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Bush’s Baffling Optimism Defies Harsh Reality in Iraq

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Posted on Jul 13, 2007
bush cheney rice
AP Photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice powwow with various groups working on making progress in Iraq, such as the Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Team Leaders, via video on Friday.

Patrick Cockburn

     

     

Scrambling to shore up crumbling support for the war in Iraq, President George Bush released a report yesterday [Thursday, July 12] claiming sufficient political and military progress to justify the presence of 170,000 US troops in the country.

       

President Bush said he still believed victory in Iraq was possible.

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“Those who believe that the battle in Iraq is lost will likely point to the unsatisfactory performance on some of the political benchmarks,” he said.

“Those who believe the battle in Iraq can and must be won see the satisfactory performance on several of the security benchmarks as a cause of optimism.” He added it was too early to say if his new strategy in Iraq was working.

But in Iraq as in the US there is a sense that Washington is playing its last cards. “I assume the US is going to start pulling out because 70 per cent of Americans and Congress want the troops to come home,” Mahmoud Othman, a veteran Iraqi politician, said. “The Americans are defeated. They haven’t achieved any of their aims.”

The report itself admits to a sense in Iraq that the US, one way or another, is on the way out more than four years after its invasion in 2003.

It says that political reconciliation in Iraq is being hampered by “increasing concern among Iraqi political leaders that the United States may not have a long-term commitment to Iraq”.

The White House yesterday sought to suggest possible change for the better in Iraq by saying that there had been satisfactory progress on eight of the 18 goals set by Congress. Unsatisfactory progress is reported on six, unsatisfactory but with some progress on two and “too early to assess” on a further two.

The picture it hopes to give—and this has been uncritically reported by the US media—is of a mixture of progress and frustration in Iraq.

The wholly misleading suggestion is that the war could go either way. In reality the six failures are on issues critical to the survival of Iraq while the eight successes are on largely trivial matters.

Thus unsatisfactory progress is reported on “the Iraqi security forces even handedly enforcing the law” and on the number of Iraqi units willing to fight independently of the Americans. This means that there is no Iraqi national army but one consisting of Kurds, Shia and Sunni who will never act against their own communities. Despite three years of training, the Iraqi security forces cannot defend the government.

Set against these vitally important failures are almost ludicrously trivial or meaningless successes. For instance, “the rights of minority political parties are being defended” but these groups have no political influence. The alliance of Shia religious and Kurdish nationalist parties that make up the government is not keen to share power with anybody. This is scarcely surprising since they triumphantly won the election in 2005.

There have been some real improvements over the past six months. Sectarian killings in Iraq have declined to 650 in June compared with 2,100 in January. So-called “high-profile” bombings, including suicide bomb attacks on Shia markets, fell to 90 in June compared with 180 in March. But it is doubtful if these are entirely or even mainly due to the US surge.

The fall in sectarian killings, mostly of Sunni by Shia, may be largely the result of the Mehdi Army militia of Muqtada al-Sadr being told by their leader to curb their murder campaign. It is also true that last year, after the attack on the Shia shrine in Samarra on 22 February 2006, there was a battle for Baghdad which the Shia won and the Sunni lost.

Baghdad is more and more Shia-dominated and the Sunni are pinned into the south-west of the city and a few other enclaves. As Sunni and Shia are killed or driven out of mixed areas, there are less of them to kill. Some 4.2 million people in Iraq are now refugees, of whom about half have fled the country.

The real and appalling situation on the ground in Iraq has been all too evident this week. Thirty bodies, the harvest of the death squads, were found in the streets of Baghdad on Wednesday. The figure for Tuesday was 26 and, in addition, 20 rockets and mortar bombs were fired into the Green Zone killing three people. This was significant because they were fired by the Mehdi Army, who had been upset by criticism made on them by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki. By way of gentle reproof they shelled his offices in the Green Zone.

