog handlers can point directly to approvals of the technique in question from top commanders.

So what's the above reality adding up to? Mia notes Ralph Nader's "Bush at the Tipping Point" (CounterPunch):

Now comes the conservative American Bar Association--400,000 lawyers--whose House of Delegates has overwhelmingly approved a task force report accusing President Bush, in polite legal language, of violating both the Constitution and federal law. ABA President Michael S. Greco sent it to Mr. Bush with a cover letter dated February 13, 2006 (see for the full report).
The mass media, which has finally produced many exposes of the Bush war, ignored the significance of this condemnation by the nation's largest body of lawyers, written in part by attorneys who have served in the FBI, CIA and NSA. It should have been page one news.
There comes a tipping point, however, when the opposition of the establishment, the public opinion of the citizenry, the disgust of the soldiers--their spreading casualties, diseases and mental traumas - and the corruption of the large corporate contractors to whom much of the military's functions have been outsourced, all congeal and overcome the cowardliness of most members of Congress. Then a surge of Congressional followers and allies of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), war veteran and leading voice against the Bush Iraq policies, will come to the forefront.
The illegal, disastrous (to both Iraqis and Americans) Iraq war is now almost three years of quagmire old. The chaos and bloodshed are worsening.

Meanwhile, Bully Boy itches with the blood lust for a third war. Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Cooler Heads Needed in Iran" (This Just In, The Progressive):

George Bush is lucky in his adversaries.
First, he had the Butcher and the Bluffer of Baghdad.
And now he has Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust, threatens to destroy Israel, insists on a nuclear program, and has his police beat up hundreds of women in Tehran who were rallying on International Women’s Day.
On top of all that, Ahmadinejad seems eager to play a foolish game of chicken with Bush.
"The United States may have the power to cause harm and pain," an Iranian official said this week. "but it is also susceptible to harm and pain. So if the United States wants to pursue that path, let the ball roll."
Iran's supreme ayatollah, Ali Khamenei, says his country will "stand like steel" against any threat from the UN or Washington.
This kind of reckless language is reminiscent of Saddam's "mother of all battles."
But the Bush Administration has been engaging in reckless language of its own.
We may look back upon the first two weeks of March as the time when the Bush war chefs decided to overheat the rhetoric and bring the conflict with Iran to a boil.
And they needed to do something to distract the American people from the horrendous job Bush has been doing. What better way than to hype another war?
Once again, Cheney stirred the pot.

Cindy notes that today's Democracy Now! includes a rememberance of slain CPT worker Tom Fox as well as Chris Hedges and Jeremy Scahill discussing the effects of Milosevic's death.

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