Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL)
The War on Iraq was the start of the Peak Oil Wars
"While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
-- Project for the New American Century (PNAC), Rebuilding America's Defenses, September 2000
it wasn't a good idea badly done (the neocons' last refuge--"Blame it all on Rumsfeld"), but a bad idea badly done. And it would take perhaps superhuman courage to say: "And now we should withdraw and pay reparations to this poor country."
-- Brian Eno, musician
This site is NOT an effort to track all of the details of the War on Iraq - there are plenty of news sources that accomplish that. Instead, OilEmpire.US focuses on understanding how the United States public was tricked into supporting the war (9/11 was the key part of this campaign) and why the war was so wanted by the Empire (to control the Middle East oil supplies as the world passes the point of Peak Oil). While it is nice to see much of the American public opinion sour on the war, these understandings are not as widespread, or how partition of Iraq (and other oil exporting countries around the Gulf) is the ultimate goal of the Oil Empire. Turning off the Iraq war would require widespread understanding of these "inconvenient truths" that led to impeachment of the Cheney-Bush regime and an international war crimes tribunal that prosecuted the crimes in New York and Baghdad.
Iraq refugee: 'I feel disaster' as crisis grows
POSTED: 2:18 p.m. EST, March 7, 2007
... The United Nations estimates 700,000 Iraqis have fled to Jordan -- more than one-tenth the entire kingdom's population. As many as 1 million more Iraqis are estimated to have sought refuge in Syria, about 120,000 are in Egypt and 40,000 in Lebanon, according to the United Nations. (Watch Iraqis tell their stories )
Inside Iraq, another 1 million to 2 million people have been forced out of their homes as a result of the violence, according to the United Nations. About 26 million people live in Iraq.
|Words of Caution|
The people. . .have been led. . into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with honor and dignity. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse that we have been told, administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our . . . record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are today not far from a disaster
-- TE Lawrence, Sunday Times, London, 1920
"Had we gone the invasion route, the US could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."
-- George H. W. Bush, "A World Transformed," 1998 memoir
(explaining why the US did not occupy Iraq in the 1991 "Desert Storm" war)
"You'll see the celebrations and we will be happy Saddam has gone," one of them said to me. "But we will then want to rid ourselves of the Americans and we will want to keep our oil and there will be resistance and then they will call us "terrorists" ....
But winning a war is one thing. Succeeding in the ideological and economic project that lies behind this whole war is quite another. The "real" story for America's mastery over the Arab world starts now.
-- Robert Fisk, The Independent, UK 10 April 2003
"Let's all forget this word "insurgency". It's one of the most misleading words of all. Insurgency assumes that we had gone to Iraq and won the war and a group of disgruntled people began to operate against us and we then had to do counter-action against them. That would be an insurgency. We are fighting the people we started the war against. We are fighting the Ba'athists plus nationalists. We are fighting the very people that started - they only choose to fight in different time spans than we want them to, in different places. We took Baghdad easily. It wasn't because be won. We took Baghdad because they pulled back and let us take it and decided to fight a war that had been pre-planned that they're very actively fighting."
-- Sy Hersh, "We've Been Taken Over By a Cult" Jan. 26, 2005
"If you're going to go in and try to topple Saddam Hussein,you have to go to Baghdad. Once you've got Baghdad, it's not clear what you do with it. It's not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that's currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists?
How much credibility is that government going to have if it's set up by the United States military when it's there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens to it once we leave?"
-- Dick Cheney, 1991
pyrrhic victory [Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who sustained heavy losses in defeating the Romans] (entered English language in1885): a victory won at excessive cost (Webster's 9th New Collegiate Dictionary)
Winning is the easy part. President Bush may easily win Gulf War II, but lose the peace. The hard nut to crack will not be resistance from Saddam's followers, but resistance from his opponents. Like in the Philippines a century ago, the U.S. has arrived to "liberate" a people from tyrannical rule, but may ultimately find itself as an imperial power fighting the democratic rebels it had come to support.
www.tompaine.com/features/2001/10/11/2.html (October 2001)
"Many of us still don't recognize that the 'new war' most Americans support as a just campaign to wipe out a band of evil terrorists may morph quickly into a war to control the oil fields dominated by Iraq and the Saudis."
[in aug 2002 this turned out to be an accurate prediction, as the Regime leaked a Pentagon briefing that threatened the Saudis with seizure of their oil fields]
Famous spy novelist John le Carré, in an essay entitled, “The United States of America Has Gone Mad,” says “The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded.” He also comments, “How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America's anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history.” [Times of London, 1/15/03] - thanks to Center for Cooperative Research for the quote
|Elites drop support for the Iraq war (sort of)|
Many establishment critics of the war merely object to the US casualty toll, although the number of Iraqis casualties is probably 200 times greater than the number of US deaths.