US and British claims of success in Iraq over the past four years have a grim record of being entirely sculpted to political needs at home. British ministers trumpeted the success of Operation Sinbad in Basra last year and early this one saying it would put the worst of the militia out of business. This year Basra is wholly ruled by these very same militias.

Overall the “surge” has already failed. It was never necessary to wait for yesterday’s report or a further assessment in September. The reason for the failure is the same as that for American failures since 2003. They have very few allies in Iraq outside Kurdistan. The occupation is unpopular and always has been.

Economic and social conditions are becoming more and more desperate. There is in theory 5.6 hours of electricity in Baghdad every 24 hours but many districts get none at all. It is baking hot in the Mesopotamian plain, where temperatures even at night are above 40C. People used to sleep on the roof but this has become dangerous because of mortar bombardments.

Oil pipelines are sabotaged by insurgents and punctured by thieves. “In just one stretch of pipeline between Baghdad and Baiji, we found 1,488 holes,” the Oil Minister, Hussein Shahristani, told the Iraqi parliament, speaking of a important pipe that brings oil product to the capital from Baiji refinery. He added: “It doesn’t function as a pipeline… it’s more like a sieve.”

Gasoline is brought to Baghdad by truck but these are not allowed on bridges because they might be packed with explosives. In a further sign of how life is lived in Baghdad, clerics have issued a fatwa against eating river fish - previously a favourite food - because the fish gorge on dead bodies floating in the Tigris river.

Astonishingly, the report suggests that one of the successes in Iraq has been the spending of $10bn “for reconstruction projects, including delivery of essential services, on an equitable basis”.

The danger of the false optimism in the report is that it prevents other policies being devised. In January, President Bush decided to in effect ignore the most important recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton report, which were to talk to Iran and Syria and to disengage US troops. Instead Mr Bush sent reinforcements to Iraq, denounced Iran and Syria and added to the number of his enemies by threatening to clamp down on the Shia militias.

But talking to Iran has always been essential to any solution in Iraq.

“The Iranians can afford to compromise in Iraq but they cannot afford to lose,” said one Iraqi observer. The more threatened they feel by the US over nuclear power or the possibility of air attack, the greater incentive they have to ensure that the US does not succeed in gaining control of Iraq. For most of the past four years they have not had to do much because the US has helpfully ensured its own failure by pursuing disastrous policies.

Paradoxically, Iran, unlike Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab states, actually supports the Iraqi government in Baghdad. It is run largely by their Shia co-religionists and political leaders, who were supported by Iran for years against Saddam Hussein. The problem here is that Washington has never been willing to accept that the great campaign it launched to overthrow Saddam Hussein has increased Iranian influence and put Shia clergy in black turbans in power in Baghdad as they have long held power in Tehran.

The “benchmarks” in President Bush’s report are trivial and prove nothing. They appear to be an attempt to pretend that the war is still winnable in Iraq up to the Presidential election in the US next year.

These vain hopes of victory rule out compromises that the US still might make and are a pretence which many Americans and Iraqis will die unnecessarily trying to sustain.

Benchmarks for progress

Unsatisfactory

* De-Baathification

* Equitable distribution of oil among Sunnis, Shias, Kurds and other Iraqis

* Providing Iraqi commanders with full authority

* Even-handed law enforcement

* Number of Iraqi units capable of operating independently

* Ensuring that political authorities do not make false accusations against the Security Forces

Unsatisfactory, but some progress

* Reducing sectarian violence and eliminating militia control of local security

* Independent High Electoral Commission, provincial councils, and a date for provincial elections

Satisfactory

* Constitutional Review

* Legislation on semi-autonomous regions

* Political, media and economic committees to support Baghdad Security Plan

* Three Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad plan

* Ensuring the security plan will not provide a haven for outlaws

* Joint security stations across Baghdad

* Minority parties’ rights in the legislature

* Allocating and spending $10bn for reconstruction

Too early to assess

* Enacting and implementing amnesty

* Militia disarmament

Originally published in The Independent.
     


