Thursday, July 27, 2006



BUSH: When he's out of office, he will sit on the board of a big oil company and reap the profits from the blood of our young soldiers. PRO-BIG OIL, PRO-WAR, PRO-PROFITEERING.

Exxon Oil just posted a $10.36 Billion profit. Now that is what the Iraq war is all about. Trading lives for oil. Posted by: Larry

Soldiers in Iraq were asked by Washington Post reporter Josh Partlow about their feelings on the war. Such answers like "It Sucks, it feels like we are just driving around, waiting to get blown up." Another said " noone wants to be here, and no one is truly enthused about what we do." True words from the mouths of those who are there. This is from a soldiers own mouth.

President Clinton, the Rhodes scholar with brilliant diplomatic skills is right: ISRAEL HAS GONE TOO FAR. He also said Israel went too far in bombing the airport in Beirut. "I understand why (Israel) wanted to degrade their military capacity, but I question whether it was worth it to wreck the airport because the airport was the symbol of the new Lebanon."

Clinton said the United States and other western countries should be pushing hard for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, along with the insertion of an international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, former U.S. president Bill Clinton said Wednesday.

NATO is probably the only international group with the military muscle capable of fielding a peacekeeping force, said Clinton.
"If we're ever going to have a peaceful Middle East, then the peacemakers will have to be protected in a way that won't get them blamed every time they fight back," he said.

"The Force of Peace" is a multi-part series I'm writing. The first part here will be revelatory findings from the military. The second installment, will offer viable solutions for peace from a moral and spiritual point of view. I am working on that section this weekend.

From CLIF, U.S. Combat Vet, Desert Storm Commander: "This is how the fiasco in Iraq became as bad as it is right now. Sorry but we tried to tell you and now the military records say the same basic story we have...but since it is from military sources they must have more legitimacy than Coultergeist's anal brain extrusions. This story is written from the militaries own records...just like the Pentagon Papers was during the Vietnam War, but you repugs will attack the messenger instead of reading the message and trying to actually LEARN from it..."

I Hate To Say I Told You So by Ethan Heitner July 24, 2006

Those of us who were labeled America-haters for saying that Iraq was a mess and that our military presence was making things worse are actually being proven right – by the military’s own documentation.

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, written by Washington Post senior Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks and set to be published this summer, is not to be dismissed as the opinions of shifty Iraqis or pointy-headed academics. Instead, for his material Ricks went straight to the good old, blood-and-guts sources, the Armed Services archives themselves – or, as The Washington Post puts it in its excerpts from the book, which started running in the paper Sunday, "a review of more than 30,000 pages of military documents and several hundred interviews with U.S. military personnel."

And what do they tell us ? ...There is ... strong evidence, based on a review of thousands of military documents and hundreds of interviews with military personnel, that the U.S. approach to pacifying Iraq in the months after the collapse of Hussein helped spur the insurgency and made it bigger and stronger than it might have been. ...

What did the army do wrong? Massive troop presence that only served to remind the Iraqis of the constant presence of foreign occupiers. Indiscriminate sweeps that caught up thousands of ordinary Iraqi citizens in the maws of a gulag system without accountability or order, where they were exposed to abuse at every level by U.S. soldiers and enticed by actual members of the insurgency to find vent for their understandable rage. Or, as Ricks has it (again, based on the military's own evaluations):

Senior U.S. intelligence officers in Iraq later estimated that about 85 percent of the tens of thousands rounded up were of no intelligence value. But as they were delivered to Abu Ghraib prison, they overwhelmed the system and often waited for weeks to be interrogated, during which time they could be recruited by hard-core insurgents, who weren't isolated from the general prison population.

Or, in Ricks' portrait of one particularly bad unit, the 4th Infantry Division :

The unit, a heavy armored division despite its name, was known for "grabbing whole villages, because combat soldiers [were] unable to figure out who was of value and who was not," according to a subsequent investigation of the 4th Infantry Division's detainee operations by the Army inspector general's office. Its indiscriminate detention of Iraqis filled Abu Ghraib prison, swamped the U.S. interrogation system and overwhelmed the U.S. soldiers guarding the prison.