The Iraq Study Group Report
US Institute of Peace - Iraq Study Group official site
1 January 2007
American Leaders Promise More Pain
Democrats, Republicans, CEOs, Generals United
By John Stanton
Posted by Daveparts in Editorials & Other Articles
Sat Jan 06th 2007, 04:38 PM
Harry Truman once said, the only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know yet. I guess following that logic President Bush sees new things everyday! His argument that we must stay the course in Iraq while the generals talk about pulling back sounds a strangely reminiscent echo down the corridors of history. Then as now the goal is was control of oil fields, Hitler told General Paulus, If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must end this war. Located to the southeast of Stalingrad these Caucasus oil fields were the prime German target for 1942. The capture of Stalingrade would give the
Germans control of the Volga and anchor their front behind the Caspian Sea.
In this fateful summer campaign the Germans were faced with tough choices should they deliver their main blow towards the Caucus oil fields and return to a push later for Stalingrad? Sixty years later another ill-tempered leader would ponder a similar type of question would the central blow fall on Iraq or take care of Afghanistan? The Germans divided their forces, and they like we didn’t have enough troops available for both objectives. The Maikop oil fields were captured and found utterly destroyed. US troops captured Iraqi army headquarters in Baghdad and found it utterly destroyed. The Germans would get no oil and the Americans would get no information about the Iraqi army. Without this information the Iraqi army would be able to vaporize before them like a mirage in the Arabian Desert.
Goebbel's 1943 speech after Stalingrad on the need for "Total War"
If you substitute Muslim for Jew in this speech, parts of it sound similar to the propaganda for the so-called "surge" (aka escalation) of US troops in Iraq.
Published on Thursday, March 9, 2006 by Nieman Watchdog
Iraq Through the Prism of Vietnam
by William E. Odom
Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute and a professor at Yale University. He was Director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988. From 1981 to 1985, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army's senior intelligence officer. From 1977 to 1981, he was Military Assistant to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Former CIA analyst: US ‘conned into war’
Robert Baer charges that the American-led invasion is a ‘dire mistake’
BEIRUT: Middle East expert and former Central Intelligence Agency officer Robert Baer has charged that the American-led war in Iraq is a dire mistake based on false assumptions and faulty information, but that President George W. Bush cannot stop now and leave Saddam Hussein in power after the long emotional and political buildup to the war.
|Downing Street memos prove peace movement was right to oppose War on Iraq|
The reason the Downing Street memos are not causing a politically significant wave of popular outrage is because everyone already did understand. The documents simply confirm in embarrassingly concrete terms the story that Scott Ritter and Joe Wilson and others have been telling us since 2002. If you’re outraged now, it’s because you’re pretending not to have known this all along. At this point it’s impossible to be shocked that a cadre of sociopathic Dominionist oilmen planned a racist war against a starved people floating on a sea of hydrocarbons. What’s shocking is that we can have the very minutes of the meetings become public without any consequences for the perpetrators. That means there is no legal infrastructure, no institution of jurisprudence that can inflict so much as a flea-bite on the tyrant’s finger.
Once you know about Abu Ghraib and Bagram AFB, you can’t be shocked by Guantanamo; it’s all one continuous horror and the shocking thing is that we continue to believe that the military – by which I mean the defense corporations and the top ranks of the armed services – doesn’t run the country. Sure, the American skin game is older than Theodore Roosevelt’s adventure in the Philippines – but there was also a military coup d’etat in the U.S. in 1963, and the perpetrators and their protégées are still in power. All these brutal police actions are somehow exceptions to the rule, aberrant blunders against a backdrop of benevolent lawfulness? No way.
- Jamey Hecht
Today is May 25, 2005
20 days since congressional request for investigation.
The Downing Street "Memo" is actually a document containing meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002 - a full eight months PRIOR to the iinvasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html>The Times of London printed the text of this document on Sunday, May 1, 2005, but to date US media coverage has been limited. This site is intended to act as a resource for anyone who wants to understand the facts revealed in this document.
The contents of the memo are shocking. The minutes detail how our government <http://downingstreetmemo.com/memo.html#capability>did not believe Iraq was a greater threat than other nations; how intelligence was <http://downingstreetmemo.com/memo.html#fixed>"fixed" to sell the case for war to the American public; and how the Bush administration's public assurances of <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/11/20021112-5.html>"war as a last resort" were at odds with their privately stated intentions.
When asked, British officials <http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/11/britain.war.memo/>"did not dispute the document's authenticity." and a senior American official has described it as <http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-uswmd074251820may09,0,7225183.story?coll=ny-uspolitics-headlines>"absolutely accurate." Yet the Bush administration continues to simultaneously sidestep the issue while attempting to cast doubt on the memo's authenticity.
