Sanchez’s prognosis: What none of us wants to hear

I find it strange that the major media have said nothing about the statement by retired Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez in San Antonio interview published on 6/4/07.
He says the United States has lost the war in Iraq: As he put it, with good leadership “we could still salvage at least a stalemate, if you will — not a stalemate but at least stave off defeat,” But he says, we have few signs of the kind of leadership he thinks we need. There is a “crisis of leadership” in America. This is important news because Sanchez is the highest-ranking former military leader to serve in Iraq to say that our country has lost the war. Certainly the news there is not really more heartening than the news in previous years. But still we have a body of people who want to believe that we can win. In fact, the gossip now seems to have shifted from when the war will be won in Iraq to whether we have a chance of winning at all. And now, Gen Sanchez says that we have lost if we can’t get better leadership, and that leadership of the sort needed is scarce. Bad news.

Click on the title to see the whole article.
To see the commentary on it on the Information Clearing House web site see the following:

More evidence that the Iraq problems were well known in advance

The new report, just released, on the CIA warnings about the problems of going into Iraq, provides one more piece of evidence of what we already knew, that the Bush administration was warned that the plans to invade Iraq would be costly and draw insurgent groups such as Al Qaeda into the area, compounding the problems in the Middle East. Some Republican Senators have tried to downplay the report, forgetting that even “W”‘s father, George H. W. Bush, had already predicted serious complications if in his time American forces had gone after Saddam Hussein. Even so, this will surprise some people.

The Iraq Problems were Anticipated. [Friday May 25, 2007 10:16 PM]

By KATHERINE SHRADER Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – Intelligence analysts predicted, in secret papers circulated within the government before the Iraq invasion, that al-Qaida would see U.S. military action as an opportunity to increase its operations and that Iran would try to shape a post-Saddam Iraq.

The CIA report said
– Establishing a stable democracy in Iraq would be a long, steep and probably turbulent challenge.

– Al-Qaida would see the invasion as a chance to accelerate its attacks, and the lines between al-Qaida and other terrorist groups “could become blurred.”

For more, click on the title above.

Why there was no exit plan

Seiler and Hamburg are stating what many of us have surmised but have had no certainty of. That the United States is committed to establishing a major position in Iraq — for many reasons, at least some of them being its strategic location with respect to oil and gas resources — has been evident from the beginning (and there is that huge new embassy, over a 100 acres in size, in construction). But these guys now have formulated more explicitly why our troops are there. What it means is that despite the quarreling over withdrawing troops out of there our troops will not leave; they will instead disappear into huge bases, from which they will reappear only when our government feels it is necessary.

By Lewis Seiler and Dan Hamburg
San Franscisco Chronical

“There are people in Washington … who never intend to withdraw military forces from Iraq”
— former President Jimmy Carter, Feb. 3, 2006

“There is to be no withdrawal from Iraq, just as there has been no withdrawal from hundreds of places around the world that are outposts of the American empire.”
“The United States maintains 737 military bases in 130 countries across the globe. They exist for the purpose of defending the economic interests of the United States, what is euphemistically called ‘national security.’ In order to secure favorable access to Iraq’s vast reserves of light crude, the United States is spending billions on the construction of at least five large permanent military bases throughout that country.”
“A new Iraq oil law, largely written by the Coalition Provisional Authority,is planned for ratification by June. This law cedes control of Iraq’s oil to western powers for 30 years”
“The question we must ask as citizens is this: Is the United States a democratic republic or an empire? History demonstrates that it’s not possible to be both.”

An expert’s predictions

In early 2003 Fred Donner predicted correctly the consequences of Bush’s pre-emptive attack on Iraq. Virtually everything he predicted is coming true. Virtually everything the Bush administration predicted did not. Have a look:

The Iraq Effect

In the article The Iraq Effect: War Has Increased Terrorism Sevenfold Worldwide of MotherJones, Peter Berger and Paul Cruickshank answer the highly controversial question of how has the Iraq War affected international terrorism.

“Our study shows that the Iraq War has generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks … even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third … our study shows that the Iraq conflict has greatly increased the spread of the Al Qaeda ideological virus…
Also undermining the argument that Al Qaeda … [is] being distracted from plotting against Western targets are the dangerous, anti-American plots that have arisen since the start of the Iraq War. There have been six jihadist attacks on the home soil of the United States’ NATO allies … in the period after the invasion of Iraq, whereas there were none in the 18 months following 9/11…
…the pool of Muslims who dislike the United States has grown by hundreds of millions since the Iraq War began…
The rate of attacks in Arab countries jumped by 445 percent since the Iraq invasion, while the rate of killings rose by 783 percent….
While Iraqis make up the great bulk of the insurgents, several studies have shown that the suicide attackers in Iraq are generally foreigners…
Our study shows just how counterproductive the Iraq War has been to the war on terrorism.”

