Thursday, August 09, 2007

Learned "need"

Today, the US military announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died Aug. 7 in a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died Aug. 7 in a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province." ICCC's total for US service members killed in the illegal war thus far this month is 24 and is 3683 since the start of the illegal war.

Martha notes Ann Scott Tyson's "Sunni Fighters Find Strategic Benefits in Tentative Alliance With U.S." (Washington Post):

"This is much less about al-Qaeda overstepping than about them [Sunnis] realizing that they've lost," said Lt. Col. Douglas Ollivant, a planner for the U.S. military command in Baghdad. As a result, Sunni groups are now "desperately trying to cut deals with us," he said. "This is all about the Sunnis' 'rightful' place to rule" in a future Iraqi government, he said.

Today the Sunnis are 'friends' in the US war (though the Shi'ites in power still maintain kill lists for various Sunni leaders and enemies). And yesterday there was an attack on the Shi'ite concentrated Sadr City section of Baghdad (while Nouri al-Maliki was out of the country -- that tends to be the pattern). Lloyd notes this from Megan Greenwell's "Major U.S. Raid in Sadr City Targets Shiite Militia Faction" (Washington Post):

U.S. forces staged a major two-pronged attack early Wednesday on a vast Baghdad district controlled by Shiite militia groups, killing at least 17 people, according to the military and Iraqi police.
The raid on Sadr City, an area dominated by loyalists to Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, was one of the largest in a series of U.S. attacks against Shiite militias. The most powerful group, Sadr's Mahdi Army, controls access to electricity, fuel and housing in much of eastern Baghdad as well as in some western neighborhoods.

Yesterday, on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman spoke with The New Yorker's Jane Mayer about the psychological techniques used on prisoners by the US. Note that psychologists aren't the only social scientists 'helping out' and that the Pentagon launched a big push to bring in anthropologists to help them deceive the Iraqi people. Keeping that in mind, also grasp that the US has fostered the divide and fed the civil wars. This is from "The Black Sites: A Rare Look Inside the C.I.A.’s Secret Interrogation Program:"

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain more about this -- and you talk about this particularly with Abu Zubaydah -- but who these psychologists are?
JANE MAYER: Well, one of them is a man named James Mitchell. Another is somebody named Bruce Jessen. There are other names that have been bandied about, but I don't feel comfortable mentioning them, but they were people who had, again, advised on SERE techniques. And so, they knew a lot about the psychological steps people go through when they're being tortured, and they knew that -- you know, their expertise was in resistance, how to resist torture. And so, they -- what happened was they wound up being asked, well, "How do we get these hardened al-Qaeda figures to stop resisting?" They believed in -- or talked, at least, a lot about a program called "learned helplessness," which is a psychological theory that springs out of experiments done on animals, particularly on dogs, where they were subjected to so many electric shocks in so many kind of random ways that at a certain point the dogs just gave up trying to escape from a pen, even though the entrance was open. And they talked about sort of -- these psychologists talked about how you need to break resistance in the al-Qaeda figures, at least this is according to people I’ve interviewed. The psychologist, I should say, James Mitchell has denied that he was trying to apply learned helplessness to the al-Qaeda figures, but others who were in the room with him describe him talking about it incessantly, trying to break them down to a point where they stop trying to resist.

Substitute Iraqi for "al-Qaeda" (like Michael Gordon does in his 'reporting' on Iran) and you'll probably have a better understanding of what's going on. Keep them off balance, pit one side against the other and continue switching allegiances, and they'll "need" the foreign fighters in their country. The chaos and violence didn't just happen, it was created. And it's stirred to continue the illegal war because it can also be sold to the American people as, "Think how bad things will be if American troops leave."

In Damien Cave's laughable report in this morning's New York Times (covering the same basics as Greenwell but somehow forgetting to mention how many civilians Iraqi police and hospital staff say were killed -- obviously a minor detail to Cave) he notes this:

Lt. Col. Steven M. Miska, deputy commander of the brigade responsible for the area around the shrine, said American troops were working carefully to protect pilgrims and reduce tensions with Iraqi security forces.

Yes, the great protector, the great savior. The easiest way to reduce tension in Iraq is for US forces to leave because they breed the hostilities and the violence and Iraqis want them out of their country. But sell the nonsense that the US will protect them (tell that to the 19 killed in Sadr City by the US air strike) and keep them off balance and maybe at some point they will grab the knees of the American forces and beg, "Stay! Stay! We can't live without you!"

As The Toledo Blade editorialized yesterday "Iraq's demise."

The long and short of it is that, no matter what General Petraeus' assessment is next month, the United States has essentially destroyed Iraq as a country. . . . The only action left, assuming that the people of the United States do not want to take on Iraq as a project for the next 20 or 30 years, is to state categorically that we have done all that we are going to do there and leave.

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