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Everything His President Wants to Hear

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Posted on Apr 8, 2008
Petraeus
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Another day at the office: Gen. David Petraeus prepares to give his Iraq war update on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

By Robert Scheer

General Betray Us? Of course he has. MoveOn.org can hardly be expected to recycle its slogan from last September, when Gen. David Petraeus testified in support of escalating the U.S. war in Iraq, given the hysterical denunciations that worthy group received at the time. But it was right then—as it would be to repeat the charge now.

By undercutting the widespread support for getting out of Iraq, Petraeus did indeed betray the American public, siding with an enormously unpopular president who wants to stay the course in Iraq for personal and political reasons that run contrary to genuine national security interests. Once again, the president is passing the buck to the uniformed military to justify continuing a ludicrous imperial adventure, and the good general has dutifully performed.

So why are we surprised? Why do we expect the generals to lead us on the path to peace when that is the professional task of statesmen and not warriors? It is an abdication of civilian control of the military, the basic principle of American constitutional governance, to assign a central role to an active-duty general to make the decision to end the war. It betrays the legacy warnings of our two most famous wartime generals, George Washington and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

American history offers no greater heroes, not because of their considerable success in battle but because they gained the wisdom to sound the alarm against unbridled militarism so passionately and effectively. The farewell addresses of both those departing generals-turned-presidents still stand as the essential bookends for what has been written about the limits on military adventure required for democracy’s survival. Washington’s plea to the nation “to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism” sets the standard for enlightened political discourse. A close second is Eisenhower’s warning, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

We have had many other examples of retired military officers asserting the need for informed and rational public decision-making as to matters of war and peace. Republican presidential candidate John McCain was one of those voices when, as a senator, he led the fight, along with fellow Vietnam War veteran John Kerry, to normalize relations with the same Communist leadership in Hanoi that had once been our enemy. Does anyone, McCain included, now think we were wrong to bring the troops home from Vietnam—and just why are the dire consequences that McCain now predicts for a withdrawal from Iraq any more plausible?

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McCain says we have to back the president and his generals, even though he concedes that “four years of mismanaged war had brought us almost to the point of no return.” Who mismanaged that war if not George W. Bush and the generals he picked for the task? But don’t blame the generals, for as long as a president demands victory, they will pretend to deliver it. If they demur, they will be replaced, as recently occurred with the sudden retirement of Petraeus’ boss, Adm. William Fallon, following his suggestion in Esquire magazine that he might favor a more restrained approach in a conflict with Iran.

No such dissension from Petraeus, whose testimony—faithful to the president if not the truth—was a particularly painful performance. Civilian deaths in March were 50 percent higher than in February, and there was a score of recent American deaths. There is no evidence of political progress to support Petraeus’ stab at optimism over the “fragile” situation in Iraq. Most absurd was the suggestion that the problem would all go away if Iran would only behave, when in fact American troops are being sacrificed on the pro-Iranian side of an internal Shiite power dispute. The Shiites in charge of “our” government in Iraq were exiles trained for decades in Iran.

Not so Moqtada al-Sadr, who stayed in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, the killer of his father. Sadr now opposes what he clearly labels as the U.S. occupation out of an Iraqi nationalism that is also in conflict with Iran. Now he’s the bad guy, and the Sunnis, who hate us even more, are being temporarily paid off by the United States to stop killing Americans. They, too, will turn against us, but it will not stop Petraeus or some other general in charge from telling Congress a few months from now what the president wants lawmakers to hear.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By cyrena, April 15, 2008 at 1:29 am Link to this comment

part 1 of 2 reply to BBB

“re right of a land to attack another
dear cyrena. am i mistaken in educing from what you have written that a land has the right to attack another in some circumstances?
i do not know of single circumstance or situation that would give any land the right to attack any other land. when a land or, rather, its gov’t violates an int’l law, this does not give any alnd the right to attack it. not only that, but UN nor S.C. council has the moral right to wage war against any violator of whatever law..”
****
Yes Bozhidar Bob,

I think you were mistaken in what I wrote, so it’s possible that I didn’t articulate it correctly. The Geneva Conventions and the laws that came from those conventions were specially for the purpose of AVOIDING wars. The 2 WW’s had cost the world far too much, and the purpose was to find ways to avoid war as a means of solving disputes. The main component of those laws though, is that nations have to agree to them. Agreement cannot be forced. So, the laws are only effective when it is in the best interests of nations to comply, and motivations to avoid violating the laws.

That said, it’s true that there are no circumstances that I’m aware of, that gives ANY nation the ‘right’ to attack another nation. There IS however, article 51 of the Geneva Convention, that DOES allow for the use of military force in instances of SELF-DEFENSE. Theoretically, any nation can be expected to defend itself it has come under attack. And yes, frequently the UN Security Council has been the designated party for determining if those circumstances do indeed exist.

The ambiguity of course is that when a nation has been attacked by another, (and I’m talking about a LEGITIMATE attack…not what the bushies and other American Admins have used as excuses, ) there isn’t necessarily time to dilly dally with the UN. But of course the US has never been attacked by another sovereign nation state, unless we’re talking about the Americans Indians, and that was long before the concept of sovereignty or int’l law. At least not to my knowledge, but I’m sure somebody will come up with something.

So, theoretically, the UNSC really would NOT be involved (necessarily) in the only sanctioned use of military force, which is in self-defense. The military invasion of Afghanistan is questionable in my own opinion, because while the US was ‘attacked’ on 9/11, neither the government nor the people of Afghanistan were the perpetrators of that attack. Yet, it was ‘accepted’ that because al-Qaeda was using it as a place to hang-out, then it was ‘ok’ for the US forces to invade there. I don’t agree necessarily, for the reasons I’ve already stated. It would have been far better to arrange a unilateral agreement to go after al-Qaeda specifically, and that would have and should have involved dealing with the governments actually behind them. (like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan).

Even THAT much is questionable in my view, because there’s still been no proof provided, (all of these years later) that al-Qaeda was responsible for the attacks of 9/11.

As for Iraq, there was NEVER a reason to attack and occupy that country, even in an ‘anticipatory’ concept’ of self-defense. (though that’s what they tried to put past the UNSC). So, no argument there.

There’s also no argument (at least from me) that Israel has not been in violation of dozens and dozens of int’l laws since the birth of that nation, and there have been no consequences from the UN or anybody else, for all of those violations.

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By cyrena, April 15, 2008 at 1:26 am Link to this comment

Part 2 of 2 reply to BBB

In the reality of the geo-political environment, the concept of equals being treated equally is nothing more than a concept. The reality is that might = right, and the US has been involved in Imperial Wars of Aggression in violation of int’l law as many times or more than Israel has, and there have been no consequences from any legal world bodies, most likely because the World Legal Community is relatively new. (relative being the operative word here, in terms of world history).I guess it also goes without saying that the nuclear issue is the lynchpin component of what makes up international law, and whether or not it can in fact be effective, since it’s effectiveness is dependant upon agreement. No nation state HAS to agree to participate. As a result, Israel is the only country in the entire ME sitting on tons of nukes, and has been for over 2 decades. They’ve also never agreed to sign-on to the NPT. The irony is nothing short of amazing.

Now if the UN had their own army,(actually, they do, but it hasn’t been all that effective) and were not basically (politically) co-opted by the US, maybe THEY should have been the ones to run down al-Qaeda. On the other hand, if the US hadn’t been violating the territorial and other rights of nations throughout the world for many decades, there probably wouldn’t have BEEN an attack. So, the UN wasn’t doing its job to begin with, in keeping both Israel and its sponsor (the US) in line. (I call the pair the “Terrible Twins”)

Still, that’s the geo-political reality of the day, and it has been, at least since the US became the sole ‘superpower’ which we won’t be for much longer, at the rate the bushies are going.

Meantime, I do agree with you that no nation has the ‘right’ to attack another, at least not outside of the limited conditions of self-defense, and even then, there are all of the other proscribed ‘rules of war’ or WAR LAW. The US has violated all of those as well.

The only other circumstances where I can imagine a legitimate use of force of one nations’ military against another, is not in the form of an ‘attack’ and I’m cautious with that word, and that would be in the cases of genocide. So, rather than ‘attack’ I’d call it interference. And yes, there are circumstances when such interference is warranted, and the Convention for the Prevention and Elimination of Genocide allows for that. HOWEVER, in reality, though the Convention is over a half century old, it has rarely been effective; in part because it means violating some law(s) in order to enforce another. As a general circumstance, it means violating the affected nation’s sovereignty, because genocide is all too often interpreted as civil war or other forms of civil disturbance, since it has most of the same characters.

Consequently, that is difficult to enforce, and another area where the UN should be the active participants. Here again, the UN is largely co-opted by the permanent members of the UNSC, and specifically the Western members.

The way I see it, WE need UN intervention to save us from the thugs in the white house, and there is none forthcoming.

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By cann4ing, April 14, 2008 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

Actually, CY, it was Joseph Stalin who said, “The people who cast the votes decide nothing.  The people who count the votes decide everything.”

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By Conservative Yankee, April 13, 2008 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tip O’Neil taught me long ago, elections are not about “counting” 

If they were we would be about to say good-by to President Gore.

I’m one of those true “Hillary-haters” you hear about on this site BUT… I’ve known she has this thing wrapped up from the start.. It’s all part of the greatest shoe on earth.. Watch and laugh….or cry.

