everything else about this war is a lie – the shifting
rationales, the mendacious propaganda, the
promises of "democracy" and "liberation"
– is anyone really surprised that they're lying about the
number of American casualties as well? The British Guardian
true scale of American casualties in Iraq is revealed today
by new figures obtained by The Observer, which show
that more than 6,000 American servicemen have been evacuated
for medical reasons since the beginning of the war, including
more than 1,500 American soldiers who have been wounded, many
the Guardian avers, "will be shocked" by the numbers,
which are significantly higher than those reported by the
U.S. media. That's presuming most of them will even hear about
it, which they won't. But a pliant media, firmly embedded
in the War Party's pocket, won't stop the rising disaffection
with this war: it can only slow it down. The Iraq war, deemed
officially over by a President who stood before a huge banner
Accomplished," is increasingly unpopular, especially among
of reservists whose tour of duty has been extended from
six months to a year. The $87 billion price tag and that's
just to start – didn't help matters much: a
new poll is out showing that 61 percent
are against spending the money, and a majority support
rolling back the tax hike if Bush and a complicit Congress
go ahead and spend the money anyway.
bad news for tax-cutting conservatives, who
to grumble that the President's obsession with the war
is knocking his other ostensible policy goals right off the Republican
agenda. It's also potentially bad news for Howard Dean,
who has been
saying that we have to spend more money on rebuilding
Iraq, and who has so far completely ruled out an American
withdrawal any time soon.
is not to say that he won't flip-flop when he
reads that more than 80 percent of Democrats say no to this
outrageous outlay, as he has on so many other issues
(from a free trader to a protectionist, from no to yes on
Cuba sanctions, etc.) I hear he's changed his position yet
again on the American troop presence in Iraq: instead of calling
for sending more, as he did earlier in an interview with the
Washington Post, now he's saying no more American
troops should be sent: they should all be "foreign." As
to what he'll say tomorrow, your guess is as good as mine.
any real opposition to the war coming from the Democratic
party, as yet – except from the well-meaning but financially
strapped campaign of Dennis Kucinich – the most effective
opposition is so far coming from within the administration,
and from senior military officers, as it has all along.
perpetual game of seesaw between the State Department and
the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz clique continues unabated, but lately
the tempo is increasing. The former is in the driver's seat,
at least for the moment: in the pause between the Middle Eastern
wars, Colin Powell is doing his damnedest to contain the conflict,
while the neoconservatives who dominate the civilian leadership
of the Pentagon push to expand it.
has a built-in disadvantage, aside from the natural tendency
of any military action to take on a momentum of its own, in
that the clock is ticking
on Iranian compliance
with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which
suspects Tehran is trying to build nukes. UN inspectors recently
of weapons grade uranium at Iranian nuclear facilities,
while the accused claim their equipment was contaminated
by "previous owners."
the Iraqi front, Powell's courting of the Europeans has been
largely spurned, with the French heroically insisting that
power be transferred from the Coalition Provisional Authority
(CPA) to a new Iraqi government by
next month, with the drafting of a constitution and elections
held by the spring.
neocons claim that Paris is the epicenter of "anti-Americanism"
in the world, but it's an infamous libel. The French proposal
would save untold numbers of American lives by precipitating
a U.S. withdrawal. Sounds pretty pro-American to me. Too bad
our own leaders won't follow suit: but they are going to have
to do something, and fairly soon.
Congressional Budget Office reports that present troops levels
be maintained much beyond March of next year, so where
are the soldiers going to come from? Either the "coalition
of the willing" comes to include the UN, with France, Germany,
India, Pakistan, Turkey, and others taking up the slack, or
the U.S. pulls out of Europe and much of the Far East. With
the former unlikely, although possible, I expect the further
downsizing of our troop presence in Europe, and perhaps even
the beginning of the end to the half century U.S. military
occupation of Japan.
the price Tokyo pays for ridding itself of an ongoing humiliation may
be too high. In the event that U.S. troops are largely withdrawn
from Japanese soil, the American yoke, far from being broken,
will only be tightened around Nippon's neck. This is underscored
by the news that the U.S. is getting impatient with their
usually obedient ally, and is furious that the Japanese haven't
already sent troops to Iraq: A U.S. Defense Department official
is cited by the Tokyo Shimbun as demanding to know:
don't you shape up?"
the American empire, satellites must know their place. Unless
they're Israel, of course, in which case they can rip up the "road map," and thumb
their noses at the U.S. by building
"settlements" on Palestinian land – and a "wall of
separation" that separates the Palestinians from
even more of their land. In defiance of the President
of the United States, their principal backer and patron, the
Israelis can threaten to liquidate
not only Yasser Arafat with impunity, but also the Palestinian
civil administration in its entirety. Won't any American official
dare ask the Israelis why they don't shape up?
get some idea of why this may never happen, one has only to
observe the theater of the absurd that is the Democratic presidential
primary, where the latest act is a furious attack on Dean
by the other
major candidates – Lieberman
striking the first blow because he dared to say
that the U.S. must be even-handed when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian
vey! Such a commotion! The
evil Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), who
I ran against in 1996, circulated a letter condemning
Dean for daring to suggest that the Israelis and Palestinians
could possibly exist on the same moral plane, although that
can't have been what
Jeanne Kirkpatrick meant when she coined the term "San
Francisco Democrats." In any case, Dean
was quick to back down: he called Pelosi, and "clarified"
his position, agreeing that "this is not a time to send mixed
messages" and that our support for Israel must be "unequivocal."
all you San Francisco "progressives" – how is it that the
most beautiful and the most "liberal" city in the U.S.
allows the blight of Pelosi to disfigure its fair visage?