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By faith, July 14, 2007 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

Writeyour Congress and Senate:

Dear Speaker Pelosi,
I encourage Congress to file simultaneous impeachment proceedings against Mr. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales immediately.  At the same time indict Harriet Meiers for her failure to appear at hearings.  She is not above the legal mandates issued by congress.

It is clear that the President, et al, are not behaving rationally concerning the wars in the middle east, Iraq and Afghanistan.  There is more than enough evidence to bring a case for impeachment against each of them.  By bringing simultaneous impeachment charges it will call attention to the extent of the corruption and the illegal practices of this White House administration.

The majority of Americans comprehend what Congress seems to fail to understand.  That this sitting president behaves like a spoiled child. 

Why do you, a Mother, and leader, choose to indulge this dangerous child, who wears the mantle of president of the United States.  This same spoiled child that alone has the power to press a nuclear button that can create holocaust throughout the world. I do not understand your failure to immediately press for removal of such a person as Mr. Bush. Please start impeachment proceedings.  You were elected to do what was necessary to change the direction of this nation.  There is no other recourse at this point.

Avoiding the impeachment process implies that the democrats in congress are as interested as the republicans in keeping the war money flowing into their districts.  No matter how many die for the political contributions and profits garnered by the war.  Simple logic indicates that the reason democrats have not moved for impeachment is because they, too, have sold their integrity to the lobbiests and war profiteering corporations in order to benefit personal campaign interests.

There is no sane reason to allow this president and his entourage to continue the destruction of America, as well as the ruin other nations it deems unfit to govern their own affairs.

We need to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan.  We need to discontinue threats against Iran.  And, we need to mind our own business. (caveat:  provide food, medicines, and education to those in need).

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By Alfred L. Castle, July 14, 2007 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bush is no conservative as Bruce Fein discussed with Bill Moyers last night.  Fein, a conservative legal scholar, supports impeachment of Bush and skewered the administration in ways few Democrats have been willing to do.  Slowly, conservatives are waking up to the scam that Bush has pulled on the party.

Also, the reason that neither Democrats nor Republicans can really come up with a compelling alternative to Bush’s disasterous and dishonest policies, is that they all share the same paymasters.  Follow the money trail.

Americans are far less free than they think so the Neo-Cons’ fraudulent claim of spreading democracy to the Mid east is a tragic irony.

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By CommonSense1, July 14, 2007 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

We know it takes awhile for a country to become a democracy, years sometimes.  But, you can go from a democracy to a dictatorship in one day in November 2000.  Why with 70 percent of the people sick of the two mental defectives in office can we not get rid of them?  Do these dense Republicans not realize that we are watching how they vote.  It is a shame that we are going to have to wait until 2008 to dump the load of garbage that sits in congress.  We need to get rid of Bush BEFORE he pardons the entire Republican congress.  Remember ...WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND.  LETS TAKE BACK OR COUNTRY RE-ESTABLISH THE CONSTITUTION AND REINSTATE DEMOCRACY.

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By Mudwollow, July 14, 2007 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Oh my goodness, Mr. Bush is mentally ill! Oh geez, he’s incompetent!

Mr. Bush is on message and on target. He’s stupid but not mentally ill. People who feel unable to swallow the fact that Mr. Bush has succeeded in his goals of making our country impoverished, afraid and demoralized are the ones who are mentally ill.

Mr. Bush is on message and on target as usual and he is set to skate through the next 18 months unscathed. Those who see his systematic and hideous accomplishment as products of incompetence are the ones who are incompetent and mentally ill.

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By weather, July 14, 2007 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

I grew up thinking Israel was kinda cool, a refuge, a place of solace. Today Israel is a Global disgrace.

Israel’s arrogance is only exceeded by their remarkable capacity for deceit. Intoxicated w/a sense of entitlement that defies commonsense and purpose. For Israel more is never enough.
While this is really a part of Israel’s pathology, a pathology of denial that would alarm Freud himself. Tragically its infected us now too.

