Thursday, October 11, 2007

With friends like these...

By Edward Copeland

The Bush family and their foreign policy teams sure have a history of not fulfilling promises to their allies, especially in the Middle East.

While Bush I was right in not toppling Saddam at the time, since all of his advisers, including that model of Dick Cheney, agreed the chaos that would ensue wasn't worth the cost of additional American lives, they also encouraged the Iraqi people to rise up against Saddam on their own. As the Shiites in the south moved to do just that, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf let Saddam go ahead and crush them, in no small part leading to the resentment we face there now.

Now, another friendly Iraqi has been placed in a quandary that the U.S. seems either unwilling or unable to prevent. As reported exclusively by NBC News, former Iraqi Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed, who now awaits execution by an Iraqi court, actually was working as a double agent for the U.S. Hashim worked with a CIA task force following the first Gulf War, feeding them information about Saddam and helping them to try to encourage his overthrow.

On top of that, Hashim was introduced to the CIA by Iraq's current president, Jalal Talabani, and who will be charged with the task of signing Hashim's death warrant for war crimes. Talabani wants nothing to do with it.

It seems something went wrong during this invasion. Hashim ended up as one of the players on the U.S. deck of cards and was forced into hiding, where he was promised by none other than Gen. David Petraeus that:

... I offer you a simple, yet honorable alternative to life on the run from Coalition Forces in order to avoid capture, imprisonment, and loss of honor and dignity befitting a General Officer. I officially request your surrender to me. In turn, I will accept this from you in person. You have my word that you will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect, and that you will not be physically or mentally mistreated while under my custody."

Hashim did surrender to Petraeus, under the assumption that he would received immunity for charges that loomed over his head related to Saddam's attacks on the Kurds. Soon after, the U.S. military handed Hashim over to the Iraqi court that sentenced him to death.

Talabani, himself a Kurd, is now in a, to say the least, awkward position, given the task to carry out a death sentence of a former friend and ally in the fight against Saddam on charges relating to the deaths of his own people.

I used to urge him to rebel against the government, and he used to cooperate," Talabani said last month. "So how can I now authorize his execution? I just can’t."

What will become of Hashim? It's difficult to say right now, but it is yet another example of the sheer incompetence with which this administration executed their war on Iraq.

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  • Please accept this rather long rant about clusterfuckups that have dogged the Iraq misadventure since inception. I have been compiling these news bits and statistics over the years. It presents as a litany of mismanagement, incompetence, and deceptions over the years ... or to put it another way ... a rather grim Ripley's I Don't Believe It:

    The estimated number of American soldiers who were rushed into an ad hoc, itchy-trigger-finger war without flack jackets or armored protection.

    The number of American soldiers killed in Iraq (as of September 10, 2007).

    The estimated amount of American casualties that would have been prevented had our troops been supplied with flack jackets and armored-vehicles.

    The number of American soldiers wounded (as of September 10, 2007) of whom 8,298 will never lead normal lives and will be dependent on the VAMC and a government that will abandon them like the Vietnam vets who were abandoned generations ago.

    The amount in tons of missing ordinance spread around Iraqi weapons sites that our government failed to secure. These became veritable shopping malls of explosives left for looting by would-be insurgents. During the presidential election, Bush accused Kerry of making "wild charges" about missing explosives. Nevertheless, Dr, David Kay, our WMD inspector in Iraq, confirmed: “Thousands of tons of ammunition were being looted, and that is what is fueling the insurgency." Bush lied about Kerry’s charges to deceive voters.

    The estimated number of Iraqi Army personnel and Ba’athist civil servants turned out of their jobs and left unemployed. “An examination of personnel records showed that important Ba’athists did not appear in large numbers until the rank of major general. Even then, only 50 per cent of those officers were affected” (Gordon, NYT, Oct 21, 04). It was those unemployed Iraqis who swelled the ranks of the insurgency, complements of Bush, Cheney and Bremer.

    750,000 to 1,000,000
    The estimated number of Iraqis killed to date.

    Three billion dollars per week is the estimated cost of the Iraq war borne by American taxpayers.

    The amount of active-duty military experience on the resumes of key members of the Bush administration: President George W. Bush – ZERO; National Security Advisor Condo Lisa Rice – ZERO; Vice-President Dick Cheney – ZERO; Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld - ZERO. When asked by a reporter why he never served in the military, VP Dick Cheney stated that he had “more important things to do."

    The term used by Donald Rumsfeld to portray soldiers as mere commodities, or as one commentator noted: “Rumsfeld calls our soldiers ‘fungibles,’ dehumanizing them to the level of the little wooden objects on his war table. He is oblivious to the harm done to America, to our military, to the suffering he has caused to our soldiers and Iraqis. He should have been fired long ago … But we have a commander who calls our precious Constitution, which he has sworn to defend, “nothing but a g__ d___ piece of paper,” a commander who laughs and jokes on camera about not finding any WMDs behind his chair. All while soldiers are dying and getting their limbs blown off” (A. J. McAllister, Military City, November 10, 2006).__So our Constitution is “nothing but a goddam piece paper” according to the President and his minions. It explains why they want to pry into your financial and medical records and eavesdrop on your telephone conversations. It explains why torture has suddenly become a “no-brainer” (Cheney). If you dare to disagree, or dare to hold them accountable, those minions will resort to sneer-n-smear tactics and brand you a “terrorist-appeaser” or question your patriotism. They have already said: “A vote for a Democrat is a vote for Al-Qaeda.” Folks, this is not politics as usual but a neo-con abuse of power.

    The term used by General Sir Michael Jackson, former chief of British forces in Iraq, to describe Donald Rumsfeld. In The Daily Telegraph (Sunday September 2, 2007), Sir Michael was particularly critical of Bush's decision to hand over control of running post-invasion Iraq to the Department of Defense. "All the planning carried out by the State Department went to waste," wrote Sir Michael Jackson. Furthermore, he said, the US decision to disband the Iraqi army after Saddam's overthrow was "very short-sighted ... We should have kept the Iraqi security services … and put them under the command of the coalition."

    The admission made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her visit to Blackburn England one year ago. "I know we've made tactical errors, thousands of them, I'm sure," she said. But what she didn’t say is that there is a legal distinction between a minor fender-bender versus felony manslaughter resulting in catastrophic loss of life.

    Not to mention the terrible judgment of history that will come back to haunt our nation for generations.

    By Blogger Swampcracker, at 12:42 PM  

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