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By cann4ing, April 13, 2008 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

Hill-the-shill the only Democrat left standing?  Why CY I thought you conservatives knew how to count.  To catch Obama in either pledged delegates or the popular vote, she would have to win 60% of the vote in every remaining state—something she has done only in Arkansas.  The nomination fight is over.  Shillary knows as must.  She just refuses to publicly admit it.

As to the “corporate” media, their very structure is hostile to the essential Fourth Estate function of exposing the deceits of those in power.  To the contrary, the corporate media has reaped enormous profits by throwing in with power.  The U.S. corporate media, when it is not diverting our attention with sports and entertainment, acts as a propaganda network for corporate power.  Indeed, I would submit that the corporate media’s greatest accomplishment is embodied in its ability to convince some 250 million Americans that they live in a country where “We the People” are actually in charge.

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By bozhidar bob balkas, April 12, 2008 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

dear cyrena. am i mistaken in educing from what you have written that a land has the right to attack another in some circumstances?
i do not know of single circumstance or situation that would give any land the right to attack any other land. when a land or, rather, its gov’t violates an int’l law, this does not give any alnd the right to attack it. not only that, but UN nor S.C. council has the moral right to wage war against any violator of whatever law.
these laws have been written, in the main, by evil empires in order justify conquest and oppression. 
punishing milions because their leaders have commited crimes, cannot be morally right. people who do the crime, must do the time. that’s when UNgets involved. it then has the right to hunt perpetrators but not by bombings, invasions but by specialists in tracking and arresting criminals. 
bombing of hiroshima and nagasaki, one of the greatest crimes ever commited, was legal. but to approbate such an act because it was legal or, rather, the laws did not pertain to that act because there was no law agaisnt it at the time, is an ominous reasoning.
in addition, neither israel nor US recognize any law that they deem it constrains them. and they are not alone in violating laws and morality. in fact we are so lawless that to even talk about respect for int’l laws is injurious to one’s nervous system. thank you.

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By Conservative Yankee, April 12, 2008 at 5:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr C you appear far too intelligent to believe the fairy-tale of US freedom.

Our pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain media does an effective job of explaining a win in OHIO (in 2004)by a president known by every man and woman who carries a lunchbox to work, as a corporate elitist,  a exporter of their jobs, and a killer of their sons and daughters.  We’re told that OHIO the manufacturing state which is still manufacturing is usually in the Republican camp.  Funny glitch here, I know many people from Ohio, and only one family (who used to live here in Maine, Father a doctor, mother a Baptist minister) is Republican. 

BUT IMHO it really doesn’t make much difference anymore as anyone getting to “the finals” will be approved by the folks who REALLY run things. I personally do not believe our situation would be appreciably different if Gore had won in 2000, or Kerry had won in ‘84.  I also doubt that Hill-the-business-shill now the only Democrat left standing or G.I. Joe the only Republican will do any thing different than what we…as a Nation… have experienced over the last 7.5 years!

Life 13 miles down the road is looking better and better!

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By republicanSScareme, April 12, 2008 at 3:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our thuggish leaders seem determined to do what they want to do whether the public likes it or not. That is what is scary. Both Cheney and Bush have made clear their disrespect of public opinion.

These thugs display their attitude as nobility to high principles, determination, a personal connection to the Almighty, Great Defenders of Noble Causes, a la Honest Abe…bla, bla, bla. Watching spoiled rich thugs pose as great men is pretty sickening to watch.

There’s little doubt that our current leaders are very dangerous people. Pray they don’t steal the elections and keep more people-friendly candidates out of office.

We need a Congress that will hold hearings on the Bush Administration like they did in Watergate. The crimes of the Bush Aministration match anything Nixon did

If honest people ran our government, they would force Bush (and Cheney) to resign like Nixon.

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By cyrena, April 11, 2008 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

consortiumnews.com

Iraq War ‘Blank Check’ Balloons

By Jason Leopold
April 11, 2008

Besides demanding Iraq War money with no withdrawal timetables attached, the Bush administration has insisted on another kind of “blank check” – war spending that has more than doubled in four years while evading serious congressional oversight because it’s wrapped in “emergency” appropriations bills – a study says.

The Congressional Research Service reported that the average monthly costs to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan has reached about $12.3 billion, $10 billion for Iraq alone, more than double what it cost to fund the war in 2004

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By Marshall, April 11, 2008 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

...And that’s how reasonable discussions conclude.  Thanks for your contributions - I both enjoyed and learned.

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By cyrena, April 11, 2008 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

You’re both right. It was planned even before 9/11, though 9/11 was also planned, to make it easier to facilitate these wars with complete acceptance by the US populace.

We haven’t accepted it, and that’s the bottom line.

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By cyrena, April 11, 2008 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

Michael Gass,

Excellent reply. Until others are able and willing to do their own evaluations and make their own decisions apart from any intimidations or condensations, (like being brushed off as ‘conspiracy theorists’) the lies will continue to stifle the truth.

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By Michael Gass, April 11, 2008 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

Marshall,

Whether or not you feel it’s “credible” is a decision for you to make along with everyone else who reads it.  Having been to Iraq twice (both in 1991 and in 2006), I can say that I know enough of his statements are true beyond any doubt to believe the rest of them.

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By Marshall, April 11, 2008 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Michael - thank you for posting the lengthy quotations.  What they amount to, in my mind, is one man’s subjective impressions of the Washington intelligence climate in the run up to the war; useful, but not the final word.  And the specific references he makes are either unverifiable or disputed (like the last minute phone call with Tenet), and he produces no tangible supporting evidence.

What I’m going on are verifiable facts; formal investigations, published documents, public statements from the time.  And your use of Ray McGovern, an avowed activist and conspiracy theorist who wasn’t even employed by the CIA at the time, doesn’t do much to bolster your case.

If anything, Drumheller’s critique seems more an indictment of systemic problems in the intelligence community that led to the NIE (which he says he wasn’t even involved in) and even, if he’s to be believed, to Clinton’s policy of regime change (and I would assume Clinton’s bombing of Iraq in 1998).  This charge I agree with, as did the 9/11 commission, the Senate Select Committee (SCI), the Silberman-Robb Committee, and others.  But I’ll repeat that there is no smoking gun that corroborates your claim that Bush knew the intelligence was wrong.  That claim isn’t even made by Drumheller in anything you’ve posted.

The consensus from numerous formal investigations on every aspect of this topic is that the intelligence community failed.  In the words of SIIC: “the Intelligence Community was “dead wrong” in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and that this constituted a major intelligence failure.”  From Silberman-Robb: “The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community’s pre-war assessments of Iraq’s weapons programs.”  Our attention as a nation should be on reforming our intelligence community so that future policy makers have the most accurate information possible upon which to base policy.

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By Maani, April 11, 2008 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Ted:

This might interest you:

http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/20060910_robert_scheer_holes_9_11/

Peace.

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By Michael Gass, April 11, 2008 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

(continued from above)

“Then, the night before the speech, that’s this famous phone call from Tenet. In fact, it’s funny. After many years of friendship with Tenet, [it’s] one thing I really think stressed our relationship, but the fact is that phone call was meaningless, because at that point the speech was written. They were already in New York; they were going to give it the next day. But I called to give the phone number of the European service chief, and while I had him on the phone, I said: “Boss, ... there’s a lot of problems with that German reporting. You know that?” And he said, “Yeah, don’t worry about it; we’ve got it.” So I said, “OK, done,” and I went to bed confident that they had taken it out.”

“The next day, my wife actually called me and said, “Powell’s on; you may want to watch.” I turned on CNN or whatever he was on, and he got to the part about that, and I said, “That’s the Curveball stuff.” I called the executive officer, and I said, “Did we send them the wrong speech?” That’s the first thing I thought is, we screwed up; that it’s a bureaucratic mix-up. She said, “No, they just went on.” I don’t know why, how they decided to use it, what they decided. I have no idea.”

[Editor’s Note: In his 2007 memoir, At the Center of the Storm, Tenet disputes Drumheller’s characterization of this phone call. “Drumheller and I did speak very briefly earlier in the event, but our conversation had nothing to do with Curveball; rather it involved getting clearance from the British to use some of their intelligence in the speech,” he writes. Tenet denied FRONTLINE’s request for an interview.]

(what did I say about Drumheller being THE guy who talked to, ie briefed, Tenet?)

Tyler Drumheller wasn’t the only CIA guy to speak out.  Ray McGovern has spoken out and a few other ex-CIA have as well.

The “failures” weren’t failures, they were politically driven ideologues who overrode the intelligence community.

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By Michael Gass, April 11, 2008 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

Marshall,

Tyler Drumheller’s PBS interview

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/darkside/interviews/drumheller.html

“This general view developed that the inspectors were a bunch of clowns, which wasn’t true. The inspectors are very serious guys, and they actually did an effective job—not perfect, but they were pretty effective. But the intelligence that was coming in was saying that there aren’t any weapons, the actual hard intelligence.”

“During that summer, the Silberman-Robb [commission] report and the SSCI report would say there was no direct political pressure [on the intelligence community], and that’s true. Nobody ever came up and said, “Write this NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] in that way.” But if you’ve been around Washington long enough, you know when there’s pressure. These are bureaucracies: The CIA is a bureaucracy; the Pentagon is a bureaucracy. People want to get ahead, and the way to get ahead was to move ahead on Iraq. And there were a lot of people that were concerned.”

