Well it was before. Now the Turks are bombing the north again (whether actually killing PKK members or not is in dispute) and war with Iran looms. Andrew Cockburn reports in Counter Punch Bush’s new “finding” authorizing more covert support for anti-Iranian and anti-Syrian terrorist groups like the MEK, Jundullah and – irony anyone? – the PKK-allied Pejak.
The Sunday Times says the military is renewing plans for strikes at Quds Force targets in Iran, a further irony since the Quds Force is the father organization of the Badr Corps (AKA: Bush’s “Iraqi Army”).
Any strikes against Iran seem almost certain to escalate into full scale war in southern Iraq, Iran’s nuclear facilities and who-knows-what else.
One notable portion of Cockburn’s article:
Interestingly, despite the bellicose complaints, Petraeus has made little effort to seal the Iran-Iraq border, and in any case two thirds of U.S. casualties still come from Sunni insurgents. “The Shia account for less than one third,” a recently returned member of the command staff in Baghdad familiar with the relevant intelligence told me, “but if you want a war you have to sell it.”
Marc Garlasco helped target laser-guided bombs during the Iraq invasion, and he claims in an NPR interview entitled “Assessing the Human Cost of Air Strikes in Iraq,” that the military does a careful calculation of how many innocent civilians will be killed for each bomb dropped. According to Garlasco, they’re VERY careful. If more than 29 innocent civilians are calculated to become “collateral damage,” they have to get White House approval.
What would that be like . . . .
FC [Field Commander]: Mr. President – we’ve got the 3rd highest ranking al’Qaeda commander in Iraq lined up in our sights, but if we bomb, we might kill more than 29 civilians. What should we do?
W [Dubya]: 3rd highest? Didn’t we already get him?
FC: Sir – this is the new, new 3rd highest in command.
W: Oh, well that sounds serious. I hate to butcher so many innocent Iraqis everyday. On the other hand, maybe that madman will someday muster the capacity to kill more than 29 people, so … let’s bring Dick in on this … Dick?
DC [Dick Cheney]: Look George, I thought we agreed that we were used to collaterally damaging Iraqi civilians by now, and that it’s worth it in our epic battle of good vs evil. After all, your predecessor set the precedent.
DC: Where she said the death of 500,000 Iraqi children in pursuit of U.S. foreign policy was O.K.?
W: Ah, . . .
DC: Here, look at this video again – – –
W: Oh. Right. I guess if Clinton’s UN Ambassadors think 500,000 dead kids in pursuit of U.S. foreign policy is O.K. – – – – But don’t some of those Iraqis have families friends and loved ones who might turn into terrorists against us?
DC: No, they don’t. And anyway, remember, we agreed that all Iraqis are potential terrorists.
W: Oh yeah. Well go ahead FC. You have my authorization.
FC: Sir – we obliterated the terrorist-nest village, but the madman seems to have escaped. Don’t worry, we’ll get him tomorrow. That’s one village that will never again harbor terrorists.
W: Weeee! Heck-of-a-job, FC! How many potential al’Qaeda recruits did we bring to justice?
DC: I’ve asked you before to stop asking that. Remember we aren’t supposed to keep count.
FC: Oops! They’re saying we targeted the wrong new 3rd highest in command. Apparently the real new 3rd isn’t in this part of the country. He was having a secret meeting with Condy.
W: Rat feathers! How many times have we missed like that?
Over at the American Conservative magazine’s blog, Antiwar.com columnist and former CIA officer Philip Giraldi reports that Israeli sources have indicated to him that the recent leak to the FBI about the new-old Israeli spy case came from inside the Israeli government toward the end of thwarting Ehud Olmert, Dick Cheney and the War Party’s plans to expand the Middle Eastern slaughter to Iran â€“ and that there are more spies to be revealed…
Israeli sources are reporting that the FBI investigation of the Ben-Ami Kadish spy case resulted from a leak coming from inside the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. …
[Yosef] Yagur, who is now retired and living in Israel, was Kadishâ€™s case officer, handling the cases of both him and Jonathan Pollard. Before the anonymous leak of information, the FBI had no idea that Kadish had been a spy for Israel. Now it is investigating a number of US citizens, including an individual who held very senior security positions in the Clinton and Bush White Houses.
