Tag Archives: Iraq

From Nuisance to Threat: The High Cost of Truth, by Paul Craig Roberts

Truth, and respect for it, is vanishing. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

When one gives so much scarce time and energy from one’s life to a large and unknown public, one needs to know that it is sufficiently appreciated to be a worthwhile use of one’s time and energy. This is especially the case when there are large costs associated with the commitment.

Your response to my quarterly request for donations showed me that enough of you value what I am doing to justify its continuation.

I am convinced that the US, and probably the entire Western world, that is, the American Empire, has entered an era in which respect for truth does not exist in public and private institutions. We have been watching this develop for some time. Think, for example, back to August 3, 2002, a recent time in terms of our present predicament, but a time prior to political consciousness of anyone younger today than 33 years old. In the summer of 2002, the world was being prepared by propaganda for a US invasion of Iraq. On August 3 of that year, the prestigous British publication, The Economist, summed up the consensus of ruling opinion in two sentences: “The honest choices now are to give up and give in, or to remove Mr. Hussein before he gets his [nuclear] bomb. Painful as it is, our vote is for war.”

As Lewis Lapham, myself and others asked at the time, what bomb? The only evidence of a bomb was fabricated and known to be fabricated. The UN weapons inspectors concluded that the infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction were a creation of US propaganda. President George W. Bush eventually acknowledged that Iraq had no such weapons. US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the lies he was deceived by the Bush regime into telling the UN about Saddam Hussein’s WMD are a stain on his career.

Despite the 2003 US invasion known to have been based entirely on lies, US troops were not pulled out of Iraq until 2011, and whether or not they were pulled out, they are back in Iraq now. None of these facts has had any impact on the good opinion that Washington and the media have of themselves.

To continue reading: From Nuisance to Threat: The High Cost of Truth

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What a Mess: The US Blunders Deeper Into The Mysterious Levant, by Eric Margolis

Someday, in the distant future, the US will have lost so much in the Middle East that it will try something completely different. It will get out and stay out. The denizens of that region can’t eat their oil, they must sell it to someone, and the US is the world’s largest market. Israel has a nuclear arsenal and can take care of itself. A US withdrawal from the Middle East would be the first glimmer of sanity in US foreign policy in quite some time. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

We are now moving rapidly into stage II of Levantine Madness as the US boosts its intervention in the war-torn Mideast.

Five thousand US troops are back in Iraq to bolster the shattered nation’s puppet regime that is propped up by American bayonets. New Iraqi military formations have been formed, totally equipped with modern US M1 Abrams tanks, Humvees, and fleets of trucks. More US forces are on the way.

These US-financed Iraqi units are euphemistically called ‘anti-terrorism forces’ and are supervised by US officers. In fact, what we see is the old British Imperial Raj formula of white officers commanding native mercenary troops.

These Iraqi units are now assaulting ISIS-held Mosul, Iraq’s second city, and smaller towns. Most of America’s Iraqi ‘sepoys’ (as native troops in the British Indian Raj were known) are Shia bitterly opposed to the nation’s minority Sunnis. After its 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US encouraged animosity between Shia and Sunni as a way of breaking resistance to foreign occupation – ‘divide et impera’ as the Romans used to say.

Interestingly, the backbone of ISIS leadership is made up of senior officers of Saddam Hussein’s old Iraqi army. The ‘Mother of All Battles’ continues, as President Saddam predicted shortly before he was lynched.

Meanwhile, thousands of US troops and Special Forces are now also engaged in Syria though just whom they are battling remains confused. Syria has become a mad house of warring factions backed by outside powers – a sort of modern version of Germany’s dreadful 30 Year’s War of the 1600’s.

To continue reading: What a Mess: The US Blunders Deeper Into The Mysterious Levant

The Surge Delusion, An Iraq War Anniversary to Forget, by Danny Sjursen

The Iraq surge was a failure, not a success, but the surge mentality it engendered prevails throughout the Trump administration. That may lead to disaster. From Danny Sjursen at tomdispatch.com:

The other day, I found myself flipping through old photos from my time in Iraq. One in particular from October 2006 stood out. I see my 23-year-old self, along with my platoon. We’re still at Camp Buerhing in Kuwait, posing in front of our squadron logo splashed across a huge concrete barrier. It was a tradition by then, three and a half years after the invasion of neighboring Iraq, for every Army, Marine, and even Air Force battalion at that camp to proudly paint its unit emblem on one of those large, ubiquitous barricades.

Gazing at that photo, it’s hard for me to believe that it was taken a decade ago. Those were Iraq’s bad old days, just before General David Petraeus’s fabled “surge” campaign that has since become the stuff of legend, a defining event for American military professionals. The term has permanently entered the martial lexicon and now it’s everywhere. We soldiers stay late at work because we need to “surge” on the latest PowerPoint presentation. To inject extra effort into anything (no matter how mundane) is to “surge.” Nor is the term’s use limited to the military vernacular. Within the first few weeks of the Trump administration, the Wall Street Journal, for instance, reported on a deportation “surge.”