Nobody wants to go to war. We trust our leaders to shed blood in our name only when absolutely necessary. But the facts revealed by the Downing Street Memo force us to ask ourselves: Was I misled? Did President Bush tell me the truth when he said he would not take us to war unless absolutely necessary?
More than two years after the start of the Iraq War, Americans are just learning that our government was dead set on invasion, even while it claimed to be pursuing diplomacy. <http://downingstreetmemo.com/takeaction.html>Please join us in demanding that we get to the bottom of this issue
<http://downingstreetmemo.com/imagebank.html>Go here for images to use in linking to this site
<http://www.downingstreetmemo.com/>www.downingstreetmemo.com was created by concerned citizens seeking
truth and transparency from their government.
We do not represent and are not supported by any particular organization or political party.
"You won't have any problem with Saddam. We'll be rid of the bastard soon enough. And in his place we'll install a pro-Western dictator, who will be good for us and for you."
-- Congressman Tom Lantos, in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, September 30, 2002 (www.insanereagan.com)
WAS BUSH'S TURKEY BREAKFAST IN BAGHDAD AIMED AT HILLARY CLINTON?
By Harvey Wasserman
The embedded corporate media is still crowing over the details of George W.
Bush's Thanksgiving flight to Baghdad. The Shrub spinmeisters have branded it
a "home run."
But the global image of the smirking Texan carrying that turkey on a tray
will now join the "greatest hits" album headlined by Bush's "Mission
Accomplished" shot on the USS Lincoln, since which more than 100 US soldiers have died...
Read more at http://freepress.org or http://www.freepress.org/columns.php?strFunc=display&strID=794&strYear=2003&strAuthor=7
Monday, November 24, 2003
Apart from the fact that the Iraqis are able to send missiles at will into hotels and government buildings in Baghdad (some fired from donkey carts) as if there is no American occupation, they've probably shot down another helicopter, they've winged a transport plane with two missile hits (one of these days they'll take down a plane full of American troops and we'll have another Beirut), they're killing large numbers of Iraqi collaborators with almost a bomb a day, and they've gone 'Somalia' on some American troops and their subsequently lifeless bodies with the aid of some concrete blocks, as that is the traditional way for Iraqis to show affection for their 'liberators' (Brigadier General Kimmitt said, in response to a question about whether the American soldiers had their throats slit: "We will not be ghoulish about this"), and apart from the fact that Americans are actually dropping bombs on parts of Baghdad (!!!), which I guess is ok as nobody lives in Baghdad, and apart from the fact that the electrical supply of Baghdad, reconstructed with aching slowness by Bremer of Baghdad and unveiled with great fanfare as a victory of the Coalition Provisional Authority, has now suddenly and mysteriously reverted to its state just after the attack (I've noticed all the Baghdad bloggers complaining about it), and apart from the almost unnoticed fact that the northern Iraqi oil pipelines are under a state of virtual siege (or here) to the extent that oil is no longer moving and refineries are no longer operating (conspiracy theorists should note that the destruction of northern pipelines is leading to arguments that the old pipeline to Israel should be reopened, leading one to wonder who actually is behind the sabotage) - apart from all these things and the daily deaths of American and 'coalition' troops and Iraqi civilians; and the war crimes being committed by the American military; and the suffering of the thousands of Iraqi POW's; and the impoverishment of the hundreds of thousands of unemployed Iraqi Army soldiers dismissed by Bremer of Baghdad in what he admits was a mistake, but not so much of a mistake that he would not repeat it by firing 28,000 school teachers; and the rape of the country by the American corporados; and the billions of dollars being wasted; and the encouragement to international terrorism caused by the new holy war in Iraq which has reinvigorated al-Qaeda - everything is going reasonably well in Iraq.
Iraqi Death Toll, Health Perils Assessed by Medical Group
Tue Nov 11, 9:22 AM ET
Jim Lobe, OneWorld US
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov 11 (OneWorld) -- Between 21,000 and 55,000 people have died as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, according to a new report that also warned of rapidly deteriorating health conditions for those who survived.
London-based Medact, the British affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), concluded that the war's continuing impact--particularly the failure of occupation authorities to ensure security-- has resulted in a further deterioration of the Iraqi population's health status. IPPNW's U.S. affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility, joined in the report's release Tuesday. The report's funding was provided by Oxfam and the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation.
"The health of the Iraqi people is generally worse than before the war," according to an executive summary of the 12-report, which noted that the state of health in Iraq was already poor by international standards. It said women and children were particularly at risk due to the breakdown in law and order and damage to infrastructure and that women were also being affected by the emergence of religious conservatism after the war.
The numbers game
Calpundit has been following the debate surrounding how many people actually showed up to watch the statue fall over in Baghdad last week. His conclusion seems about right to me:
The size of the crowd in the CNN shot looks to me to be around 200-300 people, some of whom are American soldiers. The major media coverage, therefore, still strikes me as deceptive, clearly giving the impression of a hug mob of joyous Iraqis in central Baghdad when in fact it was a fairly modest gathering, especially for an hour-long event in a city of 5 million.
