Comedic War Machine

January 23, 2008

The scenario would be hilarious if death wasn’t the outcome.
Gen. David Petraeus, Decider George’s head lackey in Iraq, went on NBC Tuesday morning with a tongue-wrapping excuse to continue the horror that’s Iraq.

We think we won’t know that we’ve reached a turning point until we’re six months past it. We have repeatedly said that there is no lights at the end of the tunnel that we’re seeing. We’re certainly not dancing in the end zone or anything like that.”

Another pile of the same bullshit that’s been ongoing for nearly eight years.

  • A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
    The study concluded that the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”
    The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.
    “In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”
    Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.
    Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq’s links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell’s 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.
    The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.
    “The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war,” the study concluded.
    “Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, ‘independent’ validation of the Bush administration’s false statements about Iraq,” it said.
    Associated Press, (1/22/08)

When we read the above report for the first time yesterday, there was a sense of being incredulous, of not being able to fully grasp the words. Although all the information has been broadcast before in one form or another, to see it in one spot and upfront has a created a kind of retroactive bombshell. The Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism put the operation in motion.

The New York Times explained it this morning:

  • The Center for Public Integrity, a research group that focuses on ethics in government and public policy, designed the new Web site to allow simple searches for specific phrases, such as “mushroom cloud” or “yellowcake uranium,” in transcripts and documents totaling some 380,000 words, including remarks by President Bush and most of his top advisers in the two years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks…
    There is no startling new information in the archive, because all the documents have been published previously. But the new computer tool is remarkable for its scope, and its replay of the crescendo of statements that led to the war. Muckrakers may find browsing the site reminiscent of what Richard M Nixon used to dismissively call “wallowing in Watergate.”

The difference in Watergate and Decider George’s various nefarious military enterprises is the wanton destruction, death, hideous and prolonged, that has cut a swath across not only the Mid East, but the world as a whole. Planet earth is an armed camp. Nixon was a crook, thug and liar and allowed the Vietnam war to continue just for the sake of politics, but Watergate was (compared to the now) a near-frivolous, white-collar romp.

All those lying phrases on the run up to the war continues even as we type.

Decider George’s little sashay around the Persian Gulf last week included a stop in Kuwait to give Petraeus a little tongue-wrapping. “Quite the contrary,” he snorted to reporters when asked about any possible down-sizing of the US presence in Iraq. Plus, the Iraqi Defense minister played footloose with the calendar: The country would “not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq’s borders from external threat until at least 2018.”

The plot here is perpetual US presence in Iraq a long, long time.

And the US peoples are being massaged with the message.

  • A nation-building project launched in the confident expectation that the United States would repeat in Iraq the successes it had achieved in Germany and Japan after 1945 instead compares unfavorably with the U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina. Even today, Iraqi electrical generation meets barely half the daily national requirements. Baghdad households now receive power an average of 12 hours each day — six hours fewer than when Saddam Hussein ruled. Oil production still has not returned to pre-invasion levels. Reports of widespread fraud, waste and sheer ineptitude in the administration of U.S. aid have become so commonplace that they barely last a news cycle. (Recall, for example, the 110,000 AK-47s, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armor and 115,000 helmets intended for Iraqi security forces that, according to the Government Accountability Office, the Pentagon cannot account for.) U.S. officials repeatedly complain, to little avail, about the paralyzing squabbling inside the Iraqi parliament and the rampant corruption within Iraqi ministries. If a primary function of government is to provide services, then the government of Iraq can hardly be said to exist…
    In only one respect has the surge achieved undeniable success: It has ensured that U.S. troops won’t be coming home anytime soon. This was one of the main points of the exercise in the first place. As AEI military analyst Thomas Donnelly has acknowledged with admirable candor, “part of the purpose of the surge was to redefine the Washington narrative,” thereby deflecting calls for a complete withdrawal of U.S. combat forces. Hawks who had pooh-poohed the risks of invasion now portrayed the risks of withdrawal as too awful to contemplate. But a prerequisite to perpetuating the war — and leaving it to the next president — was to get Iraq off the front pages and out of the nightly news. At least in this context, the surge qualifies as a masterstroke…
    In reality, the war’s effects are precisely the inverse of those that Bush and his lieutenants expected. Baghdad has become a strategic cul-de-sac. Only the truly blinkered will imagine at this late date that Iraq has shown the United States to be the “stronger horse.” In fact, the war has revealed the very real limits of U.S. power. And for good measure, it has boosted anti-Americanism to record levels, recruited untold numbers of new jihadists, enhanced the standing of adversaries such as Iran and diverted resources and attention from Afghanistan, a theater of war far more directly relevant to the threat posed byal-Qaeda. Instead of draining the jihadist swamp, the Iraq war is continuously replenishing it.
    — Andrew J. Bacevich, The Washington Post, (1/20/08)

As the squabbling presidential candidates play-out the jack-ass-race to the White House, the deteriorating worldwide situation get second-fiddle to it’s the economy, stupid.

  • But military officers say that the American public should not be fooled: the relative quiet in Iraq – and it is, after all, only a “relative quiet” – does not mean the “surge” has worked, or that the problems facing the US military have somehow magically gone away. Quite the opposite. For while the American public is consumed by the campaign for the presidency, the American military is not. Instead, they are as obsessed now, in January of 2008, with the war in Iraq as they were then, in 2003 – except that now, many military officers admit, the host of problems they face may, in fact, be much more intractable.
    “Don’t let the quiet fool you,” a senior defense official says. “There’s still a huge chasm between how the White House views Iraq and how we [in the Pentagon] view Iraq. The White House would like to have you believe the ‘surge’ has worked, that we somehow defeated the insurgency. That’s just ludicrous. There’s increasing quiet in Iraq, but that’s happened because of our shift in strategy – the ‘surge’ had nothing to do with it.”
    — Mark Perry, Asia Times, (1/22/08)

And what about the US military?

  • The National Priorities Project said the percent of “high-quality” recruits – those with a high school diploma who scored in the top half on the military’s qualification test – declined from budget years 2004 to 2007. In that period, the number of high-quality recruits fell from about 61 percent to nearly 45 percent, the group said.
    It also found that in the 2007 budget year, upper middle- and high-income neighborhoods were underrepresented by an even larger margin than three years earlier.
    Associated Press, (1/22/08)

And add this to the Strangelove-fuel for the fire:

  • Russia’s military chief of staff said Saturday that Moscow could use nuclear weapons in preventive strikes to protect itself and its allies, the latest aggressive remarks from increasingly assertive Russian authorities.
    Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky’s comment did not mark a policy shift, military analysts said. Amid disputes with the West over security issues, it may have been meant as a warning that Russia is prepared to use its nuclear might.
    “We do not intend to attack anyone, but we consider it necessary for all our partners in the world community to clearly understand … that to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, military forces will be used, including preventively, including with the use of nuclear weapons,” Baluyevsky said at a military conference in a remark broadcast on state-run cable channel Vesti-24.
    AP, (1/19/08)

Decider George and his hilarious-horrific agenda: “And thank-you so much for bringing up such a painful subject. While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it. We’re closed!”
— Miracle Max, The Princess Bride

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