Chum to the Slaughter: Bush Baits Iranians With New Border Base

(UPDATED BELOW.)

With the media's attention focused on the Petraeus pony show and the sudden reappearance of the dread pirate Blackbeard Laden, the Bush Administration is quietly taking yet another step toward a war with Iran -- and using the lives of 200 U.S. soldiers as so much bloody chum to bait the Tehran shark.


The U.S. military announced yesterday that it is building a new base on the Iraq-Iran border, the BBC reports. Ostensibly designed to stop arms smuggling from Iran, the base will have only 200 soldiers on hand to monitor 125 miles of open frontier in the region. Since such a puny deployment cannot seriously be designed to interdict the alleged "flood" of arms pouring in from Iran, one must assume the base has some other purpose: perhaps to serve as a tempting, isolated target for some "new Pearl Harbor" strike by those invisible Iranian Revolutionary Guard units which the Bushists now claim are brazenly operating on Iraqi soil, or by those "Tehran-backed" terrorists who also double as American-trained Iraqi security forces, or maybe by a German political prisoner dressed up in a Polish Army uniform or something.

The base would also be a prime focus of any revenge attacks by Iranian forces following the planned U.S. bombing attacks on nuclear power facilities and other targets in Iran. It would be easy enough for enraged Iranian military units to swoop down on the small base just across the border -- thus giving the Bushists the "justification" for expanding its "limited" strike on the Tehran regime.

And putting these deep-revolving plots aside for the moment, at the very least the soldiers are obviously being jammed up against the border in order to prove the "seriousness" of the Administration's increasingly hysterical charges of direct Iranian involvement in the Iraqi insurgency. Their lives are being put at risk for PR purposes, in furtherance of a long-range loot-and-dominance agenda that has nothing to do with the actual situation in Iraq.

But of course, this has been the case for every American soldier sent to fight -- and kill, and die -- in Bush's war of aggression. To George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, and, as must now be apparent, David H. Petraeus, all of these soldiers are nothing but chum, nothing but trash-bits of blood, bone and fat, to be used as bait in the filthy currents where these elitists seek power and glory.

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UPDATE: And what is the "actual situation in Iraq" referred to above? While Dave "PR" Petraeus has been "testifying" (without taking an oath to tell the truth) on Capitol Hill, the Independent's Kim Sengupta has been taking testimony about the surge's "major progress" from Baghdad's streets. In its plain presentation of facts from an ordinary day in the real Iraq, it is a thoroughly damning refutation of the morally obscene carnival in Washington this week. Here are some excerpts:

By the time General Petraeus had finished speaking yesterday the slaughter in Iraq for the previous 24 hours could be tallied. It was not an exceptionally violent day by the standards of Iraq: seven US soldiers lay dead and 11 injured in the capital; other instances of sectarian violence included a suicide bomb which had killed 10 and wounded scores near Mosul while 10 bodies were found in Baghdad. Three policemen were killed in clashes in Mosul, and a car bomb outside a hospital in the capital had exploded, killing two and wounding six.

In Baghdad, on the surface the overt violence appears to have diminished. There are fewer loud explosions. But, the city is now being partitioned by sectarian hatred and fear; by concrete walls and barbed wire. Claims that the US military strategy is paving the way for a stable society bear little resemblance to the reality on the ground.

The US is accused of manipulating figures relating to violence to fit their case, ignoring evidence which shows that the influx of 30,000 troops has done little to end the continuing bloodshed.

The death of Omar al-Husseini in the Huriya district of Baghdad is one of many which does not even figure in the American reckoning. His killers, masked and carrying guns, dragged him away as his mother wept and his father pleaded for mercy. That was the last time they saw their son alive. Three weeks later they heard that he had been killed.

Omar was 20. His killers were Shia, he was a Sunni, the victim of a spree of murders which has ethnically cleansed neighbourhoods through the city. But both the US military and the Iraqi police have told his parents that as far as they are concerned the abduction and killings were purely criminal acts. This means, statistically, that his death is not included by the US in the calculations for sectarian killings produced yesterday.

The causes behind the daily death toll, if addressed at all, draw conflicting accounts. Mourners carried the coffin of a young mother along the streets of Sadr City yesterday. She had been killed, said the locals, along with her two daughters when US and Iraqi government forces had stormed four homes. The US military confirmed they had exchanged small-arms fire during the operation, but insisted they had no reports of civilian casualties. Also yesterday, attendants at the Baghdad morgue did their round of collecting bodies, nameless victims of faceless killers.

Omar's father, 48-year-old Barzan, said the attack on his son came after the Mehdi Army, a Shia militia, declared that they must leave their home. " We were going to leave, we did not want any trouble. We had very excellent relations with our Shia neighbours, but they could not do anything to help us ", he said. "They [the Mehdi Army] were also saying that my two sons were involved with the insurgents. That was not true, they had nothing to do with politics. Mohammed was away when they came, but Omar was there and they took him away and shot him. The police and the Americans say he was an Ali Baba [thief] and this killing was something to do with that. But everyone knows why he died, it is because we are Sunnis."

Barzan had fled with his family to the Khadrah district where he found refuge with his cousin. They could not watch much of General Pertraeus's address on satellite TV because of a power cut. Four years after the war, electricity supply in the city has dwindled to one hour a day.

Not far away from Barzan's new home are other houses, some with singe marks on doors and windows, properties of Shia who had been terrorised and driven out the other way. The walls being put up by US contractors at a record speed are formalising this break-up of Baghdad along sectarian lines. Militias rule the roost in the newly created ghettos; armed young men with sunglasses manning checkpoints, collecting levies from passing traffic, and meting out their own justice to victims who would never make the calculations on the effects of the surge.

The Americans at first welcomed the forming of the vigilante groups, calling them "guardians"; in some areas this was described as part of the " Sunni awakening", away from the insurgency. But this began to be tempered after tales of extortion began to surface, and now some have been arrested for "suspected al-Qa'ida ties".
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