In light of all the rightwing/pro-war mockery of anti-war protests in the lead up to the invasion, and given the lengths to which some of them went to establish that far fewer showed up for those protests than was claimed, and the relentless attempt to say that whatever the numbers were they didn't represent anything that could rightly be called "popular opinion", it is interesting how relatively little rightwing interest has been shown in the crowd size in Baghdad and how willing many of them have been to accept that, whatever the actual number, the crowd in Baghdad was an accurate representation of Iraqi public opinion, not only indicating joy at the toppling of Saddam's regime but of goodwill in general towards the US-led war.
Weapons of Mass Destruction and Deception in Iraq
In the days leading up to the American assault on Iraq, antiwar pundits were on the lookout for a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident that would serve Rummy and the gang as a viable pretext. But what the rapid escalation of this war is showing is that the Iraq attack was it. This is the pretext for a wider war, one that started in Baghdad. We may wind up in Cairo before we're through.
"ON THE MIDDLE EAST ESCALATOR: This war is spreading fast" by Justin Raimondo March 31, 2003
The Russian government publicly announced that it expects the Americans to plant weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to justify the excuse used to invade Iraq. The Russians said that they will believe no such American claim without independent international inspection. What kind of cooperation can a country so distrusted expect?
The U.S. invasion of Iraq is a strategic blunder, the costs of which will mount over the next half century. If there is to be a silver lining to this military adventure, perhaps it will be the realization among the American public that the neoconservative agenda of conquest of the Muslim Middle East is beyond our available strength, thus diverting America from a disastrous course, which would consume our blood and treasure.
(a conservative web site / news source)
Thursday February 19, 2004 1:13 PM
British soldiers kicked and punched hooded Iraqi prisoners
British soldiers in Iraq kicked and punched hooded prisoners as they screamed for mercy, a witness to an incident in which one Iraqi detainee was allegedly beaten to death was quoted as saying.
The serving British soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Thursday's edition of The Sun newspaper he had been "sick to his stomach" after witnessing the beatings in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
Britain's defence ministry said earlier this month that it was investigating the death of an Iraqi prisoner while in British custody following reports that he had been beaten to death.
According to The Sun, the dead man was among nine Iraqis held by the Queen's Lancashire Regiment on suspicion of being bandits last September, just a few weeks after the regiment lost one of its number to a roadside bomb.
The unnamed soldier said that when he visited the British base's cell block he saw the prisoners stretched out or kneeling with hoods over their heads.
"Some of the lads were just coming up, booting them in the stomach and punching them," he told the paper.
"The moans and groans were going on for ages. The prisoners were pleading: 'Please stop, please stop.'"
The beatings continued over two days, with a number of British troops shouting racist abuse at the prisoners -- who were prevented from sleeping or lying down -- as they kicked, punched and slapped them, the soldier said.
The soldier, who added that maltreatment of Iraqi prisoners was common, said he saw the dead prisoner after his hood had been pulled off.
"He had a big, swollen black eye, his nose was broken and it looked like his jaw had been dislocated. His face was bloody," the paper quoted him as saying.
"I feel sick to my stomach that I didn't do anything to save them, as I'm sure other people do," he said.
"It's something we will have to live with."
Earlier this month the Ministry of Defence said that British military police were investigating the death of the prisoner, which "inevitably will take time".
US troops accused of carnage
April 16 2003
Thanks - now get out ... an anti-American protest in Baghdad.P
United States troops opened fire on a crowd hostile to the new pro-American governor in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul yesterday, killing at least 10 people and injuring as many as 100, witnesses and doctors said.
The shooting overshadowed the start of US-brokered talks aimed at sketching out a post-Saddam Iraq.
At Mosul hospital Dr Ayad al-Ramadhani said the American soldiers had fired into a crowd that was becoming increasingly hostile towards governor Mashaan al-Juburi as he was making a pro-US speech in the city.
But a US miltary spokesman said the troops had come under fire from at least two gunmen and fired back, but did not aim at the crowd.
"There are perhaps 100 wounded and 10 to 12 dead," Dr al-Ramadhani said as angry relatives of the dead and wounded voiced hatred of Americans and Westerners.
One witness, Marwan Mohammed, 50, said: "We were at the market place near the government building, where Juburi was making a speech. He said everything would be restored, water, electricity, and that democracy was the Americans.
"As for the Americans, they were going through the crowd with their flag. They placed themselves between the civilians and the building. The people moved toward the government building, the children threw stones, the Americans started firing. Then they prevented the people from recovering the bodies."