This link w/Israel,  its not a relationship at all, its extortion and its helping only to rip this once fine Country apart. Still stuck in denial, just look around?

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By bob, July 14, 2007 at 10:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In regards to the post by Frank Cajon, 86780 on 7/1, it is refreshing to see and sense that more Americans are coming to their senses. Mr. Cajon whether its your name or your handle, I commend you along with the other readers of your recent post for its pointed and insightful analysis. Its emotive nature and tone only added to its rhetorical impact. I dare say as well moved myself to writethis commentary to it. I am sure we, as well as more and more American’s are becoming ‘bushed’ if you will, because of this never-ending war on ‘Terror’. Or would the use of sarcastic phrase, Munson’d, used in the film Kingpin to describe the idiot/loser character played by Woody H. be a better description? Anyone with an acorn of a brain can see that history is, as you described it with your reference to the German people and their blind following of Hitler, and his Nationalist Socialist Party to its bitter and decisive end; may very well be playing itself out again. I recommend a title called ‘They thought they were free’ by Milton Mayer as suggested reading for those more interested in the point Mr. Cajon was making by his use of that analogy. As far as reinstating the draft, it can be said that the planners of this mind-boggling fiasco had the wherewithal to understand that any attempt to re-start the draft would have meant this so-called war, would have been over before it even started. Ala 1960’s/70’s all over again. But then as you suggested unfortunately, that may have been the necessary course to go. For as sorry for me to have to say it has been the blind and sincere ignorance on the part of a lot of Americans in the wake of 911, that led us/them to believe in the conscientious stupidity and judgment of those who led our Nation into this greedy self serving adventure. May God help us all.

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By KYJurisDoctor, July 14, 2007 at 10:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

IRAQ PM says his country can do without the U. S. Well, they better. Come September 15th, after the “surge” report comes out and tells us the Iraqis have been on “August recess” while we fought for them, we start drawing down our troops!

http://osi-speaks.blogspot.com/2007/07/iraqs-pm-says-his-country-can-do.html#links

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By John Ellerd, July 14, 2007 at 10:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

AS AN AMERICAN BORN VIETNAM VET 69-70 MAY I SAY,

  WHEN ARE THE AMERICAN CITIZENS GOING TO WAKE UP AND GET PISSED OFF AT HOW “THEIR”(YES, THIS IS YOUR COUNTRY, REMEMBER- BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE)
COUNTRY IS BEING RUN. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO WAKE UP!
WAKE UP! AND BEGIN WRITING YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES AND RAISE HOLY HELL!
 
 
  QUIT BLAMING AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR GOD GIVEN RIGHTS. UNITED WE STAND AND CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, DIVIDED AND ASLEEP WE WILL FALL UNDER THE SAME CAPITALISTIC HEIRARCHICAL GOVERNMENTAL POWER THATS BEEN GAINING POLITICAL AND MONETARY POWER SINCE THE INDUSTRIAL AGE BEGAN.GET MAD AND SHAKE YOUR SELVES OUT OF THE ILLUSION YOU HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED INTO BELIEVING IS DEMOCRACY.

  WE NEED TO REALIZE THAT FIGHTING AN EGOTISTICAL MANIACS WAR FOR POWER AND GREED IS NOT, AND I REPEAT IS NOT BEEING PATRIOTICAL. IT IS BEING IGNORANT AND LED LIKE SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER.

  ARE YOU AT THIS POINT GETTING A PICTURE OF HITLER AND THE JEWS THAT STOOD IN HIS WAY. WAKE UP BEFORE YOU FIND YOURSELVES UNDER MARSHAL LAW AND ITS TOO LATE.

  HOW MANY MORE RIGHTS ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE UP BEFORE YOU FIND YOU HAVE NO COUNTRY AND NO PLACE TO LIVE!

