A General Cluster of ‘Malign Influence’

May 22, 2008

As chin-strap, ramrod-retro, surge-happy US Army Gen. David Petraeus slips through his Senate confirmation hearings this morning, Iraq is slipping further into the surreal.
Last month, Decider George picked Petraeus out of a crowd, a total stranger, (ironic sarcasm, we have you know!) and then nominated him to replace Navy Adm. William J. Fallon as chief of U.S. Central Command.
Although this so-called Central Command covers a lot of bad-ass, screwed-up Middle Eastern areas like Iraq and Afghanistan, company headquarters is in Tamp, Fla.
Fallon quit earlier this year because Decider George’s Iran policy was “becoming a distraction.”
One wonders at Petraeus’ eyes — brown, has to be the color brown — because the man is so-filled up to the eyeballs with shit!
A bit of his testimony:

  • “The withdrawal of over one-quarter of our combat power from Iraq will significantly reshape the battlefield. Our goal is to thin out our presence, not simply withdraw from areas, to ensure we help the ISF hold the security gains we have achieved together and set the conditions for additional progress,” Petraeus said.
    “A period of 45 days will enable us to reposture our forces, if needed, evaluate the effect of required adjustments, and avoid premature judgments about the impact of these changes. After this period of consolidation and evaluation, we can then complete an informed assessment and make appropriate recommendations.”

    — CNN, cnn.com/2008/politics, (5/22/08)

What the heck?
And what is reposture?

In all the babble, the procrastination continues. Last fall, US troops strength crested at about 165.000, that was during the incredibly successful “surge,” and someGIs have since left (a bunch, 3,000 and more, to Afghanistan) and now that level might be cut.

The big question is when…
Forty-five days starting from what date?
And how long is this period when Petraeus and his good shadow, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, have “complete an informed assessment and make appropriate recommendations”?
The putting-off of the putting off.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of a 46-question-and-answer document submitted before Petraeus testified.
And that old Iran policy thing came up — Iran is the black-heart ingredient against peace in the whole, entire Middle East.

  • When asked by the Senate panel whether a lengthy deployment in Iraq only strengthens Iran’s influence in the region, Petraeus responded that the opposite was true. It “has the potential to counter malign Iranian influence against the government of Iraq, build common cause in the region and expose the extent of malign Iranian activities to the world,” he wrote.

The “extent of malign activities…”
Then what about this:

  • WASHINGTON — The U.S. military, in a shift, has postponed the release of a report detailing allegations of Iranian support for Iraqi insurgents, according to people familiar with the matter.The military had initially planned to publicize the report several weeks ago but instead turned the dossier over to the Iraqi government, these people said. The Iraqis are using the information to pressure Tehran to curb the flow of Iranian weaponry and explosives into Iraq, these people said.

    “The timing of the brief…on Iranian interference has yet to be nailed down, but we anticipate briefing sometime in the future,” said Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll. Adm. Driscoll said there were “lots of reasons” for the delay but declined further comment.
    Another military official said in an interview that the report could be delayed significantly, noting that it was “in the hands of the [Iraqi central government].”

    — Yochi J. Dreazen, online.wsj.com/article, (5/21/08)

Was the good general questioned about all this civilian-killing/Quran-targeting shit?
Early news stories on Petraeus’ hearing indicated none of this was discussed:

  • BAIJI, Iraq — A U.S. helicopter airstrike on Wednesday night killed eight civilians, including two children, north of Baghdad, police officials said on Thursday.
    Colonel Mudhher al-Qaisi, police chief in the town of Baiji, said the attack was on a group of shepherds in a vehicle in a farming area.
    Relatives said some of those killed were fleeing on foot after the U.S. military arrived in the area.
    “This is a criminal act. It will make the relations between Iraqi citizens and the U.S. forces tense. This will negatively affect security improvements,” Qaisi told Reuters.

    — Sabah al-Bazee, Reuters, (5/22/08)

Even as US military commanders continued to dampen red-hot reaction to a US sniper using a copy of the Koran for target practice, Iraqi police are full of questions about another US operation earlier Wednesday in which 11 people were killed.
The US military reported 11 militants died, but police and several residents said at least some of the dead were civilians killed by U.S. snipers.
Including a journalist:

  • BAGHDAD — An Iraqi television station accused U.S. troops on Thursday of shooting dead one of its cameramen as he walked to his Baghdad home.
    Colleagues of Wisam Ali Ouda at the Afaq television channel said he was among 11 people killed by U.S. soldiers in eastern Baghdad’s Obaidi district on Wednesday morning.
    The U.S. military has said its troops shot dead 11 militants, but police and several residents said at least some of the dead were civilians killed by U.S. snipers.
    “Wisam was one of our most prominent cameramen. His killers have no values or humanity,” the station’s director, Mohammed Thiab al-Baidhani, said. “We will loudly condemn those who kill journalists.”
    A spokesman for the U.S. military in Baghdad, Lieutenant-Colonel Steven Stover, denied any civilians were killed during Wednesday’s military operation in Obaidi.
    “All extremists were positively identified as committing a violent act or posed a threat to commit a violent act before each engagement,” he told Reuters.
    There have been conflicting accounts of Wednesday’s shootings in different parts of the Obaidi district. It lies close to Sadr City, the main stronghold of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, where Iraqi troops backed by tanks have launched an operation to take control of the streets.
    Police said the dead included an elderly man and three street cleaners, but also at least three Sadr militants.
    Colleagues of Ouda, 32, who was buried in the holy city of Najaf on Thursday, said they had made pendants bearing his image to commemorate him.
    “He was a close friend, we filmed a lot together. It’s a tragedy,” cameraman Ali Adnan said.