How many different people fit the definition, “an individual who held very senior security positions in the Clinton and Bush White Houses”? Can’t be too many… More to the point, why would the Israeli government do such a thing as out their own agents (albeit past ones) to the FBI? According to Giraldi,
The leak of the information at the present time is believed to be linked to proposed closed congressional hearings at the end of this month in which the White House had planned to use several Israeli intelligence officers to provide evidence on the alleged Syrian nuclear program that was bombed on September 6, 2007. It is now unlikely that Israeli intelligence officers will allow themselves to be questioned because they would almost certainly be asked about Israeli spying on the US. Vice President Dick Cheney and Olmert had apparently planned on using the congressional briefings as a launch pad to intensify diplomatic and military pressure against both Syria and Iran. It is believed that the â€œdovesâ€ in the Olmert administration who leaked the information are seeking to make a military confrontation more difficult and are hoping that negotiations, particularly with Syria, will instead take place.
According to the LA Times, these Congressional hearings about the bogus Syria-North Korea Plutonium factory were meant by the neocons at the American Enterprise Institute to be a simple “box-checking exercise,” on the great clipboard of war in the words of AEI vice-warmonger and Ahmad Chalabi champion, Danielle Pletka.
Gareth Porter’s new article explains how the installation of General Petraeus as Royal Viceroy over the Middle East and Central Asia helps smooth the road to war. Perhaps the new and forthcoming spy revelations will help push the scales back the other way.
I’m not a big fan of the New York Times, but today’s front-page investigative report on the Pentagon’s managing of the news is absolutely first-rate. One of the Pentagon officials, Torie Clarke, the Pentagon’s main propagandist, said her goal had been to achieve “information dominance.” In other words, she wanted the Pentagon’s message to get out and crowd out the independent information from others. To do this, the Pentagon recruited retired military officers and fed them select information that was often at odds with reality. Wow! I’m already sounding like a spin doctor. What I mean in the earlier sentence is that the Pentagon lied.
The payoff for many of these retired officers was that various “defense” contractors for whom they worked got a better shot at military contracts. [Why “defense” in quotation marks? Because most of what the Department of Defense does has nothing to do with defense: it’s offense, much of which makes us less safe.]
Interestingly, some of the retired military knew they were being lied to and passed the information on as truth nevertheless. In other words, they lied. One, General Paul E. Vallely, a FOX News analyst from 2001 to 2007, stated, “â€œI saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south [in Iraq.]” But on his return, Vallely told FOX’s Alan Colmes, â€œYou canâ€™t believe the progress,â€ and predicted that the number of insurgents would be “down to a few numbers” within months. Of course, it wasn’t. And it turned out that Vallely didn’t “believe the progress.”
How did they rationalize their lying? Take Timur J. Eads. Please. Eads is “a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Fox analyst who is vice president of government relations for Blackbird Technologies, a fast-growing military contractor.” Eads said he had withheld the truth on television for fear that a four-star general would call and say, “Kill that contract.” I’ve heard of people running from battle because they might be literally killed. And I’m sympathetic. But lying because the consequence of telling the truth is that your employer might lose business and you might get fired? Wowee. Pretty scary.
The whole article is well worth your time.
In New York, you cannot ride a subway without being bombarded with posters about Darfur and now, Tibet. Of course I have sympathy for those killed and displaced in Darfur, though the numbers have been overblown and other specifics of the situation have been exaggerated. And I am a sucker for all plainly legitimate secessionist movements, as in Tibet. But I am quite sick of being guilted into protest and “action” with the purpose of fixing problems my government is in no way (currently) responsible for.
The Tibet march poster I saw yesterday mentioned the “atrocities” perpetrated by the Chinese government. How about the atrocities carried out, abetted, enabled, and inspired by the US Government in Iraq? The death toll in Iraq beats last month’s entire cluster of clashes in Tibet practically every hour. Why, outside of a few stickers on newspaper boxes around town, is no significant mention made of what’s going on non-stop in Iraq? Are mainstream liberals just so cowed by the see-through rhetoric of the now completely debunked War Party that they still refuse to criticize a war their military is currently prosecuting?
Why are they demurely and cowardly “supporting the troops” in Iraq while wasting their rage on bullsh*t like a police crackdown against rioters in Tibet? This goes all the way up to top liberals in the country — the disgusting Nancy Pelosi tells the President he should boycott the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing. Who is George Bush to express moral indignation about anything? France’s Sarkozy is just as ridiculous — he rubs his face in Bush’s crack as the Decider bends over to destroy another piece of Iraq, but is contemplating a boycott of the Olympics opening ceremonies over a few scuffles in Lhasa?