For many career soldiers, the surge era (2007-2011) provides a kind of vindication for all those years of effort and seeming failure, a brief window into what might have been and a proof certain of the enduring utility of force. When it comes to that long-gone surge, senior leaders still talk the talk on its alleged success as though reciting scripture. Take retired general, surge architect, and former CIA Director Petraeus. As recently as 2013, he wrote a Foreign Policy piece entitled “How We Won in Iraq.” Now “win” is a bold word indeed. Yet few in our American world would think to question its accuracy. After all, Petraeus was a general, and in an era when Americans have little or no faith in other public institutions, polls show nearly everyone trusts the military. Of course, no one asks whether this is healthy for the republic. No matter, the surge’s success is, by now, a given among Washington’s policy elite.

To continue reading: The Surge Delusion, An Iraq War Anniversary to Forget

5th Anniversary of America Withdrawing Troops from Iraq, by Dyfed Loesche

From The Burning Platform: 

In addition to the 4,524 dead soldiers, 31,952 soldiers were wounded, and a few hundred thousand Iraqis were killed or wounded. And it only cost $2 trillion, so far. The medical benefits to the soldiers and families will ultimately drive the total cost over $5 trillion. And what exactly did we accomplish?

From Dyfed Loesche at statista.com:

On Dec 15, 2011 the last combat troops that had taken part in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and the transitional Operation New Dawn (OND) left Iraq. It came over seven years after OIF began with the March 2003 invasion to remove Saddam Hussein. Around 4,500 U.S. troops died during that phase of American military involvement.

The number of fatalities is picking up again ever since the United States once more got involved in Iraq in August 2014, this time to help Iraqi forces combat the so-called Islamic State (IS). This engagement is called Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). Further official data on U.S. casualties can be retrieved here.

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2016/12/15/mission-accomplished-9/

Inside The Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton, & Trump, by John Pilger

There are a multitude of distressing aspects of the US and its allies interventions in the Middle East. One of the most distressing is the mainstream media’s complicity in spreading government propaganda. Had it not done so, and were it not continuing to do so, many lives might have been saved or would be saved in the future. From John Pilger at strategic-culture.com:

The American journalist, Edward Bernays, is often described as the man who invented modern propaganda.

The nephew of Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psycho-analysis, it was Bernays who coined the term “public relations” as a euphemism for spin and its deceptions.

In 1929, he persuaded feminists to promote cigarettes for women by smoking in the New York Easter Parade – behaviour then considered outlandish. One feminist, Ruth Booth, declared, “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!”

Bernays’ influence extended far beyond advertising. His greatest success was his role in convincing the American public to join the slaughter of the First World War. The secret, he said, was “engineering the consent” of people in order to “control and regiment [them] according to our will without their knowing about it”.

He described this as “the true ruling power in our society” and called it an “invisible government”.

Today, the invisible government has never been more powerful and less understood. In my career as a journalist and film-maker, I have never known propaganda to insinuate our lives and as it does now and to go unchallenged.

Imagine two cities.

Both are under siege by the forces of the government of that country. Both cities are occupied by fanatics, who commit terrible atrocities, such as beheading people.

But there is a vital difference. In one siege, the government soldiers are described as liberators by Western reporters embedded with them, who enthusiastically report their battles and air strikes. There are front page pictures of these heroic soldiers giving a V-sign for victory. There is scant mention of civilian casualties.

In the second city – in another country nearby – almost exactly the same is happening. Government forces are laying siege to a city controlled by the same breed of fanatics.

The difference is that these fanatics are supported, supplied and armed by “us” – by the United States and Britain. They even have a media centre that is funded by Britain and America.

Another difference is that the government soldiers laying siege to this city are the bad guys, condemned for assaulting and bombing the city – which is exactly what the good soldiers do in the first city.

Confusing? Not really. Such is the basic double standard that is the essence of propaganda. I am referring, of course, to the current siege of the city of Mosul by the government forces of Iraq, who are backed by the United States and Britain and to the siege of Aleppo by the government forces of Syria, backed by Russia. One is good; the other is bad.

What is seldom reported is that both cities would not be occupied by fanatics and ravaged by war if Britain and the United States had not invaded Iraq in 2003. That criminal enterprise was launched on lies strikingly similar to the propaganda that now distorts our understanding of the civil war in Syria.

Without this drumbeat of propaganda dressed up as news, the monstrous ISIS and Al-Qaida and al-Nusra and the rest of the jihadist gang might not exist, and the people of Syria might not be fighting for their lives today.

To continue reading: Inside The Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton, & Trump

 

Things Are Going From Bad to Worse – Iraqi PM Warns of ‘Regional War’, by Michael Krieger

Syria still threatens to become “The Quagmire to End All Quagmires.” From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

One of the most discomforting aspects of Neil Howe and William Strauss’ seminal work on generational cycles, The Fourth Turning (1997), is the fact that as far as American history is concerned, they all climax and end with massive wars.