    Reuters, (5/22/08)

The Committee to Protect Journalists, based in New York, says Iraq is the most dangerous place on earth to work.
Since the 2003 US-led invasion, 130 journalists, both local and foreign, have been killed.

And this isn’t very-good US PR:

  • GENEVA — The United States on Wednesday defended its detention of around 500 minors in Iraq, saying it had developed an “extensively robust” programme to meet the special needs of child combatants.
    “The US does detain juveniles that are encountered on the battlefield,” said Sandra Hodgkinson, deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Defense.
    “We go to great lengths when we do detain juveniles to recognise the special needs of the juvenile population and to provide them with a safe environment away from hostilities,” she told journalists.
    The Pentagon confirmed last week a report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that the US army is currently holding around 500 minors in detention in Iraq, as well as nearly a dozen juveniles in Afghanistan.
    The ACLU has also said US forces had detained 800 minors in Iraq as recently as last September.
    “The United States has not recognised these child detainees’ right to rehabilitation and reintegration, nor has the US recognised their juvenile status, in contravention of international juvenile justice standards,” the ACLU said.

    Hodgkinson was speaking ahead of a review of the US implementation of its commitments under optional protocols to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. The review was to take place at UN offices in Geneva.
    The United States has not ratified the main convention, the only state not to do so apart from Somalia.

    Agence France-Presse, (5/21/08)

AND THIS SUCKS!

  • Vice President Dick Cheney told newly minted Coast Guard officers Wednesday that the war on terror would be won on their watch and dismissed fears that fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan would drag on indefinitely.
    Cheney, sporting a 10-gallon hat, said the troop surge in Iraq “has succeeded brilliantly.”
    “The war on terror is a lengthy enterprise, but it does not have to go on forever,” he told more than 200 graduating cadets during the 127th commencement at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

    “The only way to lose this fight is to quit. That would be irresponsible,” Cheney said. “More than that, quitting would be an act of betrayal and dishonor. And it’s not going to happen on our watch.”

    — Associated Press, rawstory.com/news/2008, (5/21/08)

Clusters of brain cells merge together and form an image.
The picture of a cowboy buffoon, looking like Lyndon Johnson with a skin disease

War is apparently the only real rush Dufus Dick gets out of his miserable, little life.
Despite never, ever serving in the military, despite not giving a shit about sending others off to die or get maimed, Dufus Dick must have his shit-slick fingers all over this horror:

  • The United States on Wednesday opposed a worldwide ban on cluster bombs, calling instead for “technological fixes” that would make them safer.
    State Department expert Stephen Mull told reporters the United States is “deeply concerned” about the danger of such munitions, but said a ban like one proposed at a major conference in Dublin would be impractical.
    “We think that it will be impossible to ban cluster munitions as many in the Oslo process would like to do, because these are weapons that have a certain military utility,” Mull said.
    “So rather than ban them, we think that a much more effective way to go about this is through technological fixes that will make sure that these weapons are no longer viable once the conflict is over,” Mull said.
    He did not explain how such a technological solution might work.

    Dropped from warplanes or fired from artillery guns, cluster bombs explode in mid-air, randomly scattering bomblets — ramping up the risk of civilians being killed or maimed by their indiscriminate, wide-area effect.

    AFP, (5/21/08)

Obvious in being absent from these weapons’ talks in Dublin, Ireland, this week are representatives from the US along with China, India, Israel, Pakistan and Russia.
One hundred other nations like France, Germany and Japan have been working since last year to develop some kind of agreement to halt the use of cluster bombs.
This character Mull from the above story is, of course, another one of those cluster heads from Decider George’s government.
The world cannot ban these type weapons because they “have a certain military utility,” Mull blubbered — One can actually hear Dufus Dick blubbering the word “utility” in everyday speech like it was a kitchen toaster instead of a terrible weapon of mass destruction for small spaces.
Also in the AFP story, Mull said the US does participate in the high-sounding-Orwellian-KGB-Peter Sellers-playing the president like Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva.
This gathering for just certain weapons is a gun-runner’s lovefest, Mulled continued, because the “principal producers and users of these munitions vote and participate and work together.”

War is such a sweet business — just ask Dufus Dick, smiling Dave Petraeus and of course, Decider George!

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