Sunday, August 26, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

Desperate to shore up support for continuing his unpopular war on Iraq, George W. Bush drew an analogy with Vietnam when he addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "The price of America's withdrawal [from Vietnam] was paid by millions of innocent citizens," Bush declared. But he overlooked the four million Indochinese and 58,000 American soldiers who paid the ultimate price for that imperial war. And the myriad Vietnamese and Americans who continue to suffer the devastating effects of the defoliant Agent Orange the U.S. forces dropped on Vietnam. The 10 years it took to end our war there claimed untold numbers of lives.
Bush cited the "killing fields," referring to the more than one million Cambodians who died after we pulled out of Vietnam. He failed to mention that if Richard Nixon had ended the war by 1969, as the antiwar movement was demanding, the war wouldn't have extended into Cambodia. Secret U.S. carpet bombing of Cambodia destroyed that country, enabling Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come to power. Nixon, too, had warned of a bloodbath in Vietnam to justify continuing his war.

Contrary to the picture Bush painted, Vietnam is a unified, stable country that doesn't threaten the region; it has become a trading partner of the United States.
In his desperation to rationalize the death and destruction he is wreaking in Iraq, Bush credited the United States with the great progress South Korea and Japan have made. He didn't say that the people of North and South Korea seek to reunify their country but the United States stands in the way. And Bush neglected to add that his government is pressuring Japan to repeal Article 9 of its Peace Constitution which now forbids the aggressive use of military force.
George Bush also reiterated that Iraq is "the central front" of the war on terror. But for his invasion, war and occupation of Iraq, however, al Qaeda wouldn't be there.

The above is from "Turning Iraq Into Vietnam"(Common Dreams) by National Lawyers Guild president Marjorie Cohn and Mike's the one who caught that. Bully Boy's illegal war got a little bit of truth (slowly) from the mainstream press and it was time to spin yet again. The US fatalities were coming in at 100 and more a month, the Democrats learned that (suprise, suprise) you can't con the people and they're not going to forget why they voted you into office in less than a year's time. Voters were angry and demanding the Democratic Party provide something other than 'symoblism,' the illegal war (which they bought into by funding it this year) was, like Bully Boy's legacy, in the toilet. So it was time to insist everyone wait for the September report and use that bought-with-blood time to try a new rollout. Bully Boy's back to selling the fear. So he lies about the realities of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and really did avoid getting called out by many. (Check what others have elected to write about since Bully Boy gave that lying, dishonest, historically inaccurate speech.)

And the Dems will go along. Some will stand up, but some have been for the illegal war all along even if they made a few public statements that were seen as 'strong.' Dianne Feinstein's husband certainly learned how rich one could get off an illegal war. From Peter Byrne's "Feinstein Resigns" (MetroNews):

SEN. Dianne Feinstein has resigned from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. As previously and extensively reviewed in these pages, Feinstein was chairperson and ranking member of MILCON for six years, during which time she had a conflict of interest due to her husband Richard C. Blum's ownership of two major defense contractors, who were awarded billions of dollars for military construction projects approved by Feinstein.
As MILCON leader, Feinstein relished the details of military construction, even micromanaging one project at the level of its sewer design. She regularly took junkets to military bases around the world to inspect construction projects, some of which were contracted to her husband's companies, Perini Corp. and URS Corp.
Perhaps she resigned from MILCON because she could not take the heat generated by Metro's expose of her ethics (which was partially funded by the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute). Or was her work on the subcommittee finished because Blum divested ownership of his military construction and advanced weapons manufacturing firms in late 2005?

Did you catch that, by the way? The Nation has seen fit to fret over Hillary Clinton's potential problems with female voters. But the non-journalistic magazine that would boast in print of 'dozens' of photos of abuse didn't bother to report on DiFi's war profits. And you have to wonder if they ever will or if they exist at this point for any reason other than to create a make-work project that brings in a lot of dollars? It should have been a cover story in the magazine. It wasn't. That's because war is big bucks and Mia notes Norman Solomon's "How to Survive at the Pentagon on $2 Billion a Day" (CounterPunch):

The USA's military spending is now close to $2 billion a day. This fall, the country will begin its seventh year of continuous war, with no end in sight. On the horizon is the very real threat of a massive air assault on Iran. And few in Congress seem willing or able to articulate a rejection of the warfare state.
While the Bush-Cheney administration is the most dangerous of our lifetimes -- and ousting Republicans from the White House is imperative -- such truths are apt to smooth the way for progressive evasions. We hear that "the people must take back the government," but how can "the people" take back what they never really had? And when rhetoric calls for "returning to a foreign policy based on human rights and democracy," we're encouraged to be nostalgic for good old days that never existed.
The warfare state didn't suddenly arrive in 2001, and it won't disappear when the current lunatic in the Oval Office moves on.