“Because it’s a bureaucracy. We had one officer that was working on the Iraqi ops tell one of my chiefs of station, and this was in the fall, “Look, we’ve got information that contradicts this.” This isn’t about intel; it’s not about WMD; we’re into regime change now. ... They were gambling, too, that when they got on the ground, they would find these things. ... And the amazing thing was—this makes me look like an idiot, but the fact was I really believed Curveball couldn’t possibly be the only source they had on that, but it was.”

“Looking back on it, under a calmer moment, a guy at the agency told me: “I never did think they had anything, because after the first Gulf War, we destroyed tons and tons and tons. Yes, they did have it at the time of the first Gulf War, and they were far ahead on the nuclear program, but all that stuff was destroyed. The inspectors, whatever you think of them, they were around; they were harassment for them.” So to think that the Iraqis ... could build Nazi Germany-style underground factories that would process nuclear and biological [weapons], he said, “It’s just a huge stretch.” But nobody stopped to make that connection at the time.” (my team alone destroyed over 1,000 tons over ordnance in 1991)

“Yeah. Actually, when they asked me to check on it, the NIE had already been drafted, or it was pretty much done. This was people saying, “We’d better find out about this source.” I didn’t know all that at the time. ... So the people that drafted the NIE of course had a very emotional stake in defending their analysis of it. I stayed out of most of it—the operations chief and the group chief deal with it because it was at that level—but it was as pugnacious and angry meetings as I’ve seen. WINPAC were very, very set on this; they saw us as throwing in unwanted complication. ... In our professional view, the operational part of this was extremely weak, and there’s no validation of this source. No one’s ever seen anything; no one’s ever really talked to him at any length.”

“I learned it from McLaughlin’s chief of staff. I was talking to him, ... and he said, “Man, I hope not, because this is really the only substantive part of the NIE.” I said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” And he said, “No, this is the only substance in the NIE.” I said, “Oh my God.”“

“My executive officer and the chief of operations. I called this fellow that’s McLaughlin’s chief of staff, and I said: “I really am uncomfortable with you using this stuff. If you want to say you’re overruling me and you want to use it, that’s fine, but I have serious problems with it.” And he said, “Hold on a second; I’ll call you back.” And he called me back, and he said, “Come on up; John wants to talk to you.” So I go up, and we met in McLaughlin’s little conference room. ...”

There is more in there… LOTS more…

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By ted tyson, April 11, 2008 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

robert,
      you are a great writer and journalist. talk to the jersey girls and to david ray griffin.  write about their questions.  you must have seen “9/11: press for truth” by now.  i can’t believe you don’t know all about griffin’s work.  talk to them.  write about them.  they have earned your attention.  please—please!—cover this issue.  i can’t IMAGINE what you’re waiting for.


                      sincerely,

                      ted tyson
                      milwaukee, wisconsin

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By cyrena, April 11, 2008 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

Actually, Thank YOU!!

I’m also so amazed at hearing about this ‘polling’ of the Iraqis, (the troops, yes I do believe they are and can be evaluated that way).

But, when I hear of these ‘polls’ about how the Iraqis allegedly ‘rate us’, I can’t believe the enormous ignorance and arrogance.

Marshall says most of them (and other folks throughout the world) don’t even know the difference between the democrats and the repugs here.

See, THAT is Imperial Arrogance and Hubris. We ALWAYS know what’s best for the rest of the world.

And we wonder why they hate us. No, actually, the Marshalls of the world say that everybody feels much better about us now. Our image is improving.

Talk about the alice-in-wonderland eternity. They’re stuck in the alternative reality for so long they’ll never recover.

For those of us actually WATCHING the stuff with our own eyes, and TALKING to the people there, these polls are total bullshit. They don’t even exist.

Ten more dead Iraqis a few minutes ago. The Green Zone now hit nearly EVERYDAY. Yep, in their worlds, things are completely different.

Polls? Uh huh.

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By Marshall, April 11, 2008 at 12:51 am Link to this comment

Michael - I don’t dispute that Drumheller seems a credible voice.  But he was not “The person” who briefed Tenet.  The NIE, which represented the entire intelligence community’s best assessment, was absolutely clear in its belief that Saddam could have a nuclear bomb within 1 year if he obtained fissile material, which it’s still believed he attempted to do.  Drumheller only disputed the time frame (he said 18 months) and agreed that Saddam still intended to build nukes.  What you’re quarreling with is the weight given to eleventh hour intel. for a policy years in the making.  Obviously, WMD wasn’t the only reason we invaded, but the belief that Saddam was actively pursuing these programs was solid.  Here’s a link to the NIE’s key judgements:

http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/Iraq_Oct_2002.htm#01

“the REASON he faults Tenet is because Bush/Cheney/Rice were pushing WMD’s as nuclear weapons… and they KNEW that information was false”

Now you’re editorializing - he never said that in the interview you posted.  Making stuff up undermines your credibility in what is otherwise a reasonable post.

And the chemical weapons Drumheller refers to were not the 1980s chemical shells that we did find, but gas munitions that were never found.  I think you need to re-listen to your clip.

re Polls: I see you’re attempting to read the minds of the Iraqis by reinterpreting their answers in your own words.  As luck would have it the poll contains a question that addresses the very topic of our upcoming election, and the majority of Iraqis believe a change in leadership will make no difference to Iraqi affairs.  As much as you’d like to think the world supports the Democrats, people in most other countries don’t even know the difference.

“Question 5 of the poll still disputes your claim as 56% still say that things in Iraq as a whole are very bad to 43% saying it’s very good.”

Which claim is that? Compared to same time last year (78% vs. 21%), this is real progress and that was my point.

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By Michael Gass, April 10, 2008 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

Marshall,

Actually, when that “one person” is THE one person who would know since he was THE person who did the brief to Tenet… I’ll take his word over any other “source” any day.  And the REASON he faults Tenet is because Bush/Cheney/Rice were pushing WMD’s as nuclear weapons (remember mushroom cloud? aluminum tubes?) and they KNEW that information was false.  That Saddam still had old chemical shells from the 1980’s was known by the UN inspectors and everyone else.  It was ALSO known that those shells were old, deteriorated, and stored EVERYWHERE to include depressions out in the middle of nowhere.  *I* knew that too since in 1991 I was part of an Air Force EOD unit whose mission it was to find and destroy ordnance in northern Iraq and that was exactly how we found it… old, paint faded away, rusted to the point it took experts in the field to identify the ordnance fillers…

As for your poll… notice that the two biggest factors in Iraqi’s life is unemployment and no electricity.  Sure, in March 2008, with Bush about to leave office and the hope that a Democrat will take the White House, the poll question of how they see themselves a year from now is easy to explain.  Question 5 of the poll still disputes your claim as 56% still say that things in Iraq as a whole are very bad to 43% saying it’s very good.  Question 8 on whether it was right or wrong to invade shows an even split, whereas in 2004 more thought it was right, or, a downward trend.  Question 12 STILL blames the U.S. for the worsening security.  Question 14 shows an overwhelming lack of confidence in the U.S. led forces.

And as for upward trends?  Go to my post about Gen. Petreaus… he cites an “upward trend” too even though 13.1% is still horrible.

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By Marshall, April 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

“In the Fall of 2002, months before the attack, the CIA knew that Saddam had NO ACTIVE WMD program and Bush/Cheney WERE informed.  I call that a HARD FACT.”

No, one person claims the CIA had a single source that made this claim, in conflict with other sources that differed.  Claims are not hard facts.  Witness the same source’s claim that Iraq *did* in fact have chemical weapons.  Our invasion found that this information was wrong.

You’ll also note that Drumheller’s criticism was of Tenet for failing to push this intel. hard enough.

“So, “could” and “might” are now justifications?”

You missed my point, which was to refute Ernest’s claim that UN sanctions had eliminated Iraq’s ability to undertake WMD programs.

Regarding the polls you posted: It’s common practice to cite outdated polls when the latest ones don’t support one’s opinion, and that’s what you’ve done.

Here is the most recent poll which substantiates my earlier claims about Iraq’s desire to have the U.S. stay until governance/security has been established.

http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/poll/2008/0308opinion.pdf

What’s important about this data is the up trends
on virtually every question regarding expectations for the future, whether the U.S. was right to invade, general Iraqi welfare, and current security.  Iraqis are not suddenly in support of the U.S. occupation, but their opinions of us have clearly improved within the last year and I suspect this trend will continue as long as violence remains down.

1) 66% of Iraqis support a unified elected govt..
2) A majority (63%) feel the U.S. should not withdraw immediately.  Make no mistake; Iraqis want the U.S. to leave.  But not until Iraq is capable of taking care of itself.
3) Percentage of Iraqis who believe U.S. presence has improved security in areas of the surge doubled to 36% from 1 yr. ago.

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By samosamo, April 10, 2008 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment

Strange about patraeus coming to head the US forces in Iraq and still in charge where his predecessors either quit because of the BS or were replaced for not adhering to w & dick’s war plans. And patraeus shows his support for our troops by having blackwater for security instead of our troops. That’s just got really ‘boost’ morale inside our troops. Guess patraeus will get a high ranking board postion at blackwater IF he retires from the military. Thanks dave for you show of confidence in our,oops, your troops.