  If YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN WHAT HUMAN FREEDOM LOOKS/FEELS LIKE GO TO http://www.infoshop.org/faq/secA1.html#seca11

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By tony, July 14, 2007 at 9:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The reality doesn’t get much harsher than this:

Powerful film from Sean Smith embedded with US occupiers in May.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/video/page/0,,2125978,00.html

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By GW=MCHammered, July 14, 2007 at 9:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Get word from the front you know too many soldiers are strained. And they know why they’re still there… $$$

(from a soldier)
“The House passed another bill calling for the complete withdrawal of American forces by early 2008. Unfortunately, Bush has already said he will veto it. 8 out of 18 goals met, thats not even 50%, what kind of a standard are we holding the Iraqi’s to? I have said it before, and I will continue to say it. We have already won the “war”. What we are trying to do now does not have anything that we can win or lose. We have given these people a chance at freedom, and they are not taking it.”

-AND IN THE NEWS TODAY-

Iraq PM: Country Can Manage Without U.S.
Jul 14, 9:52 AM (ET)
By BUSHRA JUHI

BAGHDAD (AP) - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American troops leave “any time they want,” though he acknowledged the forces need further weapons and training.

-SO MI$TER PRE$IDENT, WHAT’$ THE NEXT EXCU$E FOR $TAYING YOUR COUR$E?-

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By ardee, July 14, 2007 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

Israel, tool or toolmaker?

So many cite Israel as the reasons for our involvement in Iraq and the impetus for remaining there long after the truth of our failures emerges.

While the government of Israel is as guilty in its actions towards the Palestinians as our own government is in our treatment of the Iraqis I cannot support the view of Israel as motivator of American foreign policies.

This tiny little nation is seen by some as running the policies of a nation of 300 million. I would remind everyone that the stated ambitions of the Vulcan Group, two decades ago, was to see a large and permanent military force in the Middle East, in order to gain control over the shrinking oil reserves in that region. Not to bring security to Israel but for reasons of national security vis a vis OIL.

I would suggest that Israel, far from being so in control of our government, is simply another in a long list of tools of USA interests. I have never understand the arch enemy mentality, one that makes all politics cartoonish in nature, opposing a villain writ large and looking for a hero to save the day.

Life and reality is more mundane than all of that, there is no arch villain though there are villainous folks enough, and the hero that will fly in and save us all wears no cape or costume, but is found in our own mirror.

There are salmon galore in the Feather River, so I will see you all Monday. Sure hope I dont encounter any Israeli agents subverting the course of my quarry to their own purpose…...

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By Trigger finger, July 14, 2007 at 6:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is Cheney dead?  I think he is dead and has been stuffed.  He looks like this in every picture lately. He has been stuffed and now is moved and out of photo opts to fool the world! Did he wander in front of his own shotgun and shoot himself in the face? Something is very very fishy about this administration and I can’t quite put my finger on it?  Why are they trying to fool the world? What else are they hiding? Is Condoleezza dead or in hiding? I’m really starting to wonder? But Cheney? my god, this is the way my dog acted in the last month of his life.

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By madelineboyle, July 14, 2007 at 12:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After I listened to Bush yesterday talking about “success in Iraq” and “patience, stay the course,” I had a gut feeling that brought unexpected tears to my eyes with knowing our president is mentally ill. He needs professional help NOW. He is out of touch with reality. There is no other reasonable explanation for his lack of understanding about Iraq or for his total disregard for America’s welfare. He is not evil or stupid…he is mentally ill.

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By cyrena, July 13, 2007 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment

#86734 by Michael on 7/13 at 4:55 pm

•  The beginning of the article quotes Mahmoud Othman saying, “...They haven’t achieved any of their aims.” This is untrue.  Saddam is dead and this is a goal most people in the United States who supported the war shared.

Michael, I had exactly the SAME reaction to this quote from the article, specifically for the same reasons…the elimination of Saddam. That was always a first objective, but never the ultimate goal. Eliminating Saddam was crucial to the real objective, which was and is, to take over the oil industry of this relatively small nation, (26 million before we invaded) and turn it into a perpetual profit-making enterprise for the same Mafia that has taken over our government. That was always the original plan/agenda, for Iraq. Get Saddam out of the way, so that we can get to that oil.

