No Direction Home: The Debate on Withdrawal From Iraq

23 August 2005 5295 Hits
There's a very interesting debate going on right now at Informed Comment, where Juan Cole – one of the most important and indeed informed voices throughout the entire Iraqi debacle – has laid out his strong case against an immediate end to the U.S. occupation. Cole made many good points, well worth serious consideration. He has now gallantly posted a respectful but powerful rebuttal to his case, from Gilbert Achcar. The whole exchange is a good example of the kind of debate that should be taking place throughout the American power structure – not just in the blogosphere.

For what it's worth, my take on the withdrawal question is below. It's a column I wrote around Easter 2004, and I've seen nothing to make me change my stance since then.

No Direction Home: The Red Wheel of War Crime Keeps Rolling
(Excerpts):
As the red wheel of Operation Iraqi FUBAR continues to roll, spewing hundreds of corpses in its wake, it becomes clearer by the hour that there is only one way for America to end this stomach-churning nightmare it has created: get out.

That's it. The occupying armies – including Bush's 20,000 corporate mercenaries – should leave now. They should never have been sent in the first place on this ghoul's errand: a war of aggression, a mission of murder and plunder – the perversion of every enlightened value of the civilization that the Coalition's "Christian leaders" purport to defend….

Their chest-beating pronouncements about "staying the course" and "seeing it through" are just so much rag-chewing nonsense. The way to rectify a crime is not to keep doing it – or in John Kerry's ludicrous formulations, to keep doing it in some different, "better" way – but simply to stop doing it. The illegal invasion was a crime, the occupation is a crime, and if you would not be a criminal, you must stop committing crimes

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Inside Information

23 August 2005 3325 Hits
Jonathan Scharwz tells "A Funny Little Story About the Media" -- and reveals a mountain of truth about the way the American Establishment really operates in this remarkable post on his excellent blog. (And for laughs -- albeit the bitter laugh of painful truth -- check out this earlier posting: We Must Protect Our Precious Creek-Based Fluids. The title alone is worth the price of admission.) We won't excerpt the media story here; you should read the whole thing. Add a comment
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A Crime Without Punishment

20 August 2005 5260 Hits

 Alain Gresh lays out "the most glaring scandal of them all" regarding the UN "oil-for-food" program in Iraq. Some excerpts, from The Guardian:

But no committee of inquiry has been set up to investigate the most glaring scandal of all: the imposition of sanctions on Iraq in August 1990 and above all their maintenance after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. These have had devastating consequences on the country and will be a burden on it for a very long time to come. While the media frequently drew attention to Iraq's difficulties in obtaining food and medical supplies - even after the start of the oil-for-food programme in 1996 - they neglected the effect sanctions had on Iraqi society.

Despite the inventiveness of Iraqi engineers, the state's infrastructure crumbled. Basic services, ministries, power stations and drinking water all became precarious. Corruption spread throughout society. Crime exploded. The inhabitants of Baghdad, who had never bothered to lock their doors, now barricaded their homes. When the US invaded, Iraq needed only a little push for the worm-eaten state to collapse.

Sanctions also affected the structure of the population. Middle-class emigration, which had begun before 1991 as people fled the dictatorship, accelerated. Iraq was emptied of its managers and administrators. The education system, which had catered for all the country's young, was abandoned. Children left school to work and help their families, resulting in a generation of quasi-illiterates. Academic links with other countries were severed. Iraq fell 15 years behind and is not about to catch up.

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Duck Soup: From Quagmire to Nightmare

Written by Chris Floyd 19 August 2005 2627 Hits
Originally published in the Aug. 19 edition of The Moscow Times.

  Now is the summer of discontent for President George W. Bush, a man beset on every side -- by a failing war and falling popularity, by scandal, suspicion and rising hostility, even in the red-state heartlands. With each passing day of his long vacation in the Texas wastes, his presidency is shrinking palpably before our eyes, his wildly inflated public image shrivelling like a punctured balloon.

The fountainhead of his trouble, of course, is the murderous quagmire he has created in Iraq. Some say he has no exit strategy, no way to escape the corrosive effects of this gargantuan disaster, which is draining his support and destroying the aura of the all-conquering "war leader" that he has used to impose his radical right-wing agenda on the country. The tide has turned against him at last, some say; he's a lame duck crashing to the ground.

But those writing Bush's political obituary have "misunderestimated" him once again. For it's becoming increasingly clear that Bush does have an exit strategy from Iraq -- and it runs through Iran.
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The Secret Sharers: A Bargain With Evil

17 August 2005 5034 Hits
What would you call people who paid sadistic torturers for the information they had gleaned from macabre medical experiments on their helpless captives – and then used these evil findings to make biological weapons?

Why, you'd call them members of "the greatest generation," of course!

As we learn from ABC News (Australia) this week, the American victors in World War II "gave money and other benefits to former members of a Japanese germ warfare unit two years after the end of World War II to obtain data on human experiments the unit conducted in China."

U.S. military intelligence showered millions of dollars on these Mengeles – along with "food, gifts, entertainment and other kinds of rewards" (emphasis added). One shudders to think what this unnamed largesse entailed – "comfort women," perhaps? It seems nothing was too good for these "top-flight pathologists" who murdered more than 3,000 Chinese, Russians and others in their torture chambers.
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Site Credits

17 August 2005 9621 Hits

Chris and I (Richard) would like to thank all the following volunteers and 'mambers' of the dynamic Mambo Community. These people have voluntarily spent  countless hours coding -  in order to build us all a better product.

THANK YOU!

{moscredits}

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The Secret Sharers: The CIA, the Bush Gang and the Killing of Frank Olson

16 August 2005 2909 Hits
The Secret Sharers:
The CIA, the Bush Gang and the Killing of Frank Olson
(Original version first published in two parts in the Moscow Times, August-September 2002.)

Part One: The Past is Prologue
There is a thread running through modern American history, a thin red cord that weaves in and out of the shifting facades of reason and respectability that mask the brutal machinery of power. At certain rare moments the thread flashes into sight, emerging from the chaotic jumble of unbearable truth and life-giving illusion that makes up human reality. It appears, bears witness, then vanishes again, forgotten behind the next facade.

It's a thread that runs from horrified young intelligence operatives stumbling into the death camps of Nazi Germany to hardened agents running assassination programs in the jungles of Vietnam to august men of state building a shadow government with secret decrees authorizing tyranny, murder, torture and deceit. It's a thread of moral corruption, corruption by an idea, a temptation, a perversion of reason, the whisper of evil that says: "The end justifies the means."

That thread fetched up briefly again earlier this month, then was buried, literally, in a Maryland grave. The family of Frank Olson laid his exhumed remains to rest, closing the book on their half-century of struggle to find out why he died so violently at the hands of the government he had served – and whose deepest secrets he had guarded.

Frank's son, Eric, believes he knows the answer now: his father was murdered to  keep the thread from sight, to "protect" the American people from the knowledge that their own government had taken up and extended Nazi experiments on mind control, psychological torture and chemical warfare – and that it was conducting these experiments as the Nazis did, on unwilling subjects, on captives and "expendables," even to the point of "termination."
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