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By PatrickHenry, April 10, 2008 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

Or champion poodle…..lapdog.

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By Michael Gass, April 10, 2008 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

Marshall,

- However, there is no “hard evidence” as you claim that the administration knew Iraq was not a threat and had no WMDs.

http://thinkprogress.org/2006/04/23/60-minutes-cia-official-reveals-bush-cheney-rice-were-personally-told-iraq-had-no-wmd-in-fall-2002/

Wrong.  In the Fall of 2002, months before the attack, the CIA knew that Saddam had NO ACTIVE WMD program and Bush/Cheney WERE informed.  I call that a HARD FACT.

- While Iraq suffered under U.N. sanctions (minus the corrupt oil for food program that Saddam exploited to his personal benefit), that didn’t lessen its ability to build nuclear weapons.  North Korea is a perfect example of an impoverished country that went nuclear.  As it turned out, Saddam wasn’t building them - but that was not because he couldn’t have.

So, “could” and “might” are now justifications?  Since when?  Taiwan MIGHT build nuclear weapons (nobody stopping them) and because of that, then, China has every right to invade, conquer and occupy Taiwan under the Bush Doctrine?

- the fact is that polls show that the majority of Iraqis want the continued U.S. occupation of Iraq until their new govt. and security apparatus, which they support as a majority, is functional.  So painting them as unwitting dupes to U.S. imperialism just doesn’t jibe with the data.

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/sep06/Iraq_Sep06_rpt.pdf

1) Support from Iraqi’s to attack U.S. troops - 60%
2) 70% of Iraqi’s want U.S. forces to be withdrawn within 1 year.
3) 71% want the Iraqi Parliament to call for U.S. troop withdrawal.
4) 78% of Iraqi’s say U.S. continued actions provoke more conflict than it prevents.
5) 79% of Iraq’s say U.S. presence has a negative affect.

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=14689

August 2007: A poll sponsored by news agencies in the US, UK, and Germany found that around 70 percent of Iraqis “believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military ‘surge’ of the past six months…” Moreover, 67-70 percent “believe the surge has hampered conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development” (8). When asked how much confidence they had in the US-led forces, 85 percent of Iraqis answered “not very much” or “none at all”—compared with 82 percent in February 2007, 78 percent in 2005, and 66 percent in 2004.

Every poll I have read out of Iraq is consistent on this issue.  If you think you have “other” evidence, then do show it.

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By purplewolf, April 10, 2008 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Documentary called Hacking Democracy, very telling and worth the time it takes to watch it. I saw it on the Sundance channel last year.

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By TDoff, April 10, 2008 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

The main unanswered question of the Petraeus and Crocker show, is which is the dog and which is the pony?

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By cann4ing, April 10, 2008 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

How right you are, Tom Doff.  The Bush regime’s distortions of reality rival those of the fictional “Party” in George Orwell’s “1984.”  But then, even the claim that George W. Bush was actually “elected” rather than selected is an Orwellian canard, aided in no small measure by the corporate media.  In 2000, exit polls had Gore winning Florida by a whopping 435,000 votes.  Thanks to Florida’s crazy patchwork quilt of disparate voting systems, the wonders of modern computer technology and the fact that the Florida campaign was under the control of Katherine Harris and ChoicePointe which purged some 95,000 innocent African Americans from Florida’s eligible voter rolls, Harris was able to declare Bush had won by 537 votes.  As Greg Palast reveals, the story of the theft of the American presidential election, including the illegal purge of innocent voters, made banner headlines in 2000 but in the wrong country—the UK.  In the U.S. it ran on page zero.  It was also broadcast on the BBC world wide—everywhere that is but in the U.S.

On Election Day 2004, Prof. Steven Freeman experienced a 1984-like moment as he was confronted with the markedly different realities reflected on network websites and network news broadcasts.  “The laptop screen projected a Kerry victory in nearly every battleground state, in many cases by substantial margins.  But on TV James Carville was saying Kerry needed to ‘draw an inside straight’...The Slate Web site indicated a narrow edge to Kerry in Florida; the networks all had Florida solidly in the Bush camp.  CNN’s Web site data informed us of commanding Kerry victories in Pennsylvania and Minnesota; TV anchors told us these states were too close to call…[In] Ohio…exit polls showed Kerry with a projected victory of more than 4%...TV viewers were left with little doubt that Bush had won.”

Exit polls are almost never wrong and are used by our own government to measure the fairness of foreign elections.

A funny thing happened after the polls closed and the Kerry exit-poll lead, in state after state, slid into the Bush column.  The vast discrepancies between the exit-polls and the official results simply vanished as the pollsters “corrected” their exit polls to match the official count, a factual account that disappeared down memory holes as in 1984—except that in this instance a technical glitch at the CNN web site permitted the uncorrected data to be retrieved and preserved—data which belied the unscientific claim that late voting went for Bush.

As Freeman & Joel Bleifuss reveal in “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?” during the 2004 election in “ten of the eleven battle ground states there was a shift—that is, the official count differed from the exit-poll—and in all ten the shift favored Bush.”  The statistical odds of this occurring were one in 1,024.  The especially marked shifts in Ohio, PA & FL were 4.9%, 6.7% & 6.5%—the odds, one in 660,000.

Neither these remarkable statistics nor documentation of widespread irregularities matter.  Bush won.  We know that because the corporate media said he won.  Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.  In 21st Century America, as in Oceania, there is no reality but the official reality.  Any who challenge it are dismissed as “conspiracy theorists;” as insane.

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By Greg Bacon, April 10, 2008 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

Yes, the dreaded Lebanese Hezbollah Department 2800.... What?  You never heard of an outfit that’s been blamed for most of the trouble in the ME?

Why, it’s gospel truth, spoke by none other than that bringer of light, General David Petraeus, back at the last White House Iraq Dog and Pony show, back on September 12, 2007. (Nice touch, one day after 9/11.  Gotta hand it to those propaganda geeks in the WH basement)

Here’s what the general had to say back then about the dreaded Department 2800

“In the past six months we have also targeted Shia militia extremists, capturing a number of senior leaders and fighters, as well as the deputy commander of Lebanese Hezbollah Department 2800, the organization created to support the training, arming, funding, and, in some cases, direction of the militia extremists by the Iranian Republican Guard Corps’ Qods Force. These elements have assassinated and kidnapped Iraqi governmental leaders, killed and wounded our soldiers with advanced explosive devices provided by Iran, and indiscriminately rocketed civilians in the International Zone and elsewhere. It is increasingly apparent to both Coalition and Iraqi leaders that Iran... ”

Iran, Iran, Iran, it’s almost like Davie was chanting a mantra… And there you have it, the latest target of the homicidal WH war mongers, Iran.  The good general wouldn’t tell a lie, would he?

He sure wouldn’t tell A lie, but a whole damned army of lies told by this WH sycophant and neoCON lackey.  Lies, more lies and damned lies, all to get up the blood lust so America will launch another illegal and immoral war, against another of Israel’s “existential” enemies, Iran.

If the dreaded Department 2800 was such a nefarious operation, then why was there no mention of that department in the last few days of testimony shoveled out for consumption by Americans by the tag-team of Petraeus-Crocker?

Did ya smoke ‘em out, general?  Or did you take the tough guy stance, like that of your disgraced hero and psychopath, GW and put out a “Wanted, Dead or Alive” poster?

Just be careful there Davie and don’t get so exited about the prospect of having a John Wayne type of showdown with Dept. 2800, that you shoot yourself in the foot again, like you did on a training exercise.

BTW, Davie, is one of the over the top collection of medals on your chest a Purple Heart, won for shooting yourself?

What’s the status of the dreaded Lebanese Hezbollah Department 2800, there Davie old boy?

Or did you just drop the pretense, at the urging of your paymasters in Tel Aviv, and just point your MOSSAD manicured finger of blame at Iran?

Real men go to Tehran, right general?

There wasn’t then, nor is there now, a Lebanese Hezbollah Department 2800.  Oh sure, there probably is a Dept. 2800 at the big box retail store at your local mall, but there isn’t one in the ME.

The only place in the ME that the dreaded Lebanese Hezbollah Department 2800 exist is at the psyops department of the Israeli intelligence agency, MOSSAD.  And in the depraved minds of Petraeus and his boss, Cheney.

So pile your offerings to your god, MARS, general, pile them high.  That god surely must be pleased with the over ONE MILLION Iraqi’s we’ve killed and left at Mars altar of death.

And if the sick and twisted general gets his way, we’ll pile up another ONE MILLION or more dead Iranians, sacrificed to Petraues’ god, Mars.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, April 10, 2008 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Last I heard, not one of the troops in Petraeus’ theater was drafted or otherwise forced into service.  They’re all complicit—or brainwashed.

This is what you get when you have a Department of War rather than a Department of Defense.  There’s honor in defense, not in illegal aggression.

The Neocons couldn’t anticipate any of the complications/fallouts of mixing it up in the Middle East, even having been warned, so I see far less reason for them to anticipate what their arrogance and stupidity would do to America’s military.

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By Blueboy1938, April 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

In what I believe to be one of his most reasoned and perceptive pieces, Mr. Scheer has hit the nail on the head.  And more than once!  When a respected, accomplished General Petraeus states that, now the situation in Iraq is improved and therefor the troops must stay, when he said in the past that when the situation in Iraq is improved the troops can come home, we really have “stepped through the looking glass.”

