Saturday, June 16, 2007

Exactly what would chaos look like?

By Edward Copeland

I don't suppose a man in his 80s can send his 60-year-old son to his room, especially when the son is the president of the United States, but surely the mess Dubya is leaving in the Middle East should require some kind of punishment from his old man. I never cared much for George H.W. Bush either, but compared to his spawn, my running gag used to be that Dubya makes his dad look like Churchill. Then I remembered that Churchill is the one that invented Iraq in the first place, so maybe that's not a good analogy.

The two-state solution in the Israel-Palestinian conflict seems to have been blown into the wind like specs of Middle Eastern sand, thanks in no small part to Dubya's schizophrenic approach to the crisis. He called for a Palestinian state way back in 2002, but then refused to even meet with Arafat. In an analysis Friday by Glenn Kessler in The Washington Post, some think that Dubya's attempt to deal with moderate Palestinians while isolating extremists such as Hamas led to the current collapse of the Palestinian Authority's authority.

"The less we try to intervene and shape Palestinian politics, the better off we will be," said Robert Malley, an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the International Crisis Group. "Almost every decision the United States has made to interfere with Palestinian politics has boomeranged."

Kessler also points out in his piece how the U.S. reaction to Hamas' victory in Palestinian elections only made things worse. (Dubya is for democracy only if the end result goes the way he wants. He's such a spoiled little brat. Do you think he sits in a corner in the White House at night sucking his thumb?)

When Arafat died at the end of 2004, Abbas won the elections to replace him as president of the Palestinian Authority. Despite deep Israeli misgivings, the United States encouraged Abbas to hold Palestinian legislative elections -- and Abbas invited Hamas to participate, believing he could beat them at the polls. But Hamas won, giving Hamas control of the cabinet and of the powerful prime minister's post that had been created at the behest of the United States. Then, Washington organized a financial boycott of the government, in an effort to showcase Abbas as a moderate alternative in his role as president. But the financial squeeze engendered Palestinian ill will toward the West, not Hamas, and Abbas earlier this year agreed to a unity government with his opponents. The United States had just begun delivering nonlethal aid and training to security forces loyal to Abbas when Hamas decided to strike and seize Gaza.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, the civil war they won't admit is happening is heating up again as more retaliatory strikes against Sunni mosques follow this week's new attack on the revered Shiite Golden Dome mosque.

An explosion leveled a Sunni mosque Saturday in Basra, residents said, in the second retaliatory attack in as many days for the toppling of minarets at a prized Shiite shrine in Samarra. Iraqi police did not immediately respond to the bombing of the al-Ashrah al-Mubashra mosque, witnesses said, raising fears that the city's Shiite-dominated security forces were unwilling to stop sectarian attacks on Sunni landmarks.

While it was announced this week that the troop surge is complete, not that it has accomplished anything beyond increasing the number of dead members of the U.S. military, The Washington Post today reports on how the U.S. has been running a parallel war using private mercenaries, since our real military has been stretched and shattered by Dubyaland's incompetence and malfeasance.

Private security companies, funded by billions of dollars in U.S. military and State Department contracts, are fighting insurgents on a widening scale in Iraq, enduring daily attacks, returning fire and taking hundreds of casualties that have been underreported and sometimes concealed, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and company representatives. While the military has built up troops in an ongoing campaign to secure Baghdad, the security companies, out of public view, have been engaged in a parallel surge, boosting manpower, adding expensive armor and stepping up evasive action as attacks increase, the officials and company representatives said. One in seven supply convoys protected by private forces has come under attack this year, according to previously unreleased statistics; one security company reported nearly 300 "hostile actions" in the first four months.

The article also talks to Victoria Wayne, who served as director of logistics for Reconstruction Logistics Directorate of the Corps of Engineers until 2006, and is sickened by the deletion of the private death tolls from official lists of fallen U.S. fighters by the Pentagon.

It was like there was a major war being fought out there, but we were the only ones who knew about it.

Oh, we've known about it and for me at least, it makes me ill.

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