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Iraq’s Tragic Future

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Posted on Feb 5, 2008
Iraqi
AP photo / Khalid Mohammed

Mohammed Salman sits in the rubble of what used to be a book market in Baghdad. His brother died in the explosion.

By Scott Ritter

(Page 2)

The United States’ embrace of the “awakening” will go down in the history of the Iraq conflict as one of the gravest strategic errors made in a field of grave errors. The U.S. military in Iraq has never fully understood the complex interplay between the Sunni resistance, al-Qaida in Iraq, and the former government of Saddam Hussein. Saddam may be dead, but not so his plans for resistance. The massive security organizations which held sway over Iraq during his rule were never defeated, and never formally disbanded. The organs of security which once operated as formal ministries now operate as covert cells, functioning along internal lines of communication which are virtually impenetrable by outside forces. These security organs gave birth to al-Qaida in Iraq, fostered its growth as a proxy, and used it as a means of sowing chaos and fear among the Iraqi population.


The violence perpetrated by al-Qaida in Iraq is largely responsible for the inability of the central government in Baghdad to gain any traction in the form of unified governance. The inability of the United States to defeat al-Qaida has destroyed any hope of generating confidence among the Iraqi population in the possibility of stability emerging from an ongoing American occupation. But al-Qaida in Iraq is not a physical entity which the United States can get its hands around, but rather a giant con game being run by Izzat al-Douri and the Sunni resistance. Because al-Qaida in Iraq is derived from the Sunni resistance, it can be defeated only when the Sunni resistance is defeated. And the greatest con game of them all occurred when the Sunni resistance manipulated the United States into arming it, training it and turning it against the forces of al-Qaida, which it controls. Far from subduing the Sunni resistance by Washington’s political and military support of the “awakening,” the United States has further empowered it.  It is almost as if we were arming and training the Viet Cong on the eve of the Tet offensive during the Vietnam War.


Keeping in mind the fact that the Sunni resistance, led by al-Douri, operates from the shadows, and that its influence is exerted more indirectly than directly, there are actual al-Qaida elements in Iraq which operate independently of central Sunni control, just as there are Sunni tribal elements which freely joined the “awakening” in an effort to quash the forces of al-Qaida in Iraq. The diabolical beauty of the Sunni resistance isn’t its ability to exert direct control over all aspects of the anti-American activity in Sunni Iraq, but rather to manipulate the overall direction of activity through indirect means in a manner which achieves its overall strategic aims. The Sunni resistance continues to use al-Qaida in Iraq as a useful tool for seizing the strategic focus of the American military occupiers (and their Iraqi proxies in the Green Zone), as well as controlling Sunni tribal elements which stray too far off the strategic course (witness the recent suicide bomb assassination of senior Sunni tribal leaders). 2008 will see the collapse of the Sunni “awakening” movement, and a return to large-scale anti-American insurgency in western Iraq. It will also see the continued viability of al-Qaida in Iraq in terms of being an organization capable of wreaking violence and dictating the pace of American military involvement in directions beneficial to the Sunni resistance and detrimental to the United States.


One of the spinoffs of the continued success of the Sunni resistance is the focus it places on the inability of the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad to actually govern. The U.S. decision to arm, train and facilitate the various Sunni militias in Iraq is a de facto acknowledgement that the American occupiers have lost confidence in the high-profile byproduct of the “purple finger revolution” of January 2005. The sham that was that election has produced a government trusted by no one, even the Shiites. The ongoing unilateral cease-fire imposed by the Muqtada al-Sadr on his Mahdi Army prevented the outbreak of civil war between his movement and that of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and its militia, the Badr Brigade.

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When Saddam’s security forces dissolved on the eve of the fall of Baghdad in March 2003, the security organs which had been tasked with infiltrating the Shiite community for the purpose of spying on Shiites were instead instructed to embed themselves deep within the structures of that community. Both the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade are heavily infiltrated with such sleeper elements, which conspire to create and exploit fractures between these two organizations under the age-old adage of divide and conquer. A strategic pause in the conflict between the Mahdi Army and the U.S. military on the one hand and the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade on the other has served to strengthen the hand of the Mahdi Army by allowing time for it to rearm and reorganize, increasing its efficiency as a military organization all the while its political opposite, the SCIRI-dominated central Iraqi government, continues to falter.


Further exacerbating the situation for the American occupiers of Iraq is the ongoing tension created by the war of wills between the United States and Iran. The Sunni resistance has no love for the Shiite theocracy in Tehran, or its proxies in Iraq, and views creating a rift between the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade as a strategic imperative on the road to a Sunni resurgence. Any U.S. military strike against Iran will bring with it the inevitable Shiite backlash in Iraq. The Shiite forces that emerge as the most independent of the American occupier will be, in the minds of the Sunni resistance, the most capable of winning the support of the Shiites of Iraq. Given the past record of cooperation between the Mahdi Army and the Sunni resistance, and the ongoing antipathy between Sunnis and SCIRI, there can be little doubt which Shiite entity the Sunnis will side with when it comes time for a decisive conflict between the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade, and 2008 will be the year which witnesses such a conflict.