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By Marshall, April 10, 2008 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

By Ernest Canning, April 9 at 3:14 pm #
(1436 comments total)
Re: Re: Missing the forest for the trees

Ernest - I don’t dispute Stone’s maxim; everyone lies and governments are no exception.

However, there is no “hard evidence” as you claim that the administration knew Iraq was not a threat and had no WMDs.  A simple read of the key judgements from the Oct. ‘02 NIE makes clear that our intelligence community did believe this.  In addition, two bi-partisan Senate committees have since examined this question and found no such evidence.  And the British Butler report also confirms this from their side of the pond.

You are correct that “Regime Change” was the official U.S. policy towards Iraq.  This was put in place by Clinton.

While Iraq suffered under U.N. sanctions (minus the corrupt oil for food program that Saddam exploited to his personal benefit), that didn’t lessen its ability to build nuclear weapons.  North Korea is a perfect example of an impoverished country that went nuclear.  As it turned out, Saddam wasn’t building them - but that was not because he couldn’t have.

The remainder of your post is an unsubstantiated opinion piece on what the Iraqi people thought.  The fact is that polls show that the majority of Iraqis want the continued U.S. occupation of Iraq until their new govt. and security apparatus, which they support as a majority, is functional.  So painting them as unwitting dupes to U.S. imperialism just doesn’t jibe with the data.

I’ll be happy to post legitimate (i.e. not private news sites) links to every one of the claims I make above.

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By Tom Doff, April 10, 2008 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

To most folks, ‘facts’ bear a relationship to ‘truth’ and ‘reality’.
In Bush’s alternate universe, where fantasy reigns, his latest ‘god-related whim’ is accepted as ‘fact’. Thus, figments become facts, and anything is possible.
Including the debasement of a once proud military, to embrace the figment/fact imaginings of a demented administration, in a bow to the Constitutional Concept of Civilian Control of the nation’s arms.
But the Constitution did not grant control of the definition of reality to the Civilian-in-Chief, and an honorable man, military or civilian, has a responsibility to alert the nation to factual discrepancies.
Unfortunately, the General has betrayed we, the people, in this regard.

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By via, April 10, 2008 at 10:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If he isn’t the VP on McCain’s ticket, he will be running for president in 2012.

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By Pacrat, April 10, 2008 at 10:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course Petraeus and the other phoney Crocker(so-called ambassador) adhere to the party line since they are both political appointees of this administration. Why in the hell do they even pretend that they are giving a report to Congress? Why does Congress permit such crap?

Another question: Why didn’t Petraeus have the courage to resign rather than allow himself to be used (abused) by the Bushies? Other generals did!

What may be even worse is the gutless senators and representatives who listen to this garbage without asking intelligent questions or demanding demonstrable proof of stupid assertions.

Have we truly become a nation of wimps? Led by wimps?

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By Dominick J., April 10, 2008 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Thanks Michael.  WOW it’s a huge file 27.+MB

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By LibertyWatch, April 10, 2008 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

As a command leader this person has proven that the politics in Washington DC are more important than the personnel under his command. He is willing to compromise the lives and welfare of his troops for the politically convenient spin of the moment.

If he had any honor at all he would fall on his sword for his disgrace and dishonor to his uniform, to America and most importantly to his troops in harms way.

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By Dominick J., April 10, 2008 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Michael,
Can you furnish a link to your post?

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By omop, April 10, 2008 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

if I was Patreus i would say anything that would keep me living the high life in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces.  I mean am like a Ceasar here. You put yourself in my shoes and you would do the same. Am no fool as well aa a good ass-kisser.

Lets talk turkey. Nobody has ever asked me specifically when i would call this merry go round a definite success. I mean its like asking me to give definite answer as to when I get to leave a palace for a two or three bedroom bungalo. Lets get serious already. Lika i said am no foo.

With spook Mccain talking the talk about more “preemptive wars” this time in Baghdad by the Tigris will ne the resume that will get me the nod from spook as vp come next November.

Like the dude on tv says. “and I’m loving it baby”. This sure beats that stuff goin on in the old country.

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By Michael Gass, April 10, 2008 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

A political hack is someone who will spout whatever he/she must in order to push a political agenda regardless of the facts.  Gen. Petraeus, during his testimony to Congress, has now proven to the nation that he is no longer a Commander who looks to take care of his troops but is, in fact, a GOP political hack.  The General cited the 2007 Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT) Report as evidence to Congress that troop morale is high.  In fact, Gen. Petreaus states that unit morale was twice as high in 2007 than in 2006!

Except, when a literate person with an IQ at least room temperature actually reads the report cited by Gen. Petreaus, what you learn is that in 2006 the percentage of a unit that rated morale as “very high” was 7.4% compared to 13.1% in 2007 (pg 24, Fig. 2 of the MHAT).  We also learn that compared to 2006, soldiers in 2007 “reported more difficulty accessing behavioral health services, but lower stigma associate with seeking care.  Behavorial health personnel reported a shortage of behavioral health assets and higher burnout.” (pg 4, 1.2.2 C)  “Soldiers on their third or fourth deployment were at significantly higher risk than soldiers on their first or second deployment for mental health problems and work-related problems.” (pg 4, 1.2.2 F) “Suicide rates continue to be elevated relative to historic Army rates.  Most suicides involve failed relationshiops with spouses or intimate partners.”  (pg 5, 1.2.2 I)  The MHAT recommends, among other items; Ensure adequate dwell-time between deployments.

It is also worth noting that even the figures cited in the MHAT have been “corrected” due to (1) gender, (2) rank and (3) months in theater.  As the MHAT notes, “ratings of unit morale are influenced by gender (males report higher unit morale than females); rank (NCOs rate unit morale lower than the E1-E4 group, and Officers rate unit morale higher than the E1-E-4 group) and months in theater (a detailed analysis is provided in section 6.3.1).  Each of these variables, however, differs from 2006 to 2007 (see Table 2).  Therefore, to determine whether BCT Soldiers report changes in unit morale it is necessary to normalize the data on these key variables.” (pg 25, 5.1.1)

In layman’s terms, this means that women have lower morale than men (because it’s the females who are being raped and/or sexually harrassed); NCOs rate unit morale lower (because they usually have deployed more often then the E1-E4 group and been stop-lossed), Officers rate unit morale higher (because it would be political/career suicide to speak the truth), and the E1-E4 group are simply glad to have the chance to go, as Sen. Graham put it, “kick some ass.”  And yet, unit morale for 2007 was still only 13.1% in the “very high” category?

In section 5.1.3, the MHAT states, “Using this breakdown, both individual and unit morale significantly increase from 2006 to 2007.” (pg 25)  Yet, the very next sentence states that for males in the E1-E4 group who spent 9 months deployed, the adjusted percentage of these surveyed who rated unit morale between “medium” and “very high” increased from 51.2% in 2006 to 55.4% in 2007.  Significant increase indeed!  In fact, on page 32 in Table 4, we are shown that 48.4% of the males in the E1-E4 group curse or insult NON-combatants in their presence (remember, these are innocent civilians), 19.1% reported destroying or damaging private property when it was not necessary, and 10.2% reported physically hitting/kicking NON-combatants when it was not necessary.

In September 2007, Senate Republicans effectively stopped a vote in Congress on a bill that would have mandated dwell-time for our troops and President Bush declared he would veto any such bill if it passed Congress (one of the above key recommendations in the MHAT).

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By purplewolf, April 10, 2008 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

Even if 9-11 had not have happened, Bush said around July 2000-before the illegal election theft of the White House, that his top priority was war with Iraq. Not America, jobs, health care or anything else about taking care of America first. Nope, his top number 1 thing was war with Iraq. Well he got it didn’t he?
And here we thought we were electing an American president. Since Iraq is so important to him, perhaps he should just move over there and run that country and leave America to those who really care about it. Obviously he doesn’t.

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By bozhidar bob balkas, April 10, 2008 at 6:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

one of the ruses that people use is to make complexities out of simplicities and out of simplicities complexities. naturally, if one is not aware of the strategem, one would be at sea or left in awe of wisdom of people who use such discourse. clergy and politicians are best at this and not since yesterday.
i’m not saying anything new. one can rephrase this ploy as making a mountain out of molehill and molehill outa of a mountain.
this is clear and simple: no land has the right to invade another under any known circumstance. if a gov’t does a crime, it does time; not its people.
so whether bush lied or told truth is irrelevant except if one wants to reafirm that all people lie.
thank you.

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By FloridaFrank, April 10, 2008 at 6:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow you are so smart!  I am glad you made me understand things.  The USA and the world are so much better off having invaded Iraq!

Oh who are the 6 finalists for American Idol?

Oh, there goes a kitty!

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By George in Toronto, April 10, 2008 at 4:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes anyone with a half of a brain could have known that the media and all politicians,were big fat liars then and now. If hundreds of lies were feed to Americans,then Arabs did 911 was also a lie.
Bush is really good—he got away with pulling off the bombing of WTC towers and invasion of two countries. Seems still there is a few dumb obtuse readers/posters here. No wonder America is known as dumber than dumber.