A doctor, Said Altah, said: "Juburi said the people must co-operate with the United States. The crowd called him a liar, and tempers rose as he continued to talk. They threw objects at him, overturned his car, which exploded. The wounded said Juburi asked the Americans to fire."
Ayad Hassun said the trouble broke out after the crowd interrupted Mr Juburi's speech with cries of, "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet."
"You are with Saddam's fedayeen," retorted Mr Juburi, to which the crowd chanted that, "The only democracy is to make the Americans leave."
He said 20 US soldiers escorted Mr Juburi back into the building. "They climbed on top of the building and first fired at a building near the crowd, with the glass falling on the civilians. People started to throw stones, then the Americans fired at them."
But the US spokesman said: "There were protesters outside, 100 to 150, there was fire, we returned fire. We didn't fire at the crowd, but at the top of the building. There were at least two gunmen. I don't know if they were killed. The firing was not intensive but sporadic, and lasted up to two minutes."
At the US-sponsored talks near the southern city of Nasiriyah, crowds earlier denounced the US presence in Iraq.
Thousands protested that they did not need US help now Saddam Hussein had gone. "No to America. No to Saddam," chanted Iraqis from the Shia Muslim majority oppressed by Saddam. Arabic television networks said up to 20,000 people marched.
In Baghdad, meanwhile, hundreds of people chanting "our blood and our soul we give to Iraq" gathered outside the Palestine Hotel in protest against the US presence. The hotel now houses US military and reporters.
Australia came in for criticism at the Nasiriyah conference when one delegate, Sheik Sayed Jamaluddin, hit out at the detention of Iraqi asylum seekers.
After thanking the US and Britain for liberating Iraqis from Saddam, the Shiite cleric said: "I call on the representatives of the Australian Government to ask the Government to accept the human rights of those Iraqis who are held prisoner in some capacity in Iraq [viz] that they might be treated in a humane fashion."
The talks ended on yesterday with an agreement to meet again in 10 days. Jay Garner, the former US general leading the effort to rebuild Iraq, opened the conference, saying: "A free and democratic Iraq will begin today."
Operation Iraqi Liberation
On the subject of restoring order, it is a tad disturbing to see what the source of that order is. In Baghdad they are using former members of the Ba'athist regime as policemen.
This is almost breathtaking: in the name of "order" the US is propping up members of the very regime they said it was imperative to remove. But it's okay, as a US officer explained:
Major David Cooper, said: "An awful lot of these people were police officers first and Ba'athists second. If we can identify those who were not hardline Ba'athists but are hardline Iraqi policemen, we can use them to maintain order. The first thing is to find out who they are and then see if we can work with them. We are not going to put war criminals in positions of authority."
Well, good. Just as long we are only supporting the good police officer part of their personality and not the bad dictatorial regime part of it.
I know it's way too much to ask, but do you think that those who continue to insist that being anti-war made you by defintion pro-Ba'athist could cease and desist at least until such time that the conquering forces stop providing aid and comfort to Saddam's henchmen by reinstating them to positions of power?
Where Now, America? by Ramzi Kysia - April 12, 2003 http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0412-11.htm
The scenes flicker faster: Baghdad's skyline filled with collapsed buildings bellowing plumes of dirty smoke. Massive looting in Umm Qasr, in Nassirya, in Basra. The Damascus-line bus bombings. The Hilla City cluster bombing. Revenge killings. Suicide bombings. U.S. soldiers executing entire families out of fear. Al-Jazeera's offices bombed. Abu Dhabi TV's offices bombed. Reuters bombed. The Red Cross announcing that Baghdad's hospitals are overrun with more than 100 casualties arriving every hour. Over 1 million people in Basra without water for a week, then for two weeks, then...
A dog and pony show in Paradise Park briefly interrupts the panorama: flanked by American tanks and soldiers, surrounded by absolutely empty streets, in a city of five million, two or three hundred Iraqis dance and cheer as Americans pull down a statue of Saddam: Baghdad is liberated! The tanks quickly move to guard the Ministry of Oil, as all other government buildings are looted and destroyed. UN buildings are looted, Red Cross headquarters looted, stores looted, schools looted, museums looted - al-Kindi hospital stripped bare.
Bay of Pigs Meets Black Hawk Down
By Robert Parry
March 30, 2003
Whatever happens in the weeks ahead, George W. Bush has “lost” the war in Iraq. The only question now is how big a price America will pay, both in terms of battlefield casualties and political hatred swelling around the world.
That is the view slowly dawning on U.S. military analysts, who privately are asking whether the cost of ousting Saddam Hussein has grown so large that “victory” will constitute a strategic defeat of historic proportions. At best, even assuming Saddam’s ouster, the Bush administration may be looking at an indefinite period of governing something akin to a California-size Gaza Strip.
