The U.S. military is being accused of another deliberate cover-up involving killings in Iraq. But this time, the victims are not Iraqis...they're American soldiers.
Specialist Patrick McCaffrey and First Lieutenant Andre Tyson -- both members of the California National Guard -- were killed in June 2004 while on patrol near the town of Balad, fifty miles north of Baghdad.
Military officials initially told the families that the two soldiers had been attacked and killed in an ambush by insurgents. But that story turned out to be a lie.
An Army investigation concluded in September 2005 that the two were in fact killed by members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps -- supposed allies that the Guardsmen had been training and patrolling with. McCaffrey and Tyson's fellow soldiers had suspected this was the case all along. Instead of sharing these findings with the families, the military sat on the story - for nine months.
It was only after Nadia McCaffrey -- the mother of Specialist Patrick McCaffrey -- asked California Senator Barbara Boxer in May to pressure the Pentagon to release information about her son's death that the truth came out.
The military revealed what it knew only this week -- nearly two years to the day of the killings of McCaffrey and Tyson. An Army general briefed the families at their homes on Wednesday. The Pentagon is now being accused of a deliberate cover-up.
Senator Boxer said the case raises troubling questions and plans to raise the issue on the floor of the Senate.
She told reporters, "I think it's pretty obvious that if the American people knew that the Iraqis we train would turn on our soldiers, support for the war would erode."
The above is the introduction to Democracy Now!'s "Army Lies to Mother of Slain Guardsman for Two Years, Says Killed by Insurgents Instead of Allied Iraqi Soldiers," June 23, 2006. You can read the transcript, listen or watch. The reason we're opening with it is Bully Boy's speech. Zero in on Barbara Boxer's remark: "I think it's pretty obvious that if the American people knew that the Iraqis we train would turn on our soldiers, support for the war would erode."
Now let's turn to Bully Boy's speech from last night (New York Times transcript):
So America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I have committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them, five brigades, will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs.
So what is he proposing? What everyone knew he would and it's the sort of the thing that got Patrick McCaffrey murdered.
Last night's speech was nothing but the usual lies from the Bully Boy.
Note how the supposed "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me" was nothing but an attempt to argue for more troops, it wasn't real responsibility. And the "me" became "we" as he attempted to shift the blame for his mistakes.
The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together, and that as we trained Iraqi security forces, we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops.
What do you mean "we"? It was nothing but a photo-op. People called it out in real time. We referred to here it as nothing but another wave of Operation Happy Talk. Only fools and liars believed that it was "a stunning achievement." On the photo-op, liars were proved wrong and fools should have known better.
You can walk through the entire speech that way. (Don't worry, we're not about to.) He demonstrated he (and his administration) either can't stop lying or they lack the ability to comprehend what they read which is why he distorted the James Baker Circle Jerk: "And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States." Not just a distortion but a me-me-me type statement.
Which is fitting when you grasp that this isn't a plan for success, it's a plan to prolong the war in the hopes that it can be dumped in someone else's lap. He trotted out his usual September 11th crap (when he does today in front of a military audience which can't catcall, question or boo -- the perfect show audience for a Bully Boy's whose public approval is in the toilet) . It was more scare-the-country and hope they fall for it again from the master of fear.
He also hopes that quoting the puppet of the occupation will give his non-plan credence -- we're apparently all supposed to forget that even the administration no longer trusts that al-Maliki has the will or ability to do their bidding. (See especially Stephen Hadley's memo.) There were no 'benchmarks' given though the term 'benchmark' was tossed around.
What is 'success' in Iraq? You can't measure it by anything the Bully Boy provided last night. It's a vague term and the reality is that 'success' isn't possible because the illegal war was long ago lost. So now he moves towards escalation. 20,000 more US troops sent to Iraq will not provide a 'win' and only a fool believes otherwise. (Hard liners would argue for a much higher number. War Hawks, who might embrace the nonsense, would grasp fully that 20,000 will not allow for anything to be different. Those living in the real world grasp that the war is lost and no increase, of any amount, will turn it into a 'win.')
He tried to scare the American people yet again with talk of al Qaeda and his 'answer' to al Qaeda is to send 4,000 more troops to Al-Anbar Province. That won't even make a dent and only the fools who don't grasp how many people (forget the mythical al Qaeda, how many Iraqis are in the area) will believe 4,000 will make any difference.
He brought up other nations (Syria, Iran, Lebanon, etc.) and alleged that peace was wanted when the reality was this administration has never made a serious attempt at peace in the Middle East. They've threatened and bullied, diplomacy remains a foreign concept to the administration.
As he resorted to (yet again) fear tactics and bumbled his way through twenty-plus minutes, the speech should have come with background music -- possibly "The End" by the Doors. Those paying attention grasped it was the same old same old and that there was no 'responsibility' taken by the Bully Boy, just another attempt to trick and deceive the American people.
Martha and Lloyd both note Jon Cohen's "Poll: Most Americans Opposed to Bush's Iraq Plan:
Majority of Those Surveyed Are Skeptical That Surge Would Make Victory More Likely" (Washington Post):
Most Americans oppose President Bush's call to send additional U.S. military forces to Iraq and just over a third say the new plan makes victory there more likely, an initial public rebuke of the strategy he unveiled last night in a nationally televised address.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted following the President's speech finds broad and strong opposition to his call to send about 21,500 more troops to Iraq: 61 percent oppose the force increase, with 52 percent "strongly" opposing the build-up. Thirty-six percent support the additional troops; only one-quarter of the public is strongly supportive.
Dallas asked to have this event noted. Texas members in the DFW area, this is today at noon.
The Bill of Rights Defense Committee is at least one of the organizations sponsoring the event:
SHUT DOWN GUANTANAMO !
Thursday, January 11, Noon-2:00 p.m.
Earle Cabell Federal Building
1100 Commerce St., Dallas
Five years ago, the first detainees were shackled, hooded and flown to Guantánamo Bay , Cuba . None has received a fair trial. Three have committed suicide in desperation; many others have tried to kill themselves. Congress passed the Military Commissions Act in September, barring any detainees from ever having the right to challenge their detention in court, which defies the ancient human right of habeas corpus.
On January 11, groups from around the world will mark this date of infamy, calling upon our elected officials to end the abuse and torture, restore habeas corpus, and provide a just means for detainees to either receive a fair trial or be set free.
We will demonstrate on the sidewalk across the street from the Federal Building . If possible, wear an orange jumpsuit or T-shirt. In the meanwhile, please check out information at http://www.amnestyusa.org/stoptorture/pdf/closegitmo.pdf, and write a letter to the Dallas Morning News.
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