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By richard vajs, April 10, 2008 at 4:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The invasion and occupation of Iraq was and always be totally without merit. It wasn’t even about something practical like securing oil supplies. It was all about revenge for 9-11, purposefully misdirected at the Iraqis by fanatic Arab hating Zionists. Zionism is a pox upon the Mid East

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By cann4ing, April 9, 2008 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

Marshall, when are you going to come to appreciate I.F. Stone’s maxim:  “Governments lie.”  There is hard and fast evidence that the Bush regime “never” held the honest belief that Iraq posed a threat or that there were any WMD.  To the contrary, as revealed by the Downing Street Memo, they intentionally manipulated the intelligence to fit the policy.  The policy, spelled out by the Project for a New American Century and in place even before Bush took office, was regime change. 

By the time we invaded, Iraq, which had suffered for thirteen years under U.N. sanctions so devastating as to cost the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, could scarcely muster a force capable of again threatening its immediate neighbors let alone the U.S., a nation that spends more on weaponry than the rest of the world combined and has the capability of wiping out all life on the planet at the press of a button.

Yes, Bush claimed in the SOTU and repeatedly since that he desired to bring democracy to Iraq.  That is what imperialists always claim.  In fact, once we occupied, in violation of international law, the U.S. first imposed a series of edicts that privatized Iraq’s economy and placed it in the hands of U.S. multinational corporations which had no obligation to hire Iraqis and in fact flew in cheap labor from So. Asia.  At the eleventh hour, just before Iraqis were to go to the polls, Ambassador Khalizad inserted these edicts, which included the provisions immunizing the Blackwater thugs along with all other foreign contractors from Iraqi laws, into the final draft of the constitution.  5 million Iraqis went to the polls to vote up or down on a constitution that only a hand picked few had seen.  They thought they were voting for change.  In fact they had voted for a permanent occupation.  That is the “democracy” George Bush brought to Iraq. Powerless to change what the Americans had forced down their throats, the new Iraqi “leaders” where like drivers in a vehicle with no drive shaft.  They can step on the gas all they want.  They’re not going anywhere. 

George also brought a certain form of freedom to 1.1 million Iraqis and some 4,023 American troops—freedom that is from their obligation to continue to breathe.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, April 9, 2008 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

Why is there US military presence in the Middle East?
If the middle East occupied any of our land or our territories, we’d blow them away. Might makes right?

How many Iraqi planes do you think the US would allow to fly over US airspace?

Why would we attack Iraq?  Mostly everyone advised against it.

No matter what, we Americans have a warped view of our place in a global society, thanks largely to the neocon propaganda machine.

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By Dominick J., April 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena:The fact that Iraq was attacked, and that there WAS NO THREAT, was the reason that the US (despite Colin Powell’s then willingness to perpetrate the same lies) did NOT get a resolution from the UN Security Council.,
***************************************************
Isn’t what Bush did,—Invaded a Soverign Nation, depossed a Soverign Ruler without actually being under a threat of war Treason?

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By Hei Hei, April 9, 2008 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ha Ha. What a joke. Bush owns the world. Who really cares about Iraq anymore, except those whose hard-earned money is making the Bush-appointed government there filthy rich? We pretend to care about Tibet, but the truth is, the media has shoved it down our throats. We’re far more ignorant about Tibet and its workings than we are about the sorry state of our Olympic athletes, and we just don’t care to hear about the atrocities we continue to commit in the name of “democracy.”

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By Maani, April 9, 2008 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

Keep in mind that Adm. Williams Fallon, Chief of CENTCOM, called Petraeus “an ass-kissing little chickenshit.”  In that spirit, here is part of an article from Truthout:

Remember: They Are All Liars
by William Rivers Pitt

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, along with a slew of administration underlings and a revolving-door cavalcade of brass hats from the Pentagon, have been making claims regarding Iraq for many years now.

  They claimed Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, “enough to kill several million people,” according to a page on the White House web site titled Disarm Saddam Hussein.

  They lied.

  They claimed Iraq was in possession of 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin.

  They lied.

  They claimed Iraq was in possession of 500 tons, which equals 1,000,000 pounds, of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.

  They lied.

  They claimed Iraq was in possession of nearly 30,000 munitions capable of delivering these agents.

  They lied.

  They claimed Iraq was in possession of several mobile biological weapons labs.

  They lied.

  They claimed Iraq was operating an “advanced” nuclear weapons program.

  They lied.

  They claimed Iraq had been seeking “significant quantities” of uranium from Africa for use in this “advanced” nuclear weapons program.

  They lied.

  They claimed Iraq attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes “suitable for nuclear weapons.”

  They lied.

  They claimed America needed to invade, overthrow and occupy Iraq in order to remove this menace from our world. “It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country,” went the White House line, “to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.”

  They lied.

Remainder of article:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/printer_040808J.shtml

Peace.

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By cyrena, April 9, 2008 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

Well, Aegrus answered this well, just by pointing out a couple of things, although there is certainly proof of so much more. But, I’ll add to this part, since it is at the crux of the issue

•  “..There is no precedent for destroying a country in order to turn it into a Democracy. I do find it contradictory to state:…

Not only is there no precedent for this, it is a violation of the laws of the Geneva Convention, and specifically article 51.

The fact that Iraq was attacked, and that there WAS NO THREAT, was the reason that the US (despite Colin Powell’s then willingness to perpetrate the same lies) did NOT get a resolution from the UN Security Council.

Please understand Marshall, that it isn’t because they didn’t TRY. Rumsfeld as well as Powell, and Addington, and all of the others from Cheney’s team who were working this up, KNEW that they needed a Resolution (from the UN) to do an attack on Iraq. (Bush I DID get a resolution from them for his Gulf War) So, they DID attempt that, which was why they made up all of the stories that all proved to be lies about WMD.

Still, they DID know that the laws required this resolution, and so they did attempt to get it. The UN Security Council WOULD NOT approve it, and so they very quietly withdrew the request, and proceeded with the attack anyway; one that had been planned LONG before that SOU, because the plan is built-in to the PNAC. (I can only wonder if you’ve ever even read it).

It is a violation of all international law to invade another sovereign nation state for the purposes of changing their form of government, and even if that WAS sanctioned, there are obviously multiple other nation states that may have justified a military response from any other nation state, (including the US) for the purposes of protecting it’s civilian population, such as in the cases of genocide. But we’ve NOT done that, because none of those places have been sitting on the 2nd largest supply of oil on the globe.

Besides, invasion of another state for the purposes of regime change is clearly a violation of all laws of the land, and that’s not new.

If in fact the US was concerned about establishing a Democracy somewhere in the Middle East,(still not allowed by international law) they would have started with Saudi Arabia, unarguably the MOST repressive place over there. Iraq, as it WAS under Saddam Hussein, was actually the closest to a secular state OVER THERE. The people of Iraq, (pre-US invasion) enjoyed a higher standard of living far above those of other Middle Eastern nations, DESPITE the fact that Saddam Hussein was a tyrannical dictator. What do you see different about the government in Egypt (same guy for 37 years, now grooming his son) or Saudi Arabia, long a monarchy/theocracy? Only the difference in their long established relationships with the neo-Cons, including Bush I and the Carlyle Group.

Again, Saddam Hussein was NOT a threat, and this administration KNEW that, so there was never any ‘belief’ of a threat, and Donald Rumsfeld stated himself, immediately after the invasion, that the US was NOT ‘in the business of nation building.”

As for ‘directives’ and instructions to Saddam pre-invasion, that too is hype. The hype that was spread at the time, (that many still believe, including Hillary Clinton) is that Saddam was not allowing the inspectors in. HE DID allow them in, and they were there until the US told them to get out!! In fact, Hans Blix and his team had been there since the previous September, and he was about to complete the report CONFIRMING that Saddam had NO WMD or other biological weapons.

Anyone continuing to believe otherwise is willfully remaining in denial, because that information has long been available.

It is also outlined, (and clearly) in the PNAC. Check that, and the signatories to that ‘doctrine’ as well. It calls for GLOBAL domination by the US Military. How much clearer does that have to be?

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, April 9, 2008 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

In summarizing for myself the last 10 years, there’s much to feel really bad about: 9/11 and the loss of 3000+ lives, the lies, alqaida, OBL and his ilk, all the killed and maimed in Iraq and Afganistan, Kim Yung Il,  etc, etc.  But what I feel the worst about is that George Bush, that little pea of a human being, has rendered the congressional opposition (if there really is any) entirely impotent, has made a mockery of our constitution and MOST of ALL, has made FOOLS and LAUGHING STOCKS of the American people.

This country has yet to heal from the 60’s and 70’s.
Now this.

Words, words and more and more and yet even more words.  Here comes Iran.  Are you ready?

BTW, why should Americans be obliged to “support” troops who volunteer to enter the military knowing
what the job will entail?  If there were a draft and people were inducted into service against their will, then they would deserve our support.  Isn’t this another sloganized rally cry to make us feel guilty?  Unless, of course, you believe they’re “defending” America, as Bush, the pea, would have us believe.

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By Margaret Currey, April 9, 2008 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

During the Middle Ages in Europe there was so much war and plumdering that the people got tired of it, Europe has no taste for war, war is for DICTATORS, AND THAT IS WHAT BUSH/CHANEY WANT.