The chilling realization is spreading in Washington that Bush’s Iraqi debacle may be the mother of all presidential miscalculations – an extraordinary blend of Bay of Pigs-style wishful thinking with a “Black Hawk Down” reliance on special operations to wipe out enemy leaders as a short-cut to victory. But the magnitude of the Iraq disaster could be far worse than either the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba in 1961 or the bloody miscalculations in Somalia in 1993.
In Umm Qasr, Fears of a Second Bush Betrayal are Fuelled by Bitter Memories
By Andrew Buncombe Independent UK Tuesday 1 April 2003 http://truthout.org/docs_03/040303G.shtml
The petrol queue was long and Mahmood was keen to explain the fears that Iraqis feel over the arrival of Americans and British troops.
Mahmood's brother owns the petrol station, an important position in a town where there has been no fuel delivery since the war began, and he led the way into the office in Umm Qasr. The concern of Mahmood and the other men gathered there was straightforward. They had been in this position before and it had cost them dearly. After the 1991 Gulf War, with Saddam Hussein's forces beaten, George Bush Snr, father of the current President, urged the largely Shia population of south-eastern Iraq to rise up and seek their freedom. When they did, America and Britain failed to support them and the Iraq regime ruthlessly suppressed the rebels. In this region the bitter memory of that betrayal still burns.
"People are very frightened," said Mahmood. "They think the Americans and British will go and then the Iraqi regime will come back. People are frightened to say anything.'' This is a serious obstacle for British and American forces as they pursue their "hearts and minds" operation to persuade civilians that the US-led war may bring them some good.
Major Paul Stanley, of the British Army's civil affairs group, leads a 120-strong team trying to establish local government in the town and surrounding areas. The problem, he said, was that President Saddam's Baath Party had infiltrated every level of daily life, and it was virtually impossible to exclude people formerly associated with the party. "Anyone who comes forward [to help us] has to have a leap of faith and realise that we are here to stay and that the regime is gone," he said. "I would say that those people who have come forward are very brave."
Mahmood knows the reach of the Baath Party. "[Under Saddam] there were too many police and too many Baathists. In Iraq everybody is Baathist. You know why? Because if you want to get a job at the port you have to be Baathist, if you want to be a student you have to be Baathist, you want any job – it is the same."
Mahmood, 43, knows the empty promises Westerners can make. He learnt English more than 20 years ago when he was employed by an Italian geological firm in Umm Qasr. Afterwards he joined the army – fighting against Iran during the eight years of conflict that killed hundreds of thousands of young men on both sides. He suffered four shrapnel wounds. He also knows the promises of the Iraqi regime.
He said he and his friends wanted to shed the yoke of the Iraqi regime but not to have Washington or London as their new masters. "We don't want Saddam Hussein. We want freedom," said one. "We want government from the Iraqi people."
Le Figaro: Coalition Troops Have Committed Hitler's Mistake
The newspaper cited experts from the France Ministry of Defense who required anonymity. They say, the US troops have rushed toward the Iraqi capital and now they are extended for hundreds of kilometers on the territory of the country. Under these conditions, centers of resistance may emerge at the rear of the attacking troops. The French military say if a counter-attack is delivered by Iraqis in the enemy's rear, some vanguard groups of the US/UK troops will be cut off from their rear formations. Le Figaro mentions that for this very reason the German army was defeated in the Soviet Union in 1941-1942.
Reporter Arnett: U.S. War Plan Has Failed
By DAVID BAUDER
The Associated Press
Sunday, March 30, 2003; 9:11 PM
Journalist Peter Arnett, covering the war from Baghdad, told state-run Iraqi TV in an interview aired Sunday that the American-led coalition's first war plan had failed because of Iraq's resistance and said strategists are "trying to write another war plan."
(after saying this, Arnett was fired by MSNBC and immediately hired by The Mirror newspaper in London, England.)
March 28, 2003
Baghdad will be near impossible to conquer
Simon Jenkins http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5944-626625,00.html
Coalition strategy is plainly dependent on a political gamble. This holds that Saddam is so hated by his people that his cities will welcome American troops with open arms and his generals will seize the opportunity to kill him. The strategy may have flown in the face of history but was not wholly implausible. There have been Iraqi uprisings before, and attempts on Saddam’s life. But the strategy required the most cautious application of force and the most assiduous hearts and minds campaign.
Instead it has been wrecked by the Pentagon’s latest craze, “shock and awe”. This is the most braindead doctrine in the recent history of war. Its exponent, the US defence analyst Harlan Ullman, writes that shock and awe “rests ultimately in the ability to frighten, scare, intimidate and disarm” a foe by delivering “nearly incomprehensible levels of massive destruction”. This stuns the enemy into immediate surrender. Students of Bomber Command in the Second World War may find these words grimly familiar.
