Tuesday, August 07, 2007



Watching Charles Ferguson's powerful new film the other day, No End In Sight, reminded me of the unguarded ammunition dumps in Iraq from which the future Iraqi insurgency armed itself. When the first news reports came out-- coupled with Rumsfeld's shit-eating grin and lame "stuff happens" response-- I started formulating my theory that the Bush Regime was purposely fomenting the utter chaos in Iraq, the destruction of civil society and the onset of civil war, as a deliberate policy.

Yesterday reports started seeping into the American media that the Bush Regime has been adding quite a bit of fuel to that fire-- in the form of billions of dollars in "missing" weapons. Is it venality or incompetence? Either should be cause for removal-- but that's off the table.
The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.

The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq.

The Bush Regime's response? "Oops! We'll look into that and get back to you. And with the Regime saber rattling at Syria and Iran for supplying weapons to Iraq's insurgents, maybe there needs to be a reassessment.

Today's Washington Post follows up this revelation with another reassessment, about how an insurgency becomes a civil war, written Gian Gentile, a lieutenant colonel in the 4th Infantry Division.
Some say that Iraq cannot be in a civil war because the country's major institutions are not fighting each other with conventional military forces. But this is too formulaic and restrictive for what I saw and heard. On the streets of west Baghdad, almost every person I spoke to told me of a close relative or friend who was killed by Sunni insurgents or Shiite militia members.

In the summer of 2006, my squadron was assigned to Amiriyah, a Sunni district of Baghdad. I was the American commander in charge, and over five months I came to know well Sunni perspectives of Iraq. Many if not most Iraqi Sunnis think that the Iraqi government is not legitimate but sectarian and out to crush them. The Sunnis in Amiriyah believed that the government was using its institutional powers to deprive them of essential services such as electricity, trash pickup, banking facilities, health care and, most important, security. People I spoke with said that Iraqi security forces, especially the local and national police, were determined to kill them because they were Sunni. Their response to these ideas was not passive: Residents of Amiriyah, working with Sunni insurgents, would regularly target the Shiites in the area as payback for what they saw the government doing to them. The bodies that my squadron helped retrieve from the streets each day were almost always Shiite.

Some observers think everyone in the Bush Regime is a nincompoop, ignorant of history, floundering around blindly from mistake to mistake, unable to glean any lessons from the past. I thin one lesson they have taken away from history-- and applied rather brutally-- is one of the oldest of all: divide and conquer. It's how the Bush Regime has been able to control Iraq. Lt. Colonel Gentile asks a rhetorical question to summarize his piece this morning. "One day last October, my patrol came upon a scene I keep trying to forget. A man was lying on the street; his wife, who had blood running down her face, stood nearby crying as she clutched their baby. The child in her arms was dead, shot in the head, as the father had been. The man, who was a Sunni, and his child were killed by Sunni insurgents or local Sunnis-- sometimes it was hard to tell them apart-- because he had married a Shiite woman. How can this not be civil war?"

I ask one I wonder about every single day. How can impeachment still be off the table?


Maybe Newt Gingrich's biggest contribution to the 2008 presidential race will be his perceptive labelling of the Republican field as a "pathetic bunch of pygmies"™-- but the man doesn't know when to stop. Yesterday he was predicting that Hillary would be the next president. Why should anyone care what he think? Don't ask me; I never did. I just wanted to mention some advice he gave the GOP, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and based on his assertion that Bush basically is incapable of communicating.
“We cannot get him to master the art that Reagan had and that Lincoln had, of talking to the American people in a form in which they are comfortable,” Gingrich said.

“So my first advice to the President was, ‘Don’t say anything anymore. Keep quiet.’ Let General [David] Petraeus and [Iraq] Ambassador [Ryan] Crocker to speak for the country.’

“And then the Democrats in Congress have to decide are General Clinton and General Reid and General Pelosi really more knowledgeable than General Petraeus. It’s very hard to go to the country and say I’m going to abandon the Americans in Iraq. It’s very easy to go to the country and say George W. Bush is wrong.”

That may work in certain far away parts of Georgia, but no one's going to be buying that in Atlanta or in any suburbs where the reading level is above 8th grade.

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At 9:31 AM, Blogger boadicea said...

That picture needs a caption.

"I think I just sat on a pickle. Oh, Karl, that's you."


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