IF THE 9/11 THING HAD NOT HAPPENED THERE WOULD STILL BE A WAR, BECAUSE THEN YOU HAVE WAR POWERS.  Chaney wanted war to increase the presidential powers, the president is but a puppet to the Chaney Mind.

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By Rogelio, April 9, 2008 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

I do not have a problem with Congress interrogating General Patraeus regarding Iraq. However, I am bothered by the partisan poitics that take place. Our main focus regarding this media event was what the three major candidates had to say about the war (sorry conflict)in Iraq.

Again, as before, where is the outrage at the bullsh*t that the president and the military are feeding the American people? Did we really anticipate General Betrayal to see anything other than the war is going in the right direction? The ‘w’ administration should be ashamed of themselves, that is if they have any conscious.

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By Aegrus, April 9, 2008 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

None of the decision makers believed Iraq posed any threat, Marshall. It was a lie drummed by the mainstream media on the march to war, which got little to no skepticism. Iraq never posed a threat, and talking about the no-fly-zone activity is pretty flimsy evidence for military action and occupation.

There is no precedent for destroying a country in order to turn it into a Democracy. I do find it contradictory to state:

a)There was true belief amongst decision makers Iraq actually posed a threat to the USA (Something anyone with half a brain could have figured out was wrong when presented with actualevidence back in 2001)

b)There was intent to build the biggest political embassy in the world within Iraq’s boarders.

Those two statements conflict because intent on building a huge foreign presence in Iraq had nothing to do with preemptive military force to stop a possible attack on America.

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By Marshall, April 9, 2008 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

Ernest - your post is the only level-headed comment in this forum so far, so it’s worth responding to.

“The Bush regime did not invade Iraq because it posed a threat.”

Correct - it invaded because it *believed* it posed a threat.  It was largely wrong, but this is hind site.

One of the stated goals of the pre-invasion SOTU that Bush gave was in fact the liberation and democratization of the Iraqi people.  Certainly not the main reason, but one of many.

I disagree that this was an unprovoked attack.  Not only had Saddam been shooting at our no-fly planes for years, but he’d been given ample warning that an attack was on the way and ample instruction on how to prevent it.

I agree with you that our intent included securing a permanent base of operations in Iraq.  This goes hand in hand with turning Iraq into a Democratic ally and I support it.

We also brought AQ to Iraq - I agree there as well.  This has been an unintended consequence of our failure to prosecute the war well.  It’s also one of the important reasons that withdrawal is a bad option.

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By Snoopy, April 9, 2008 at 11:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A comment totally missed by the Senators (paraph),
The General: “...the Sunnis, and ‘other’ elements of Al Qaeda.”  This man is as out of touch with reality as are his masters.

Not only are we actively immersed in this civil war, we have, at least in the South, begun bombing one group of Shiites which opposes another. These field commanders seem to be confused.

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By Marshall, April 9, 2008 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

“It is an abdication of civilian control of the military, the basic principle of American constitutional governance, to assign a central role to an active duty general to make the decision to end the war.”

Petraeus isn’t making policy, he’s testifying before the civilian policy makers that will.  How is this abdication?

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By Thomas Billis, April 9, 2008 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Ah the smell of fresh cooked and utter bullshit coming from Capital Hill.Not one question about oil.Our kids are dying for oil in Iraq and not one of our elected officials has the guts to ask questions concerning oil.Instead we were served 7 courses of well prepared bullshit.If there were five star chefs of bullshit they would all be on Capital Hill.I think the democrats had theirs medium rare.

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By cann4ing, April 9, 2008 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

The narrow focus of the Petraeus hearing misses the forest for the trees.

The Bush regime did not invade Iraq because it posed a threat.  There were no WMDs, no links to 9/11 or al Qaeda.  We certainly did not invade to bring freedom and democracy to Iraqis.  The purpose was spelled out by the neocons in the Project for a New American Century—an imperial conquest designed to secure a permanent base of operations in the oil rich Middle East.  It was this unprovoked invasion and occupation that brought al Qaeda to Iraq, set off sectarian violence and now sees the pro-occupation Shiites in the al-Maliki regime attacking the anti-occupation Shiite militias in Basra.

As our national treasury is drained and both American and Iraqi blood continues to spill into Iraq’s oil-laden soil, the only “winning” strategy is the one that brings an immediate end to this imperial folly.

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By ElkoJohn, April 9, 2008 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

Robert,
everything you say is true
except
the war is not about Iraq
it’s about the oil
what can you say
about the real underlying cause
for our presense in the Middle East
THE OIL
until this cause is brought out in the open
and debated
all other arguments for not being in Iraq
are wasted

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By QuyTran, April 9, 2008 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

General “Betray Us” is a good eggs sucker ! He doesn’t care about his troops but only for “his” debauched Emperor.

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By purplewolf, April 9, 2008 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

It is unfortunate for this country that we cannot apply the, “you broke it, you bought it” rule to George and company and make them take the whole mess known as Iraqi Bullsh*t, whatever mission name it has this week, with them when they finally vacate the White House.

Naturally, idiot boy George will only keep his advisers on as long as they say what he wants. The second they stray from HIS game-plan, they are gone and another male(usually)BIMBO advisor takes the newest opening in Bushco Inc.

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By Dominick J., April 9, 2008 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Petraeus answered his first question from a written statement in front of him.  He read it as if he already knew what the first question was going to be and never even addressed the question, which the Senator had to repeat.  In that statement he said we got rid of a saddam, who was a bad man and did bad things to his people!  Which, of course, wasn’t the intent of “Bush’s War” to begin with.
He’s a Yes Man for Bush and I wouldn’t have expected him to say anything different than what he did and that was NOT to answer the question but skirt around it!  He is a war criminal and a scoundrel to boot.

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amunaor's avatar

By amunaor, April 9, 2008 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Ex-Centcom chief Admiral William Fallon told Petraeus that he was “an ass-kissing little chickenshit” and added, “I hate people like that”.

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By Gary Rosenblum, April 9, 2008 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mission accomplished: Bush will leave office now without being proven to be a fool played by Bin Laden like a fiddle; without being proven to have created the worst foreign policy blunder in American history; without being proven the world’s leading hypocrite for being the “imperial president” who can unilaterally decide on torture and wiretapping of citizens, while hiding behind his handpicked General to allow this continuing blunder to set our economy back 20 years; without being proven to be the worst most damaging President in American history and most infuriatingly, now the Republicans will be able to use the post-American occupation chaos that these delay tactics make inevitible to claim that the next Democratic President “lost” the war.

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By Bill Blackolive, April 9, 2008 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When it becomes generally accepted there is a 9/11 coverup, we may cease to dance upon the silly surface of these matters.

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By Sophie Jensen, April 9, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

it’s also about profit. for legislators in both parties.
http://www.capitaleye.org/inside.asp?ID=342

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By jatihoon, April 9, 2008 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

When you cant kick them lick them, is the new “Mantra,” now what’s wrong with that? or do what Iraqies’s do, when someone of their kin die they beat there chests with both hand and screams “Oh Allah why us.” Give Petraeus & Crocker some credit for learning and following Iraqi way of life, after all it is there country.

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By Rob Thair, April 9, 2008 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The bottom line here is that not only did he betray us, but, more importantly to a soldier, he is responsible for all the deaths and injuries to those under his command.  This is the ultimate coward; he will go down in history as Bush’s foremost military lackie.

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By bozhidar bob balkas, April 9, 2008 at 8:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

most of the questions put to petraeus were peripheral or about tactics. apodictic principle that no land has the right to attack another under no known circusatnce wasn’t even mentioned let alone studied. the end goal also was avoided. no causative factors for US aggresion was proffered; reasons yes! but reasonrs are not factors; they represent mostly the wishful/deceptive thinkig. avoidance of basics has also causative factors. and if one would have asked petraeus about the avoidance he most likely would have replied with another avoidance. and the second avoidance would have its causes. what this anlyses show or, rather, prove is that a politico, a general has many skirts in her bag: many mini, maxi, and medium. i no longer listen to obama, clinton, et al. i do not read what they write or say except to once agin affirm analyses. thank you

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By Ivan Hentschel, April 9, 2008 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Precisely. The congress and the POTUS and Cheney are banking on the American people being stupid.

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By Hugo Nahuel, April 9, 2008 at 7:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Read the article. Rehash of what has been said. Unfair and unwarranted. Cannot understand why you, Robert Scheer,  did not wait until these hearings are over so that you could present a better balanced piece. Unable to view hearings yesterday, April 8 due to circumstances.Was hoping you would provide a summation of testimony; key objections and support comments by the different senators.And having provided that, then your opinion.

Overall, I feel more confident with Petraeus. Not because I support the war or do not support the war. What I support are the men and women in uniform in a supranational conflict which is costly and has gone on longer than, from our Western framework of perception, is considered acceptable.

On the other hand, the inner conflicts between the followers of the Caliphate and the followers of the direct descendants of Muhammad is centuries old.

I was born in South America. I have participated in struggles that date back to decades before the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620 and have yet to be settled. Thus my comment about their inner conflicts in the paragraph above.

I offer no solution. I merely will continue to support our men and women in uniform, not forget the men and women in uniform of our allies and hope for an end to this conflict as soon as time and circumstances permit.

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By Aegrus, April 9, 2008 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

Our government is just a self-perpetuating dynasty of debasement to our Constitution. This is just one of the many symptoms.