The one meaningful gesture made by a Democratic presidential
candidate on the foreign policy front is immediately condemned
by this pop-eyed
harpy, who dug her talons deep in Dean's back, shrieking all
the while. If this Gorgon
is the face of contemporary "liberalism," then thank the gods
I'm a (paleo)-conservative. We paleocons are only
tiny minority here in San Francisco – perhaps even a minority
of one! but with "liberals" like Pelsoi and her San
Francisco supporters taking the position that the Palestinians
deserve only our utter contempt, perhaps we can make some
real inroads even here, in Baghdad-by-the-Bay.
seriously, fellow San Franciscans: we can do better than that!
ugly reality of American politics is that the Democrats are
competing with the Republicans in kow-towing to Ariel Sharon
– and that's why an American diplomat could never tell the
Israelis to shape up without getting reassigned to Outer Mongolia.
is, however, a significant
faction of the American Establishment that resists this
kind of subservience, and Powell is their voice in this administration.
The American Secretary of State, far more
popular than his boss in the White House, is taking on
a rabidly pro-Israel cabal
that is frantically trying to expand the present conflict
in the Middle East. Whether he can succeed is a question of
timing. Will hard-liners in Iran and
the U.S. prevail, bringing Tehran into collision with a united
front of the Western powers (including Russia), or
will Powell head them off at the pass?
neocons, emboldened by the President's recent "stay the course"
speech, are pressing hard
to widen the conflict. The prospect of UN or other foreign
troops entering the fray seriously complicates their efforts,
however: once blue-helmeted "peacekeepers" from Sweden are
in, and the UN takes over the civil administration from U.S.
viceroy Paul Bremer, the War Party can forget about using
Iraq as a launch pad for new conquests.
it's a race to see which pot can be brought to boil quickest,
a countdown to containment – or catastrophe.
the anti-interventionist movement begins to make its voice
heard, my money is on the latter. The Israelis are said not
to have the firepower to take out all of Iran's widely scattered
nuclear facilities, but a demonstration raid would have the
same effect. It would up the ante at a single stroke, and
unleash the "creative
destruction" so beloved by Michael Ledeen
and his fellow neocons, who will be cheering the Israelis
on – undeterred by the prospect that this will have to mean
increased attacks on American targets in Iraq.
IN THE MARGIN
call it synchronicity.
No sooner had my September 2 column on
the Mujahideen e Khalq's possible connection to the
Najaf bombing been posted, then the State Department came
out with accusations that the
group had not been reined in. In the previous week – about
the time my column was written Colin Powell wrote a
letter to the Pentagon alleging that the group had not been
disarmed, and was still active militarily, regularly crossing
the border into Iran. Not that I'm claiming to be the Secret
Master of the State
Department, or anything: I only note that my column on the
problem posed by the MEK preceded public disclosure of this
has been a problem for quite a while, but why is this all
coming out now? While this hardly confirms my thesis that,
out of all possible suspects in the Najaf bombing, MEK is
the most likely candidate, it certainly points in that direction.
Far from being neutralized, MEK has not been disarmed, and
is militarily active. This
report has it that:
elements within the People's Mujahedeen have taken to the
rugged mountains separating Iran and Iraq, and were preparing
to wage attacks against US troops, ethnic Kurds and Tehran,
local officials and military sources said."
1,000 MEK militants are running around loose: heavily armed
and itching for a fight. But I wouldn't take that speculation
about their willingness to fight the Americans too seriously.
The MEK knows what side its bread is buttered on: word is out
that it has become the instrument
of a faction
within the Department of Defense determined to provoke war
with Iran. This in spite of their official
designation by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.
of terrorist organizations, check
out the story of Nima Zamar, an assassin for the Mossad,
who has now gone public with her story:
powerful handshake is probably standard for professional killers
who dispatch victims with their bare hands. Yet the vigorous
grip is a surprise when you meet Nima Zamar, a 33-year-old
French woman who has just gone public with an account of life
as an agent with a licence to kill for the Israeli secret
a tale of grisly execution-style murders carried out without
remorse. With more guile than James Bond, Ms. Zamar spills
more blood and guts than Ah-nold
the Terminator. Described as '"tall and muscular,"
Ms. Zamar might have a certain appeal to men under other circumstances,
but the poor thing is complaining about the lack of a love
says that she is lonely in Paris with no family or boyfriends….
Men are frightened of her, she laughs. 'Having lived like
that makes it difficult to have a normal relationship with
a man. It's a great solitude.'"
just guessing, here, but her solitude could have something
to do with the following passage in her
I move behind her, hit her in the throat with a violent blow
of the forearm and then strangle her. She lies dead in my
arms. I put her on the ground,' she writes…. There's someone
opposite you and there will only be one winner, the one who
kills.' In the book, she describes her many other victims
in similar terms, noting details such as cleaning the flesh
off a 'useful' foldable knife after the murder of a terrorist
official. Women, she says, are perhaps better killers than
men because they are less dominated by ego and more willing
to serve humbly in the shadows without glory or recognition."
Please Support Antiwar.com
520 S. Murphy Avenue, #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
or Contribute Via our Secure
Credit Card Donation Form
Your contributions are