Monday, October 19, 2009

'Withdrawal' and Chris Hill says no one's leaving

Recently the New York Times published an article that opened with this sentence: "There is no more visible sign that America is putting the Iraq war behind it than the colossal operation to get its stuff out: 20,000 soldiers, nearly a sixth of the force here, assigned to a logistical effort aimed at dismantling some 300 bases and shipping out 1.5 million pieces of equipment, from tanks to coffee makers."
Only a mouthpiece of U.S. imperialism could call the removal of only a sixth of an occupation force, leaving tens of thousands of soldiers and between 130,000 and 180,000 U.S.-paid private contractors and numerous bases in another country putting the war "behind it."
The fact that dozens of bases will remain in Iraq long after the United States puts the Iraq war "behind it" clearly demonstrates that the U.S. ruling class has no intention of truly relinquishing Iraq. These bases—six of which are so-called "supersize bases" -- will continue to be filled with the boots and rifles of U.S. occupational forces.
The same NY Times article notes that at least 50,000 troops will be left in Iraq through at least 2011. Soldiers, airmen and marines will continue to kill innocent Iraqis, while simultaneously building the military might of a puppet Iraqi army. The purpose of that reduction in Iraq, according to the senior commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, is to free up U.S. soldiers to go to Afghanistan.
[. . .]
This so-called withdrawal is a continuation of using different tactics to achieve the same goal: imperialist domination and exploitation. The U.S. ruling class is invested in maintaining the occupation and due to multiple factors—most notably the heroic resistance by the Iraqi people against its occupiers—has now chosen to change its policies and the appearance of the occupation in Iraq.
For the millions of families in Iraq and Afghanistan that have seen loved ones die while living under occupation, the nature of the experience doesn't change by simply lowering troop levels from 125,000 to 50,000. Foreign soldiers armed and under the direction of foreign governments in Iraq mean that Iraq is still occupied.

The above, noted by Zach, is from James Circello's "Iraq occupation set to continue despite imperialist lies" (Party for Socialism and Liberation). And you have to wonder about the ones saying the Iraq War is ending -- liars or stupid?

Stupid appears to be the answer for Patrick Martin (Globe & Mail) who writes of last week:

Only in Iraq would a week in which more than 50 people perished in bombings and shootings be considered a good one.
A week began with three car bombs that ripped through the downtown of this Sunni city, killing more than 20 people in strikes that targeted those who arrived to help the victims of the initial blast.

He totals out at 59. Learn to count, Patrick, learn to count. From Third yesterday (recounting last week's reported dead):

Sunday saw 31 reported dead and 93. Monday saw 7 reported dead and 21 reported injured. Tuesday saw 9 reported dead and 17 reported wounded. Wednesday saw 15 reported dead and 53 wounded. Thursday saw 3 person reported dead and 26 injured. Friday saw 19 reported dead and 106 wounded. Saturday saw 5 reported dead and 11 reported injured. At least 89 reported dead last week and 336 reported wounded.

In fairness to Patrick Martin, I just found out where he got his inaccurate figures. I've already stated we'll be tearing apart any, ANY, outlet that uses those figures in their 'looking back on October' pieces. Those figures are inaccurate and single sourced. And to be clear, the 89 reported dead -- that's an undercount. It's an undercount in that most deaths go unreported and it's an undercount in that it's not utilizing all sources -- it relies on Western media reports. Plural. With some Xinhua mixed in.

Tom Engelhardt ( reflects on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and we'll note this on Iraq:

Soon after, Washington's viceroy in occupied Baghdad would demobilize what was left of Saddam’s largely Sunni-officered 400,000-man army. (According to Bush administration plans, liberated Iraq was to have only a lightly armed, 40,000-man border-patrolling military and no air force to speak of.) Soon, however, the U.S. found itself in yet another war, a bitter, bloody Sunni insurgency amid a developing sectarian civil war. Once again, we chose a side and, after some hesitation, began rebuilding the Iraqi military and its intelligence services, as well as the country’s paramilitary police force. The result: a largely Shi'ite-officered army for the new government we set up in Baghdad, which we proceeded to arm to the teeth.
Now, Iraq has a U.S.-created army of approximately 262,000 men, and the Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, employs another 480,000 people. This is, of course, a gigantic security infrastructure, and not even counted are an estimated 94,000 members of the Sunni Awakening, mostly former insurgents and erstwhile opponents of the army and police that the U.S. paid and armed to make the "surge" of 2007 a relative success. The Iraqi government has recently purchased 140 Abrams tanks from the U.S. through the Foreign Military Sales Program and, as soon as the price of oil rises and it feels less financially strapped, it's eager to buy F-16s for its still barely existent air force.
Let me point out the obvious: No one yet knows whom all this fire power may someday be turned upon, but given that there is now a significantly Shi'ite-dominated government in Baghdad and little short of a shuttle of key Shi’ite leaders heading Tehran-ward, there’s no reason to assume that the Iraqi military will be our "friend" forever. The same would obviously be true of a gigantic Afghan army, if we were capable of creating one.

