Thursday, June 22

Running Iraq just like Saddam

In recent days Bill O'Reilly has been again named "Worse Person in the World" by his best gadfly/nemesis Keith Olberman for suggesting that America should "run Iraq the way that Saddam did" in order to bring order to the chaos in the region.

On the same night as Olbermann's rebuke O'Lielly continued his diatribe going on to argue that American is losing the war because of the ACLU, Amnesty International, The International Red Cross, President Jimmy Carter and Air America Radio who have all heavily critized the U.S. for violating Geneva Conventions and committing possible War Crimes.

Although it's easy to blow-off these comments by O'Reilly, I think his statements betray a mentality that has been at work all along - and ultimately knocks down the final piece of the "Noble Mission" canard.

We didn't go to Iraq to suppress WMD's - Saddam didn't have them and we knew it - and we didn't go to spread "democracy", not if we have to implement totalitarianism in order to do it.

We went there to project American Power, in an infantile display of dicks-man-ship - just as O'Reilly and his "Get Tough" rhetoric reveals.

Here's how O'Reilly laid it out.
O'REILLY: "Talking Points" believes the Bush administration has to stop being defensive about waging war. At this point, the new Iraqi government should declare martial law in areas controlled by insurgents. That means anyone can be arrested and shoot-on-sight curfews.

Saddam was able to control Iraq, as you know, and defeat insurgencies against him. The new Iraqi government can do the same, but it needs to get much tougher.

Let's examine for a moment how Saddam was able to defeat those insurgencies shall we? Following the first Gulf War, with his own forces essentially decimated by the air-barrage of U.S. B-52s, Saddam surrendered to U.S. led coalition forces - there was both a Shi'ite rebellion in southern Iraq and a Kurdish rebellion in the North against Saddam. His response to these insurrections was swift and brutal.

He used nerve toxin on them. Y'know - Weapons of Mass Destruction.

O'Reilly is far from alone is his view that America needs to take off the "Kid Gloves". Micheal Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Bin Laden desk has long argued for a Total War strategy against Islamic extremism.

I've found Scheuer's writing most useful for it's detailed insights into Bin Laden and Al Qaeda's over-arching strategy of prompting an American financial collapse - like that with brought the Soviet Union to an end following years of endless, fruitless battle in Afghanistan - rather than a strict military defeat. He also suggests that our best choices are to change our policies toward the Muslim world and attempt to reach-out and prove we aren't the enemy of Islam that they seem to think we are.

This makes sense, but Scheuer is a pragmatist and he realizes that this type of radical shift in strategy is highly unlikely, therefore he points out what just might be the inevitable. In his book "Imperial Hubris" he makes the following arguement.

Killing in large numbers is not enough to defeat our Muslim foes. With killing must come a Sherman-like razing of infrastructure. Roads and irrigation systems; bridges, power plants, and crops in the field, fertilizer plants and grain mills-- all these and more will need to be destroyed to deny the enemy it's support base. Land mines, moreover, will be massively reintroduced to seal borders and mountain passes too long, high, or numerous to close with U.S. soldiers. As noted such ations will yield large civilian casualties, displaced populations, and refugee flows. Again, this sort of bloody mindednes is neither admirable nor desirable, but it will remain America's only option so long as she stands by her failed policies toward the Muslim world.

Scheuer supports the doctrine of Total War and essentially idolizes Sherman, who burned an enourmous swath through the south in order to break the back of the Rebellion during our own Civil War. Tactics not unlike those used by Saddam Hussein. He argues that our efforts in Afghanistan have been "dainty" and largely ineffective -- the bulk of Taliban and Al Qaeda forces were able to easily avoid being captured or killed and have since spread worldwide, metastesizing (sp) into a Cancer that now affects Chechnya, Malaysia and has prompted the bombings of Schools, Planes (Russia), Trains (Madrid) and Subways (London).

He's not exactly a Bush fan, and is fervent against the Iraq war. But neither was a he a fan of Clinton. His biggest error in my opinion is his failure to recognize our success in Bosnia by using an overwhelmingly powerful force comprised of equal parts American, European and Russian forces against the massive confusion, chaos, ethnic cleansing of the Balkans. As well as our success against the attempted disruption and insurgency by Al Qaeda (which as documented by Richard Clarke in his book "Against All Enemies" was anticipated and thwarted).

O'Reilly and Scheuer are far from alone in their way of thinking.