Ullman points out that shock and awe need not involve great loss of life, but must be vast in its explosive force. The power projection must be graphic enough to shatter the morale of the enemy. As a weapon it is literally “terrorist”. The concept, openly avowed by Pentagon spokesmen, clearly lay behind the pulverisation of Baghdad on Day Three of this war. Ullman was quoted in The Guardian as predicting that it would take a week or ten days to know “whether shock and awe has worked”. That time is almost up.
The thesis needs confronting since we are likely to see a lot more shock and awe in the coming days. Ullman’s case is desperately short of evidence. He does not cite the ineffectiveness of the terror bombing of German or British cities in 1941-45. He does not cite Hanoi or Belgrade, where massive bombing produced no collapse in civilian morale, if anything the reverse. He is blind to the most glaring instance of a “near incomprehensible level of massive destruction”, al-Qaeda’s attack on New York on September 11, 2001. None of these cases produced surrender “over the space of a few hours or days”. Most induced the opposite, a fierce desire for retaliation.
March 28, 2003 http://www.counterpunch.org/lindorff03282003.html
Bombing Saddam into Glory
A Hero Made in Washington
By DAVID LINDORFF
You've got to hand it to President and Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush. Only last month, virtually the entire world was in agreement that Saddam Hussein was one of the world's great villains. Not only was there near universal condemnation of his domestic tyranny, there were also rigorous sanctions being applied against his regime, and the U.N. was conducting an aggressive campaign of searching out and destroying his more dangerous weapons.
Now, in less than a week, our benighted own maximum leader has managed to do something that this grotesque megalomaniac had failed to accomplish for 30 years despite billions of oil dollars spent on arms and millions more spent on blanketing his country with statues and murals: He has made the Butcher of Baghdad into a hero of Third World resistance.
Incredibly, the U.S. military's massive, illegal invasion of Iraq has almost overnight galvanized at least some of the people of Iraq into death-defying guerrilla fighters willing to take on Apache helicopters and Abrams tanks of the most powerful military machine the world has ever known with hand-held weapons, and has reportedly even convinced exiled opponents of Hussein to sneak back into the country to help defend their country against the aggressors.
And it can only get worse.
Each Iraqi fighter killed now leaves behind a grieving family that can be counted on to harbor a blood hatred for the countries that caused their loss. Ergo: more recruits for Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda and those "Al Qaeda-type" organizations.
Each nomad family driven from its home by American troops holds bitter thoughts of revenge.
Each family that watches its home demolished by American or British cannons will remember the loss. Each family that loses a child or a parent to American bombs will become a potential enemy.
None of this can be very comforting to think about for the American troops who will have to serve as occupiers over the coming months and years if things go well for America--or for their families back home.
Meanwhile, across the vast stretches of northern Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, and on out into the island nations of the Pacific, Islamic peoples watching on television the wholesale destruction of one of Islam's oldest regions, are cheering the astonishing and indeed inspiring resistance being displayed by the vastly outgunned Iraqis.
In a few short days of battle, the War on Iraq has become a no-win situation for the U.S.
If America wins at this point after an inevitably bloody battle for Baghdad, the resulting country will be ungovernable, except under the most brutal of martial law regimes--a quagmire-type situation that promises an endless string of American casualties and another grim monument to insanity on the increasingly crowded Washington Mall.
If America loses--something that is at least being contemplated by some military experts because of the inability of the military to secure the 350-mile supply line from the Persian Gulf to the Baghdad front line--it could signal the end of American superpower status in the world, spurring nations around the globe to resist American threats and imperial demands.
If there is a stalemate, with the slaughter continuing on both sides and no likelihood of a resolution of the fight, the pressures from around the world, from Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere, for a cease-fire will become irresistible, even as the peace movement at home will mushroom. Bush bet mightily on this war to secure his position as a powerful leader, harkening to the ill-conceived advice of a group of narrow-minded ideologues with little knowledge of either military strategy or Middle East history.
Now he appears doomed to become another Lyndon Johnson, throwing more and more ordinance at and spilling more and more blood in a country far from home, while his political future drains away. In the wake of the 9-11 terror attacks on America, George Bush looked unstoppable for a second term as president.
David Lindorff is the author of Killing Time, an investigation into the death penalty case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Find out more about Lindorff on his website.
US miscalculation changes Saddam from devil to hero
Abdel Bari Atwan
Sunday March 30, 2003
President George Bush has at least one achievement to his credit in his war against Saddam Hussein. He has transformed Saddam into a heroic champion in the eyes of many in the region and might elevate his status into that of a mythological figure if he succeeds in killing or capturing more British and American soldiers and in turning Baghdad into an Arab and Islamic Stalingrad.
It is now clear that events are not going according to the plans prepared in Washington and London and that Saddam's strength and the Iraqi people's reaction to the war were misjudged. Saddam has outfoxed his enemies. He has managed to surprise all in Washington, London and Arab capitals with his ability to absorb the strikes of the first days of confrontation, to turn the psychological war directed against him into a source of self-confidence, and to manipulate America's overwhelming military superiority in his favour.