Paradoxically, that’s the only part that they managed, and it has in fact benefited the Iraqis as well, IF we had indeed just “left”. Thing is, the Cabal still hasn’t been able to effectively steal the oil, and THAT is why we are still there, because that was the ultimate goal. Separate Saddam from his oil, and then take it over. (Never mind those other 26 million citizens who have an interest in what happens to their own oil).

That is the ONLY reason, that Cheney won’t let our troops come home, and why so many Iraqis continue to die from refugee type conditions, or air strikes by the US troops.

And, that’s why so many MORE of our troops are dying now, (even more since the “surge” because that only provided more human “targets” for the insurgents/resistance) and they are dying mostly in these ambush/IED attacks in areas that are targeted for ambush…THE OIL SUPPLY LINES. So, US troops and private contractors that are attached to convoys protecting supplies, or anything to do with that oil infrastructure, are bright red targets for the insurgents, as well as the thieves who have joined the fray, in the years since we created the chaos.

So, in the most simplistic of assessments, yes…that was one success of all of this, if only they hadn’t hung the man. There is so much that we could have learned from him, if we’d just let him stay in prison, for the rest of his life.

At the same time, we can also say, because the record has now confirmed it, that all of the killing and dying in Iraq over the past 4 years has been a direct result of US military presence there. It’s the ONLY thing that keeps it going. It was deliberately intended, (as another tactic for literally conquering that nation, and one that has been used repeatedly, throughout history….the divide and conquer/rule technique)but most of the Iraqis are on to that, and so they will continue to resist, as long as we are there to “BE” resisted.

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By cyrena, July 13, 2007 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

Commet#86780 by Frank Cajon on 7/13 at 9:23 pm

Frank….this is an EXCELLENT post. We are talking excellent. I’m gonna share it with some of my non-blogging friends, who still haven’t quite caught up to these realities.

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By Joe R., July 13, 2007 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

IMPEACH AND PUT THEM ON TRIAL FOR WAR CRIMES!

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By Frank Cajon, July 13, 2007 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

Bush is an unbalanced, delusional madman conducting a one-man war. Iraq’s Parliament just voted to take a month off rather than try to resolve the problems facing the people that have split into three warring factions. Sure, Al Queda has moved in because of the vacuum created by the planless, four and half year war. What started as a combination Saudi oil monopoly/money-laundering vengeance excerise against Hussein, planned long before 9/11 with phony, leaked intell as its sham basis has turned into a pissing contest with corpses of nearly 3800 US dead, over 20,000 injured and countless dead or injured Iraqis.
The cowboy in charge is a paranoid, arrogant, mentally ill fool with eroding support even from warmonger rightists who backed his play 6 months ago. The Congress better grow some gonads and refuse to fund any more carnage, because aside from the deficits he run up to mortgage our children’s futures as Americans, he is destroying our military’s ability to defend us against any actual real threat by spreading Army and Marine troops too thin, sending them back for repeat tours of duty without relief. Yet the bastard threatens war with Syria, Iran, and other countries in the State of the Union address. Well, he better send Dick Cheney over, because he can shoot and hit a moving target, and otherwise he is running out of cannon fodder. Some say a military draft will wake up Americans to actively get off their asses and fight for withdrawl and peace-no fucking way are my sons going to be part of a war that was started because a despot in a divided country put out a contract on the President’s dad. I have voted against every Congressman and Senator that has ever voted a dime for the Iraq conflict; but it appears, like 2004, both parties are going to run presidential candidates that voted money for this unforgiveable misuse of power that has ruined America’s standing in the world community. We should be ashamed of the Bush Reich and all of his Blitzkreig advisors, but also all those ‘good party members’ who gave it tacit approval and made it financially possible to the tune of nearly half a trillion dollars. Hitler would never have been able to fight WWII without the silent approval of the German people and their politically elected representatives, and Bush is our generation’s equivalent of that paranoid madman, who ignored his own generals when losing the Eastern Front war at Stalingrad (our Baghdad), and pressed on till his country was in ruins, wrapping his jingoist message of war for the fatherland in the face of certain defeat, wrapping his rhetoric in the flag, ‘patriotism’, and suspension of individual freedoms.