To be more specific, the first “fourth turning” in American history culminated with the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the second culminated with the Civil War (1861-1865), while the third ended with the bloodiest war in world history, World War II (1939-1945). The number of years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the start of the Civil War was 78 years, and the number of years between the end of the Civil War and the start of World War II was 74 years (76 years if you use America’s entry into the war as your starting date). Therefore, if Howe & Strauss’ theory holds any water, and I think it does, we’re due for a major conflict somewhere around 75 years from the end of World War II. That brings us to 2020.

– From August’s post: Japanese Government Shifts Further Toward Authoritarianism and Militarism

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past six months or so warning about World War 3, an event which is more likely over the next few years than at any other point in my lifetime. Such a conflict is the last thing I’d ever want to see or have to raise red flags about, but I can’t simply ignore all the obvious and troubling signs around me.

Just last week, I published a post titled, The Situation in Syria is Very, Very Dangerous. Here are a few excerpts:

Obama administration officials have begun considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on Aleppo, including military options, as rising tensions with Moscow diminish hopes for diplomatic solutions from the Middle East to Ukraine and cyberspace, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The U.S. officials said the failure of diplomacy in Syria has left the Obama administration no choice but to consider alternatives, most of which involve some use of force and have been examined before but held in abeyance.

It’s not just Syria, of course. The entire region looks like it’s about to go up in flames in a way that could make recent conflicts look tame by comparison. We all know about the humanitarian disaster in Yemen that the Saudis seem determined to make as chaotic as possible, but there’s also Iraq.

For example, Reuters reported the following earlier today:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned Turkey that it risks triggering a regional war by keeping troops in Iraq, as each summoned the other’s ambassador in a growing row.

Relations between the two regional powers are already broadly strained by the Syrian civil war and the rise of the Islamic State militant group.

Turkey’s parliament voted last week to extend its military presence in Iraq for a further year to take on what it called “terrorist organizations” – a likely reference to Kurdish rebels as well as Islamic State.

In case you’re not paying attention, Turkey is now involved in military operations inside both Iraq and Syria.

To continue reading: Things Are Going From Bad to Worse – Iraqi PM Warns of ‘Regional War’

Who Got Us Into These Endless Wars? by Patrick J. Buchanan

The wonder is after a mammoth string of epic failures, why anybody still listens to the neoconservatives. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“Isolationists must not prevail in this new debate over foreign policy,” warns Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “The consequences of a lasting American retreat from the world would be dire.”

To make his case against the “Isolationist Temptation,” Haass creates a caricature, a cartoon, of America First patriots, then thunders that we cannot become “a giant gated community.”

Understandably, Haass is upset. For the CFR has lost the country.

Why? It colluded in the blunders that have bled and near bankrupted America and that cost this country its unrivaled global preeminence at the end of the Cold War.

No, it was not “isolationists” who failed America. None came near to power. The guilty parties are the CFR crowd and their neocon collaborators, and liberal interventionists who set off to play empire after the Cold War and create a New World Order with themselves as Masters of the Universe.

Consider just a few of the decisions taken in those years that most Americans wish we could take back.

After the Soviet Union withdrew the Red Army from Europe and split into 15 nations, and Russia held out its hand to us, we slapped it away and rolled NATO right up onto her front porch.

Enraged Russians turned to a man who would restore respect for their country. Did we think they would just sit there and take it?

How did bringing Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into NATO make America stronger, safer and more secure? For it has surely moved us closer to a military clash with a nuclear power.

In 2014, with John McCain and U.S. diplomats cheering them on, mobs in Independence Square overthrew a pro-Russian government in Kiev that had been democratically elected and installed a pro-NATO regime.

Putin’s response: Secure Russia’s naval base at Sevastopol by retaking Crimea, and support pro-Russian Ukrainians in Luhansk and Donetsk who preferred secession to submission to U.S. puppets.

Fortunately, our interventionists failed to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. Had they succeeded, we almost surely would have been in a shooting war with Russia by now.

Would that have made us stronger, safer, more secure?

After the attack on 9/11, George W. Bush, with the nation and world behind him, took us into Afghanistan to eradicate the nest of al-Qaida killers.

After having annihilated some and scattered the rest, however, Bush decided to stick around and convert this wild land of Pashtuns, Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks into another Iowa.

Fifteen years later, we are still there.

And the day we leave, the Taliban will return, undo all we have done, and butcher those who cooperated with the Americans.

If we had to do it over, would we have sent a U.S. army and civilian corps to make Afghanistan look more like us?

Bush then invaded Iraq, overthrew Saddam, purged the Baath Party, and disbanded the Iraqi army. Result: A ruined, sundered nation with a pro-Iranian regime in Baghdad, ISIS occupying Mosul, Kurds seceding, and endless U.S. involvement in this second-longest of American wars.

Most Americans now believe Iraq was a bloody trillion-dollar mistake, the consequences of which will be with us for decades.

To continue reading: Who Got Us Into These Endless Wars?