No, it won't. And you only have to look at Congress' refusal to end the illegal war to grasp that.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.

-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3703. Tonight? 3728 with 70 for the month thus far. Iraqis? Just Foreign Policy lists the death toll at 1,019,627.

Reuters reports today saw the US drop bombs (from the air -- this is the air war) on a home and the result were the deaths of 5 children and 2 women, one woman and six people (three children included in the wounded) were shot dead in Baghdad, anoter woman ("female shepherd") was killed in Kirkuk by a roadside bombing. Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "an American patrol opened fire (a machine gun)" in Baghdad and at least one person died while six more were wounded, three police officers were wounded in an attack in Baghdad, a Baghdad mortar attack on Baghdad University left "a caravan inside the campus," a second Baghdad mortar attack claimed the life of 1 child and left two people wounded, 11 corpses were discovered today in Baghdad and: "The spokesman of Kurdistan's forces guards and the deputy of the Peshmerga minister, Jabbar Yaour, said that 'two American helicopters and two plane fighters bombed early Sunday morning two locations of emergency police of Kurdistan region of about 500 meters of Qara Taba village (70 kilometers north of Baquba, which is the capital of Diyala province) killing four policemen and injuring eight others . Also two police cars were destroyed. Also, Yaour said that 'Kurdish police are in north Diyala to keep peace and fight terrorism in the area with the knowledge and approval of the collation troops and central government and the bombing was by mistake'."

Their Parliament (like the US Congress) is out of session until September 4th. Their puppet? From Lelia Fadel's "Iraqi prime minister's isolation growing" (McClatchy Newspapers):

Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, harshly criticized by Washington politicians last week for failing to bring about reconciliation among Iraq's political and ethnic factions, is increasingly isolated among his own countrymen as well.
He has lost the Shiite Muslim power base that brought him to power. Analysts say his support among Kurds could easily vanish, too, if the Kurds receive the go-ahead from the Bush administration. Nearly half of his cabinet ministers have resigned their posts or are refusing to participate in cabinet meetings.
Many say he is on his last legs as prime minister.
"He has to resign," said Salim Abdullah, a leading member of the Iraqi Accordance Front, the Sunni alliance that officially withdrew its ministers from the government earlier this month. "We have nothing against Maliki as a person but there are reasons he failed. His advisors are yes men and he doesn't have the authority to do anything."

Pru gets the last highlight, Great Britain's Socialist Worker's "Defeated in Iraq:"

And it's a lie to say Britain can win in Afghanistan
The cat is finally out of the bag. Military commanders, politicians and newspaper headlines all now admit that Britain has lost the war in the south of Iraq.
"Run Out Of Town" is how the Financial Times described the British army's decision to pull out of the centre of Basra to a fortress outside the city.
Soldiers are under constant mortar fire and their armoured vehicles are being hit by explosive devices. Foot soldiers now have to accompany the vehicles -- and they in turn become vulnerable to small arms fire.
The only reason that British troops remain in Iraq is that Gordon Brown promised George Bush that Britain would not pull out completely before the US did.
Yet the army commanders and politicians who now admit that British troops should be pulled out of Iraq argue that they should be sent into Afghanistan instead.
Afghanistan is a "winnable war", they say -- but this another lie from the warmongers. The conflict in Afghanistan gets bloodier by the day -- more than 700 British soldiers serving on Afghanistan's battlefields have required treatment since April.
More intense
Defence secretary Des Browne claims British forces have reached a "turning point" and are now stabilising Afghanistan. But this assessment simply ignores the fighting that rages throughout the country.
Jon Hill is a soldier with the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters regiment. He served in Iraq three times -- but says Afghanistan's war is "much more intense".
An army officer told the Daily Mail this week, "The West's dirty little secret is that we don't have enough infantry to hold the ground. It's now very likely that the numbers freed up from Iraq will be soaked up in Afghanistan."
Six years after the US declared "victory" in Afghanistan, the country remains one of the poorest on earth.Thousands of civilians have been killed by occupying forces, fuelling popular support for the resistance.
Extra troops are not the solution to the chaos. This strategy was tried in Iraq with Bush's "surge" -- and it failed.
War and occupation have brought disaster to both countries. We need to withdraw the troops from Iraq immediately -- and withdraw them immediately from Afghanistan too.
The following should be read alongside this article: »
Britain's failing presence in Iraq and Afghanistan
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