An Iraqi official told me that, while the British and Americans listened to inaccurate information supplied by the Iraqi opposition on the supposed weakness of the Iraqi regime and the great willingness of the population and army to rebel, Saddam and his military officers were busy studying the defence tactics adopted during the Second World War and Vietnam, and planning similar tactics to counter US strategies that were implemented in Afghanistan and in the first Gulf war in 1991.
Saddam is betting on prolonging the war and on being aided both by weather and a shift in world opinion to his benefit.
The timing of the launch of the war has worked in his favour. The past five days have witnessed sandstorms that have impeded the allied troops' progress towards Baghdad, while recent plentiful agricultural crops have protected Iraqis from hunger.
The coming months will bring a rise in temperatures that can reach 50C. Underneath American and British combat gear and chemical and biological weapons masks, the temperatures may well reach 70C, and this will restrict the troops' ability to fight. Increasing the number of American troops by an additional 100,000 soldiers will be presented by Saddam to his people and to the Arab and Islamic worlds as proof of his victory.
Perhaps the most outstanding of Saddam's psychological and moral victories has been the shift in his image from evil tyrant to hero in both the Arab and Muslim worlds. His picture and his country's flag are now raised in the region's capitals in demonstrations to support him.
Saddam sees his steadfastness as a victory and believes his chances of survival to have improved significantly since the beginning of the war. Shia clerics in Najaf, Beirut and Qum in Iran have all issued fatwas prohibiting co-operation with British and American forces, which they describe as acts of treason. The fatwas also regard actively fighting the allied forces as a moral and religious duty. In practical terms, this will prevent a split in the ranks of the Iraqi military and prevent the mass surrender of troops.
The fatwas will also guarantee against the revolt of the Shias of Iraq, who have been considered so far as Saddam's most dedicated enemies, and will mean that the Shias will not dance in the streets at the sight of American troops.
The allies committed a dangerous mistake when they relied on information supplied by the Iraqi opposition regarding the state of affairs within Iraq.
They made an even bigger mistake when they spoke of installing a US military governor over Iraq, as this will serve only to stir up patriotic feelings among Iraqis and encourage them to bury their differences with Saddam and unite forces to repel an American occupation. Raising the American flag over Umm Qasr, albeit only briefly, convinced Iraqis that the war was one of occupation and not liberation.
All evidence points to the frightening possibility that a post-Saddam Iraq will not be a model of stability and security, but a country ruled by chaos. The allied forces have allowed Turkish troops to enter Iraq from the north and the Kurds of northern Iraq might see this as a betrayal on the part of the US. The Kurds were let down twice before by the Americans; a third time might push some of the Kurds into supporting Saddam and fighting the Turks and Americans together.
Saddam's increased popularity in the Arab world might encourage volunteers from neighbouring Arab countries to steal through the borders to fight alongside the Iraqi militias, as happened during the Afghan war against Russia. Perhaps the most dangerous outcome of the war on Iraq would be the possibility of al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, relocating to Iraq if the country descends into pandemonium after the fall of its central government. There is convincing evidence that dozens of Islamic radical volunteers from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries sympathetic to al-Qaeda and bin Laden have begun entering Iraq through its borders with Syria, Iran and Jordan.
The post-Saddam war in Iraq might be even more difficult than the present one and incur heavier damage. The overthrow of Saddam could turn all Iraqis and Arabs against the US and Britain, and subject the allies to a long and bloody war.
The Iraqi victories thus far, though small, have given Iraqis and Arabs a great moral boost and have helped to restore the sense of dignity they lost when they were defeated in their wars with Israel and with the US during the 1991 Gulf war. They have also succeeded in forging a historical marriage between the secularism of Saddam's regime and the fundamentalism of bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
· Abdel Bari Atwan is editor of the London-based Arab newspaper, al Quds
Destination Fort Braggdad
For Christian fundamentalists, the notion of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction is not in and of itself anathema; it's the timing that is bad. Armageddon can't happen without forces of evil, presumably bearing nuclear arms, to fight the forces of good. But scripture dictates that the Jewish temple must first be rebuilt, and since that hasn't happened, it cannot be Saddam Hussein, the incarnation-of-evil-du-jour, that bears those arms. What better argument to disarm him? After the temple is built, then we will find evil and arm it.
For American empire-builders, the religious fanatics can proselytize till the messiah comes or returns; what matters today is less Deuteronomy than hegemony. American hegemony, as in control of the Middle East's oil and natural gas resources, and hence the world's economy. How better to get there than by turning Iraq, with proven oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia's, into the overseas address of the XVII Airborne Corps? Fort Braggdad has an irresistible ring to it.