Thomas Grove, Shamal Aqrawi and Janet Lawrence (Reuters) report that today eight members of the PKK are expected to cross the border into Turkey (from Iraq) and turn themselves over "to Turkish military forces [. . .] in a gesture of support for Turkey's Kurdish initiative". AP says it is 34 turning themselves over but only 8 of the 34 "are rebels". Hurriyet Daily News reports this took place at 4:00 pm: "The group comprised 26 people, including nine women and four children, from the Mahmur camp in northern Iraq and eight PKK members from the Kandil Mountains. The group is coming 'not to surrender but to open the way for peace,' DTP co-leader Ahmet Türk said earlier Monday at a press conference in Silopi, on the Turkish side of the border. NTV television reported that they would be taken in by Turkish authorities for questioning once they’re in the country."

Meanwhile the US Boob to Iraq, Chris Hill is in the news. Mohammed Jamjoom (CNN) reports he told them Friday that the delay in the election law (still not passed -- supposed to have been passed no later than Thursday) was no big deal: "Would we like them [to] kind of get this over with early rather than late? We would, but sometimes in this country there's a tendency to do things at the last minute. So we'll see." If you were supposed to be explaining the need for political movement to the puppet government and you had FAILED you would no doubt make similar statements. The Boob is also reported on by Roy Gutman (McClatchy Newspapers) who reveals that Chris Hill went to Basra and told the business leaders "to project positive energy instead of complaining about all the things that are wrong with Iraq." Deception lessons from the Boob. As for withdrawal, Chris Hill is quoted stating, "as long as your people want us here, we will be here."

We'll note this from Sherwood Ross' "AN APPEAL: TIME TO OPPOSE MILITARY RECRUITING" (Grant Lawrence):

From every appearance, President Obama intends to step up the war in Afghanistan. Even though the American people voted for peace last November and would prefer to devote themselves to the ways of peace -- working a full-time job if they can find one, educating their children, providing essential services in their communities, etc., Obama plans to remain in Afghanistan, squandering billions more on a war that the latest poll shows 57% of the American people oppose. Obama also has given no signal that he will withdraw the remaining U.S. troops from Iraq and is providing the Pakistanis with the money, means, and encouragement to expand President Bush’s criminal wars' into yet a third nation.
We need to ask ourselves: who is better off for all these wars? Are Americans better off today than nine years ago? What of our 30,000 wounded? What of our 5,000 dead? (Contractors are human beings, too, so I count them.) What of the 1-million slaughtered Iraqis? What of the millions of Iraqi civilians wounded and/or driven from their homes? What of the ruined Iraq infrastructure and economy? What of millions of motorists and homeowners world-wide who have seen oil prices escalate? What of the homeless and malnourished Iraqi children? The only ones who appear to be better off from the Bush-Obama wars are the arms manufacturers and various public officials vegetating on the government payrolls in Washington. From steel mills to banks and from airlines to automobiles, the rest of American industry is suffering.
Long ago, Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910), the author of “War and Peace,” wrote these harsh words about Russia: "The truth is that the state is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens." It takes little imagination to divine what the good Count would have said about America today and its serial wars of aggression centered upon the Middle East oil fields and the proposed pipeline access routes to and from them. Face it: USA today is corrupting its people, turning its children into killers, and sending them out to fight and die in wrong wars half way around the world.
"Only one thing remains," Count Tolstoy wrote: "to fight the government with weapons of thought, word and way of life, not making any concessions to it, not joining its ranks, not increasing its powers oneself. That’s the one thing needful and it will probably be successful. And this is what God wants and this is what Christ taught."
What was true of Russia under the tsars---of a state that corrupted its children---unfortunately happens to be true of America in 2009. America's No. 1 cash crop today is armaments and our military-industrial complex is making big bucks peddling 68% of total arms' sold! Fifty-two cents out of every tax dollar is being chewed up by the Pentagon, busy night-and-day turning out ever more horrific killing machines to destroy people. The Pentagon has covered the globe with 1,000 military bases for “defense” and is busy devising ingenious ways to attack the earth from space, develop germ warfare and threaten and control any and every other country with its 11 mobile nuclear navies.

Bonnie reminds Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "White House On Attack" went up last night. The e-mail address for this site is