O'REILLY: All right, Colonel Hunt, I think we're at a tipping point here in the Iraq war. I think if America does not stop being on the defensive, and I mean militarily and in the war of public opinion, that we gotta get out of there. We either have to fight the war and win the war, or get the hell out.

HUNT: Yeah, I totally agree. We take the gloves off. Military leaders, take the gloves off. The soldiers know what they do. Get out of the way. Politicians, get out of the way.

But of course, like all True-Blue and RED Conservatives, O'Reilly can't help but find Liberals to Blame for our sad state of affairs in Iraq.

The Bush administration also needs to begin challenging those who are helping the enemy. The ACLU, for example, opposes just about every anti-terror strategy. This organization should be exposed.

The BBC also helps the enemy by consistently slanting the Iraq war coverage and portraying the coalition as villains. The vile Air America Radio network does the same thing.

O'REILLY: All right, do you believe it's a tipping point, general?

McINERNEY: Yes, I do, Bill. And it's a tipping point in the will of the American people. We can't lose over there militarily. It's the will of the American people. And I call them "ACE" Democrats or "ACE" liberals -- aid and comforting the enemy.

O'Leilly also made the arguement that the ACLU and President Carter have hurt America by proclaiming that we torture detainees, even though America official policy is against torture. Well, sure the official policy says one thing - but apparently the Army Field Manual now says something completely different.

The problem with all of this is the very strong probability that America took the "gloves" off a long time ago. We already run Iraq just like Saddam did.

The 2004 attack on Fallujah which preceeded the first Iraqi election follows almost exactly the script that both Scheuer and O'reilly describe -- establish Marshall Law, completely disrupt the infrastrucure and oh yeah - use Chemical Weapons. (In this case, White Phosphorous, which literally melts skin).

The recent tragedy in Haditha also seems to support the contention that U.S. Forces are far from "holding back" in Iraq.

This entire line of reasoning ignores one crucial fact. We Don't Have A Large Enough Troop Footprint To Implement this kind of Strategey.

We don't have the manpower to implement Marshall Law and a "shoot on sight" curfew in Ramadi and also keep the insurgents from gaining a foothold elsewhere. The sad lessons of Fallajah and Afghanistan are that you have to cover every possible escape before you try and spring a trap. Besides that, we already have destroyed their infrastructure - and we haven't fixed it since.

As Sheuer points out the only reason America has to consider implementing overwhelming brutality and excise the Geneva Conventions fron the Army Field Manual - is because we've been dealing from a position of Bad Faith during this entire conflict. All of our justifications have been wrong. Saddam wasn't a threat to us, he didn't have WMD's, he didn't have Nukes, he wasn't tied to Al Qaeda - and he'd destroyed his WMD's in 1991 (as revealed by the Dulfer Report).

While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible Indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad's desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.

This information was provided to the Bush Administration long before the invasion by Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, and confirmed by Saddam's pre-war declaration.

If our sole reasons for getting rid of Saddam was to end the "Rape Rooms" and then our people turn around and re-use the exact same facilities for the exact same purpose - what have we managed to accomplish other than changing the guards on the doorway to hell?

Our Administration Lied about the reasons for the War from Day One.

They used Bad Faith. The only true use of military force is bring someone to the negotiating table who is otherwise unwilling, but if they simply can't trust anything you say -- we should they bother showing up no matter how much force you use? Bad Faith poisons all the waters.

I've often begun to wonder, why did Saddam hide the fact that he had destroyed his WMD stockpile? Could it have been the strong likelyhood of a renewed Kurdish and Shi'ite rebellion if they knew his primary weapon against them was disabled? Was he just buying time to reconstitute his decimated Army? And if we had Let the Inspectors Finish Their Job and reveal that Saddam was disarmed, would his worst fears have come true and the violent insurgency that is now killing our soldiers would instead have gone and captured Saddam instead? (Especially since there some indications that Kurdish forces were the ones to capture Saddam, not U.S.)

The New York Times, Amnesty International, President Carter, the ACLU and Air America Radio didn't create this situation. Bush and his neo-con supporters did.

Being willing to Use the Big Stick doesn't end the story, you have to know how to clean up the mess after you use it.

We have to change direction as both John Murtha, John Kerry and Russ Feingold have pointed out - but it's fairly unlikely that this will occuring during the Bush Administration and we can expect nothing more than further Abu Ghraib's and Haditha's for the forseeable future.


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