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By Don Stivers, July 13, 2007 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

Has any reporter asked Bush why he does not go to Baghdad in person and view the situation without a big wall of solders around him?  We have been making progress for 4 years now.  It should be like walking around the boardwalk of New Jersey.

Don Stivers

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By Kwagmyre, July 13, 2007 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bush seems now just where Hitler was in the latter’s final days, experiencing his own “Gotterdammerung”.

And the Surge effort is tantamount to Hitler’s “scorched earth” policy.

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By Chaseme, July 13, 2007 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do you want to know what is really “baffling”? barbara bush gave birth to this monster?

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By Michael, July 13, 2007 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The beginning of the article quotes Mahmoud Othman saying, “...They haven’t achieved any of their aims.”  This is untrue.  Saddam is dead and this is a goal most people in the United States who supported the war shared.  I have no idea why they wanted this man dead, but they apparently did.  Ok, so he’s dead know…  let’s leave and let the Iraqi’s decide what post-Saddam Iraq will look like.

It is arrogant to think we in the United States are more qualified to determine the future of Iraq than the people who were born and live there.

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By Mudwollow, July 13, 2007 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

Who is baffled by George Bush? He’s got 18 more months to go. He’s probably accomplished more than even his handlers figured they would get away with. He has essentially no opposition from anyone who can do him real harm. What in the name of God has he got to be worried about? Why in the world should he feel frustrated or dismayed in the slightest? Show me a person who expects George Bush to feel sorry for the plunder and murder on his hands and I’ll show you a deluded individual who deserve to have George Bush stand on their throat until they start to get it.

He’s happy because he’s proud of his accomplishments. He’s proud that he looted the treasury and gave it to his buddies. He’s proud that he turned back civil liberties. He’s proud that he stuffed the court with machismo morons. He’s delighted that he has left many Americans afraid and hopeless. That was his goal and is the goal of the many who supported him from day one. George should be smiling. He should be proud of himself. He’s done a great service for the 21st century slave owners of America.

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By Buzz Long, July 13, 2007 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is it me or is “Uncle” Dick snoozing away while our douche-bag-in-chief is busy not making a point?

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By DR, July 13, 2007 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not optimism; it’s delusion, based on the belief that he has been guided by God to do certain things. Bush thinks of himself as a prophet, being tested by God to prove his steadfastness; a sort of modern-day Job, if you will.

So every setback seems to him to be nothing more than one more test from God, which he must pass by being “resolute” in his faith, like Abraham when asked by God to sacrifice his son. He believes this because he feels that God saved him from his addiction for a purpose, which with his family’s exalted situation, has combined to give him the impression that he is in a way God’s chosen. The fact that he had just become president (when he knows full well that he had not been elected) when muslim extremists attacked the U.S. on 9/11.

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By QuyTran, July 13, 2007 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Their dynasty is surely in angony and for them the bell is ready to ring !

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By eeg, July 13, 2007 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

As usual the excellent Patrick Cockburn may be relied upon to provide the ballast of truth to the Junta’s propaganda.  Even sadder than the current calamity in Iraq was the decision to invade and murderously occupy a country in contravention of any and all legality.  As I knew from the outset it was a set-up.  Imagine a schoolyard bully threatening a lesser unless he gets a few dollars—then when he gets what he asks for the bully still pummels his victim.  This is what happened to Hussein.  The invasion itself was an almost incompehensible act of moral depravity,  a crime against international law and humanity that should be fully prosecuted.

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