Lt. Col. David Poirier, who commanded a military police battalion attached to the 4th Infantry Division and was based in Tikrit from June 2003 to March 2004, said the division's approach was indiscriminate. ... "Every male from 16 to 60" that the 4th Infantry could catch was detained, he said. "And when they got out, they were supporters of the insurgency."

This is the draft of history written by the military, for the military:

In language unusual for an officially produced document, the history of the operation produced by the Marines 1st Division is disapproving, even contemptuous, of what it calls the 4th Infantry Division's "very aggressive" posture as the unit came into Iraq.

The history dryly noted that the Marines, "despite some misgivings," turned over the area to the 4th Infantry Division and departed April 21. "Stores that had re-opened quickly closed back up as the people once again evacuated the streets, adjusting to the new security tactics," the final draft of the history reported. "A budding cooperative environment between the citizens and American forces was quickly snuffed out. The new adversarial relationship would become a major source of trouble in the coming months."

Is it any surprise that the result is exactly what we said it would be?

Cumulatively, the American ignorance of long-held precepts of counterinsurgency warfare impeded the U.S. military during 2003 and part of 2004. Combined with a personnel policy that pulled out all the seasoned forces early in 2004 and replaced them with green troops, it isn't surprising that the U.S. effort often resembled that of Sisyphus, the king in Greek legend who was condemned to perpetually roll a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down as he neared the top.

Again and again, in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, U.S. forces launched major new operations to assert and reassert control in Fallujah, in Ramadi, in Samarra, in Mosul.

Read the whole thing to get details of how the U.S. military hierarchy ignored common sense, their own experience in Vietnam and all standards of decency to make everything worse.

While I'm on the "things we knew already but it's nice to hear them say," for a long time it's been obvious that military abuses of civillians in Iraq were neither confined to "a few bad apples" at Abu Ghraib prison, nor did they end with the imprisonment of those few. Systematic lack of leadership regarding detainee abuse is another area documented extensively by Ricks:

On the morning of Aug. 14, 2003 Capt. William Ponce, an officer in the "Human Intelligence Effects Coordination Cell" at the top U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, sent a memo to subordinate commands asking what interrogation techniques they would like to use ...

The 4th Infantry Division's intelligence operation responded three days later with suggestions that captives be hit with closed fists and also subjected to "low-voltage electrocution." (This was in addition to facial slaps and mid-section punches.)

Ricks chillingly details more specific incidents of abuse from the military records. Surprise surprise, they closely parallel the allegations made in a new report by Human Rights Watch. From their summary :

“Soldiers were told that the Geneva Conventions did not apply, and that interrogators could use abusive techniques to get detainees to talk,” said John Sifton, the author of the report and the senior researcher on terrorism and counterterrorism at Human Rights Watch. “These accounts rebut U.S. government claims that torture and abuse in Iraq was unauthorized and exceptional – on the contrary, it was condoned and commonly used.”

The accounts reveal that detainee abuse was an established and apparently authorized part of the detention and interrogation processes in Iraq for much of 2003-2005. They also suggest that soldiers who sought to report abuse were rebuffed or ignored. ...

Herrington concluded, “It seems clear that TF 121 needs to be reined in with respect to its treatment of detainees.” Despite this warning, abuses by the task force continued.

Human Rights Watch said that the new report shows how soldiers who felt abusive practices were wrong or illegal faced significant obstacles at every turn when they attempted to report or expose the abuses. For example, an MP guard at the facility near al-Qaim, who complained to an officer about beatings and other abuse he witnessed, was told, “You need to go ahead and drop this, sergeant.”

Look, all I'm saying is, the facts are actually not hard to obtain.The information is out there. The documentation exists. These are not baseless allegations—they are the eyewitness testimonies of those involved.

Someday there will have to be justice.

Just don't say you didn't know, and don't let anyone currently sitting in a position of power in Washington D.C. claim it either.