End Game

Written by Chris Floyd 21 September 2005 9473 Hits

This week has seen another major -- and malevolent -- turning point in Iraq, the significance of which has gone unnoticed by the American press. The incident in Basra -- where British forces sent tanks against the city's police to rescue two undercover British agents who had  allegedly been shooting at Iraqi civilians -- has exposed the ugly reality of the situation in the supposedly quiet and quiescent Iraqi south. Basra is of course largely in the control of fundamentalist Shiite militias, some allied with Iran, others fiercely loyal to young extremist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The militias have infiltrated the region's police forces and are quickly establishing Taliban-style rule over government and society. As Juan Cole notes, "The entire episode reeks of 'dual sovereignty,' in which there are two distinct sources of government authority. Social historian Charles Tilly says that dual sovereignty signals a revolutionary situation."

Other reports underscore the alarming fact that most of Baghdad is now in the hands of insurgent factions. American forces continually stage massive military actions against "rebel" towns, dropping 500-pound bombs on residential areas, using thousands of troops, air power, armor, etc., to "clean out an area." And they succeed. But just as in Vietnam, as soon as the US forces move on, the insurgents move back and take over the town again. As one U.S. commander noted last week, "We've taken Samara four times, and lost it again four times." There is every indication that the same thing will happen to Fallujah, which was subjected to ungodly destruction late last year.

The war is lost. Three years after the invasion, the occupation forces control less and less of the country all the time. The level of wanton violence -- from all sides -- keeps rising. The physical infrastructure of the country continues to deteriorate. The social fabric is in tatters. "Reconstruction" has degenerated into outright robbery and all-pervasive graft. A piecemeal, many-sided civil war has begun. Each day of the occupation is a fresh boon to violent Islamic extremism. Each day of the occupation further brutalizes and decimates the American military, sinking it deeper into the dishonor of serving a criminal cause: the illegal, unwarranted invasion and occupation of a sovereign country, on behalf of a radical political faction that deliberately lied its way into war.

Yet there is not a national leader on either side of the Atlantic -- even in the opposition parties -- who will stand up and speak the truth about the situation. They all prattle, to one degree or another, about "staying the course" or "getting the job done" or "doing the job right." This is sheer lunacy -- the lunacy of the powerful and comfortable, who never have to face the bloody, ruinous consequences of their pious rhetoric and empty posturing. 

Simon Jenkins, late of the Times and now with the Guardian, has laid out a succinct case for withdrawal from Iraq: To say we must stay in Iraq to save it from chaos is a lie.

The whole piece is well worth reading, but here are some excerpts:

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War! What is it good for? Never-ending profits!

Written by Chris Floyd 19 September 2005 8606 Hits
We've said it before and we'll say it again and we'll keep on saying it because it is the indisputable, undeniable truth: Bush and his faction waged war on Iraq for money. That's it. That's all there is to it. Yes, they wanted leverage over the oil. Yes, they had (and have) grand geopolitical designs that "required" the invasion. Yes, they had blinkered ideologues willing to use the blood and guts of 100,000 innocent people as raw material for their lunatic experiments. But behind all of this is the unbridled lust for ill-gotten, unearned loot -- loot on an unimaginable scale, loot which will augment their political power by several magnitudes and extend their malign influence on domestic and world politics for generations.

They have ransacked the Iraqi larder and stripped it of everything they could lay their hands on. They have transferred billions upon billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars into the hands of a few well-connected cronies, secret bagmen, soulless gun-runners and elite investors with nice clean fat white hands.

It is for this reason that George W. Bush sent U.S. forces into Iraq -- illegally, in the middle of the UN weapons inspection process that he himself had insisted upon. It is for this reason that he has caused the needless deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people, that he has brutalized, traumatized, overstrained and decimated the military forces of the United States. It is for this reason that he has gutted the American treasury, criminalized the American government and tyrannized the American people.

For money. Murder, for money. Easy money, greasy money, blood money. That's all there is to it, that's what the war in Iraq is all about. Anyone who tells you different is either deluded -- or hoping to get in on the scam.

Here now is the indefatigable Patrick Cockburn of The Independent on the latest outrage in this on-going epic rapine:

What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn?
Excerpt (but read the whole thing): One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons....

The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions. Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry. Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organised suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and "rogue elements" within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes....

The [total] sum missing over an eight-month period in 2004 and 2005 is the equivalent of the $1.8bn that Saddam allegedly received in kick- backs under the UN's oil-for-food programme between 1997 and 2003.

Juan Cole has more:
Security Situation in Baghdad Sinking like the Titanic

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Enabling Act: Bush Cashes his Blank Check for Tyranny

Written by Chris Floyd 16 September 2005 13413 Hits

This is an expanded version of the column published Friday, 16 September in The Moscow Times. The Times version contains extensive annotations and sources.

Four years ago, America was hit by a terrorist attack. Three days later, Congress signed away the people's freedom, writing a blank check for tyranny to a ludicrous little man who had taken power after losing the popular vote in the most dubious election in American history. Last week, the poisonous after-effects of this abject surrender took yet another sinister turn, as Bush factotums in the courts once again upheld the Leader's arbitrary power over the life and liberty of his subjects.

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Inquisiting Minds Want to Know

Written by Chris Floyd 15 September 2005 78705 Hits

Vatican to Check U.S. Seminaries on Gay Presence (NYT)
Excerpt: "Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for "evidence of homosexuality" and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching...The Vatican document surfaces as Catholics await a Vatican ruling on whether homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood.

"In a possible indication of the ruling's contents, the American archbishop who is supervising the seminary review said last week that "anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity or has strong homosexual inclinations," should not be admitted to a seminary. Edwin O'Brien, archbishop for the United States military, told The National Catholic Register that the restriction should apply even to those who have not been sexually active for a decade or more...."

-- Well, what did you expect? Before his elevation to poposity, Josef Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith -- which is the glossy modern name given to the outfit once known as The Inquisition. He's now bringing that organization's ethos to the whole Vatican enterprise. The Lord wants nothing but virile, musky, manly men to wear the skirts of His priesthood!

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