Faulty Reporting of the “Najaf Massacre” Continues to Come to Light

It is becoming increasingly apparant that the “Najaf Massacre” was falsely reported by the media, Conn Hallinan of Foreign Policy In Focus, comments in his article The Najaf Massacre: Annotated, that The New York Times “highlighted a story about a Jan. 28 ‘battle’ near the holy city of Najaf that is filled with the same sloppy reporting, inadequate research, and just plain disinformation that characterized the Times’s pre-war coverage of Iraq.”

Preparing For the Wrong Kind of War

For a several years now the U.S. military has been fighting a conflict in Iraq that it is ill-suited for. This is not a conflict where a standing army masses on an open battlefield and strives for a technological edge, yet that is exactly the kind of conflict that the U.S. military is developing and buying weapons systems for. Col. Daniel Smith, U.S. Army (Ret.) of Foreign Policy in Focus comments on this situation in The Self-Destructive Logic of War.

The Firefight in Najaf, a Massacre?

The article below, from the Independent makes the most sense of the firefight in Najaf when so many people lost their lives the other day.

US ‘victory’ against cult leader was ‘massacre’
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
Published: 31 January 2007

“There are growing suspicions that the official story of the battle outside Najaf is a fabrication.”
“A picture is beginning to emerge of a clash between an Iraqi Shia tribe on a pilgrimage to Najaf and an Iraqi army checkpoint that led the US to intervene with devastating effect.”
“The incident reportedly began when a procession of 200 pilgrims was on its way, on foot, to celebrate Ashura in Najaf.”
“Heading the procession was the chief of the tribe, Hajj Sa’ad Sa’ad Nayif al-Hatemi…”
“When they reached an Iraqi army checkpoint it opened fire, killing Mr Hatemi …”
“The tribe, fully armed because they were travelling at night, then assaulted the checkpoint to avenge their fallen chief.”
“Meanwhile, the soldiers and police at the checkpoint called up their commanders saying they were under attack from al-Qai’da…”
“Reinforcements poured in…”
“This account cannot be substantiated … [But] it would explain the disparity between the government casualties … and the great number of their opponents killed and wounded.”
“The Iraqi authorities have sealed the site and are not letting reporters talk to the wounded.”

The risks of trying to “spin” the properties of the world

Human beings have come to dominate the earth through their distinctive gift, articulate speech. It is through articulate speech that we engage with the world and each other. But when we use speech in order to conceal the properties of the world we live in, we court disaster because the world is less tractable than the conceptions we have of it. Ships can run aground. Empires can fail.

Here is how people have used articulate speech to describe Iraq in the last few days:
Dick Chaney: We have had “enormous successes” in Iraq.
Gen. William Casey: We are making “slow progress”. . . . “Today Iraqis are poised to assume responsiblity for their own security by the end of 2007, still with some level of support from us.” [Wasn’t it only a few days ago that he said it would be this summer?]
Robert Gates: There are essentially four wars going on in Iraq. One is Shia on Shia, principally in the south. The second is sectarian conflict, principally in Baghdad but not solely. Third is the insurgency, and fourth is Al Qaeda.”
2007 National Intelligence Estimate: “the term ‘civil war’ does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensvie Shia-on-Sunni violence, Al Qaeda and Sunni insurgent attacks on coalition forcdes, and widespread criminally motivated violence.”

Of these, which is engaging with the world?

Ominous Predictions for the future of Iraq: Burns and Baker

John Burn’s prediction, in an interview with Charlie Rose, for what to expect if/when the Americans leave Iraq, is frightening. Compare it with James A. Baker III’s explanation for why the first Bush administration did not try to capture Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War of 1991. Here is John Burns to Charlie Rose: “… a civil war on a scale with bloodshed that will absolutely dwarf what we’re seeing with all kinds of implications for the world’s flow of oil, for the state Israel. What happens to King Abdullah in Jordan if there’s complete chaos in the region?” Here is James A. Baker III, on the reasons the first Bush administration did not try to find Saddam Hussein in the First Gulf War: “… If Saddam were captured and his regime toppled, American forces would still have been confronted with the specter of a military occupation of indefinite duration to pacify a country and sustain a government in power. The ensuring urban warfare would surely have resulted in more casualties to American GIs than the war itself, thus creating a political firestorm at home. And as much as Saddam’s neighbors wanted to see him gone, they feared Iraq would fragment in unpredictable ways that would play into the hands of the mullahs in Iran, who could export their brand of Islamic fundamentalism with the help of Iraq’s Shiites and quickly transform themselves into a dominant regional power. Finally the Security Council resolution under which we were operating authorized us to use force only to kick Iraq out of Kuwait, nothing more. As events have amply demonstrated, these concerns were valid. I am no longer asked why we did not remove Saddam in 1991!”