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By Ivan Hentschel, April 9, 2008 at 6:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It seems fairly clear that we everyone here is not at all surprised, but rather disappointed, tired of the rhetoric and bored by the predictable flat-lining that went on yesterday.Another waste of time, travel money and hot air. Dr. Know it all, I finally thoroughly agree with you on something. Cyrena, you talk too much: we got your point after the second paragraph. Are you running for office?Chill a little, please.Purple Girl,none of these wooden Indians realize they work for themselves. We don’t have pubic servants anymore: we have over-paid, ego-stuffed image makers.

And once again, an event that was a non-event, has captured the headlines and taken up space for nothing. It is genuinely hard to keep believing in the future when you are faced with such a vacuum of any real truth, coming from these cardboard cut-outs.

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By Jim Yell, April 9, 2008 at 6:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Republican Party brought us Sadaam Hussien. Supported him and nourished him in hopes of getting back at Iran. As revenge goes it was very predicatable we allowed Bush/Cheney to shoot the nation in the foot.

Iraq was not involved in 9/11, but for decades the Saudi royal family paid for radical religious schools, insist that their personal religious views should rightly be forced upon the world and have largely even after being bit on the ass by their own Frankenstien’s monster, hide the finanacial transactions that fund terror.

The Saudi’s have funded the Bush family, used the oil money to further corrupt our political system and still a large group of politically placed people talk about our national interest in regards to Iraq.

Any action we took due to 9/11 should have had negative consequences for the Saudi who funded and inspired terror. Doesn’t anyone notice this? Doesn’t anyone remember that Reagan turned the focus away from freeing us of our over dependence on oil. If we had have had the extra decades of active requirements to find new ways and better ways to use our energy, do you really think any case could be made to be involved in the ugly mess of the middle east? The treason if it exists in the country is located in the White House, The congress, The Republican party and those in the Democratic Party that still enable this gangster administration to corrupt and destroy the nation.

After all of the people this administrations actions have killed in their own country and their own homes due to their lies, Perhaps this is all we deserve at this point.

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By The Old Hooligan, April 9, 2008 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Why does gutless Congress even bother with holding these utterly pointless Dog and Pony shows? Nobody is really fooled, certainly nobody is mollified.

And this BS about Congress doing “The People’s Business?” I don’t think “Monkey Business” is what the American people had in mind, frankly.

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By Conservative Yankee, April 9, 2008 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People writing here really need to listen to some Buffy St. Marie. 

Particularly her “Universal Soldier” cut where she says “...and without him all this killing can’t go on.”

They might also wish to read some of the decisions that came from Nuremberg (a little town in Germany for you youngsters). One such constraint is: A soldier ordered to commit a criminal act has the obligation to refuse the order, if he fails to refuse he is guilty of a war crime.

I understand the plight of the service men & women, but to exempt them from the responsibility of listening to their conscience is a far too liberal path for this taxpayer!

They see the death and destruction…the dead children… far clearer then we, and to say they are just pawns is far more demeaning than saying they are all “baby-killers” 

You know, I really getting sick of all this political correctness. Murder is murder In Iraq, Israel, Ireland, Lebanon, Palestine, and Haiti… Just as it is murder here on the Streets of Miami, Lewiston, Seattle, or Fresno. If you are pulling the trigger, YOU are the perpetrator. This line “we’re all guilty” (really meaning you can’t finger anyone) is crap!  I’d be more sympathetic to the “left” if they were honest and fair

Bush couldn’t fight this battle without help!

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, April 9, 2008 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

If the president listened to, and obeyed his
employer(s) as well as Petraeus listens to his, this fucking war would be over.

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By DaveF, April 9, 2008 at 6:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem is not Petraeus, nor do I think he’s “siding” with the president.  The bottom line is this: our military was/is tasked with an unbelievably flawed mission. 

So our generals and troops have to do what is necessary to succeed.  I

If Petraeus asks for more time or more troops, for example, he is basing these decisions on his expertise in order to complete this impossible mission.

Criticism should go toward the POLICY; not the MILITARY which is the conduit for a mission’s success.

I want to leave just as much as anyone: and to think Petraeus doesn’t want to leave (who spends much of his own time actually in Iraq), is as insane as our Retard-in-Charge, Bush.

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By Aegrus, April 9, 2008 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

Don’t mistake the servicemen with the people who perpetuate occupation and illegal wars. Bush is the enemy, and it is a mistake to go after those small fish who he uses to bait people away from his scent.

Petraeus is Scooter Libby II.

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By Aegrus, April 9, 2008 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

Can we please not take out our aggression on Petraeus? He’s a pawn with a bit of ambition in a scheme to take the eye off of George Bush and Dick Cheney. It’s the only way they can put any illusion of legitimacy on the Iraq Occupation. Please stop feeding from the spin trough.

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By cyrena, April 9, 2008 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

I’m posting this in empathy/understanding with those of you who are so pissed off with Clinton and Obama, (or any other democratic Senator perceived as saying less than they should have in today’s ‘hearings’ if ya wanna call them that.)
I do feel the frustration myself, but I also viewed the proceedings differently, based on pragmatism and the reality of how much could actually ‘be accomplished’ in that setting, and at this time. This is just the first part of the article. The link to the remainder is at the bottom.

I’ve also posted the same on another thread.

General Entrap-Us or General Entrapped?
  By Ira Chernus
  TomDispatch.com
  Sunday 06 April 2008

Democrats should treat Petraeus and his surge as irrelevant.

  It was supposed to be a “cakewalk.” General Petraeus would come to Congress, armed with his favorite charts showing that the “surge” had dramatically reduced violence in Iraq. He would earn universal acclaim for his plan to “pause” troop reductions from July until after the election in November - the same plan that John McCain counts on to help him win that election.

  When it comes to Iraq, though, the Bush administration’s cakewalks never seem to turn out as planned. The renewed violence of these last weeks in Iraq, and the prospect of more to come, gives war critics ample ammunition for a counterattack. The Democrats, including Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, may find it irresistible to assault the general, and the President, with every argument they can muster in the hearings this week. However, a recent report suggests they may resist that impulse and treat the impact of the surge as an irrelevant issue.

(there is a link to the report in the full article)

  Let’s hope that report is right, because a debate focused on military success or failure is a trap, with Petraeus’s testimony as the bait. After all, no debate in Congress will really be about the level of violence in Iraq. “Has the surge worked?” is just a symbolic way of asking: “Would you rather believe that America is a winner or a loser?” And in any battle over patriotic symbolism, the Republicans always seem to have the bigger guns.

  So the Democrats would be smart to refuse the bait and insist that this is not an old-fashioned World War II- style conflict, where force can produce a clear-cut winner. Then they could refocus the debate on two crucial truths: We have no right to be in Iraq; the sooner we get out, the sooner we can begin to heal the terrible damage the war has done to us here at home.

  Decoding the Battle over Iraq
  It should have been obvious all along that the Republicans do not mean it literally when they claim that reducing violence in Iraq is their highest priority. It’s not likely that too many of them care a whole lot about the killing and maiming of Iraqis. So when they speak so urgently about lower levels of violence, it’s a coded way of saying something else; in fact, a lot of things.

  For starters, “reduced violence” is a way to conjure up an image of American “success” in a war in which no real success (forget about “victory”) is possible. The level of violence is the only concrete yardstick the administration has come up with to gauge the success of the surge- no small matter when a successful surge has become the prime symbol of achievement for U.S. troops and so for the President’s (and John McCain’s) war policies. Because the Bush administration still hopes to sell its failing war to the public by turning it into a gripping story of winners and losers, “violence” has been its currency, its coin of the realm.

Full piece here with other links

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/040708E.shtml

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By Thomas Billis, April 9, 2008 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

The oil crusades continue.They ought to have the CEO’s of the major oil companies upo there to testify on what we are doing in Iraq and how long we are going to stay.They are making the decisions anyway.At least from them maybe we could get a straight answer.It was about oil at the beginning and it is about oil now.

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By Jaded Prole, April 9, 2008 at 4:32 am Link to this comment

Did anyone expect Patreaus to say anything different? He’s a neocon insider and a war criminal.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, April 9, 2008 at 4:21 am Link to this comment

There is no Need for any further Discussion. Not only has the Surge NOT worked, the War has been a Facade for the entities which move ‘in the shadows ’ of Gov’t & Industry.
81% say we are on the wrong path. In a Democracy- that WINS the Arguement!
Not only should Petraeus & Crocker Realize they Work for US- so should the Admin and CONGRESS. WE Are NOT ASKING these employees to end this Fiasco- WE are Demanding IT! It infuratiates me the Show that is being Put on by Congress to pretend they are Doing their Job- they are Not and HAVE NOT over the last 7 yrs!
Every employee who Voted for this Invasion, continued funding, allowed the numerous acts of Abuse of Power (thus Treason) should be sitting at that Table and answering to Charges of complicity, Dereliction of duty, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. Only a handful of those Seated ‘at the big table’ are free to go on about their jobs- the rest are Co conspirators, or at the very least too inept to keep their posistions. Petraeus & Crocker are small fish- irrelevant. The Big fish sit in the WH and in Congress (and theSCOTUS)

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By Richard Friedman, April 9, 2008 at 4:01 am Link to this comment

Could not have said it better myself.  Too bad neither Obama nor Clinton lack the guts to tell it like it is.

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