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By CorkExaminer, February 14, 2008 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Scott.  Nice to see that somebody still believes in good old fashioned reality and ethics.

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By bogi666, February 12, 2008 at 7:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

he is a nut case

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By bogi666, February 11, 2008 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Mission accomplished 2, The Surge”, directed, produced and starring G.W. Bush in his flight uniform complete with bulge.The American military has ceded areas in Iraq to Sunni groups and pay them not to attack American troops. HOW IS THIS NOT A SURRENDER. Now those groups are asking for more money not to attack American troops, surprise!What happened to WE DON’T TALK TO ‘TERRISTS’. WHAT HAPPENED TO “Not 1 cent for tribute but $trillions for defense”? Now the Same Sunni’s are extorting money from the American military. They’ve Awakened all right, that the gullibility and ignorance of America cannot be overestimated. Just ask Chalabi and the Hamburg taxi driver whose information laid the basis for invading Iraq despite the fact that he is a certified mental case.

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By wilson, February 10, 2008 at 2:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Buker Buster Nukes on the 2000 targets in earthquake prone Iran; irradiate the water of the entire Mideast. The goal can only be a Zionist goal: “...to inflict wrath upon the goyim” and depopulate the Muslim world. And American taxpayers are in the process of commiting moral suicide.

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By Pashupati, February 10, 2008 at 12:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All of you who are commenting about Brezeznski amuse me.  The man is inherently evil and if you don’t know why you have not done your homework.  That Obama even dreams of using this man as an “advisor” shows that Obama doesn’t have a clue.
Brezezinski has an agenda and he sees this inroad into Baraks sphere of influence as a way to get back onto the real power stage ... he has tasted it once and saw what incredible damage to the world he could inflict. He probably was beside himself having to watch from the wilderness of think tanks etc… at how the neo cons were able to put their sick policies into action ...
If Obabma becomes President then this individual will have gotten what he wants and there will be big trouble ... In a certain sense he is much more dangerous than the neo cons ...
Go do your homework ... look at the total life of this individual and find out, like many of you did with the sick mind of W, what makes him tick and what he will do with another chance at unfettered power.
Americans, even intellectuals such as yourselves, are in need of a big wake up call as to who you allow to influence the mostly weak and insecure people you choose to be your leaders.

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By David, February 9, 2008 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The US people and the Iraqis must understand that they have the pro-Israeli neocons to thank for this mess.  The PNAC neocons, AIPAC and AEI worked and connived their little butts off to push us into war with Iraq for one purpose only, to supposedly increase the security of Israel.

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By nefertiti, February 9, 2008 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

I have 3 photos of iraq

women BEFORE US sanctions and occupation

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4613/1659/1600/iraqi qirls 64.jpg

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4613/1659/320/iraqi girls 46 2.jpg

Iraqi women NOW In basra

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4613/1659/1600/1.0.jpg

from this blog (photos from May 2006)

http://www.thewomaniwasblog.blogspot.com/

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By mieke, February 9, 2008 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With much respect for Mr. Ritter I just want to ask him one question. Why would we leave Iraq just when everything is going the way it is supposed to? There are two camps those with a public agenda and those with a hidden agenda, who put smiling faces on everything they do that is untoforward. They just need to keep us believing long enough that all is well in the state of Iraq until their agenda is secured.

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By Joe, February 8, 2008 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stephen- thanks for your reply. You noted:
“..turning to someone as hawkish as Zbig.”

Actually, Z is the polar opposite of hawkish. See the article at:
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0514-25.htm

“..he [Brzezinski] wrote that attacking Iran absent an imminent threat and without Security Council approval, “either alone or in complicity with Israel,” would make it [the US] “an international outlaw.”

Brzezinski poses for his government choices based on likely outcomes. He is, in effect, a systems analyst, his strategy board the expanse of history. Surely he has made mistakes but he is not even the same species as the murderous incompetent, Henry Kissinger.

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By Nabih Ammari, February 8, 2008 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Iraq’s Tragic Future February 5

Dear Mr. Scott Ritter,

I respectfully refer you to a post I have written as
a response to your article entitled “The Five Iraqs”,
dated January 2,2008.

In that post of mine,I have written that the reality
on the ground in Iraq has not been dictated by the
U.S. or by Iran, but by politically untainted
“undercurrents”.The word “undercurrents” is the real
operative word in the whole paragraph.I just did not
know and was unable to specify the break down of the
composition of the “undercurrents”.Therefore,thank you very much for spelling out,in such an accurate
specificity,the forces which have dictated the path
and magnitude of the Iraqi national resistance,in
your article Re to above.Outstanding.

Although,I do hope that you are wrong about the
eventual and ultimate death of Iraq,I firmly believe
that there is not a single soul/person,in the U.S.
political arena or sphere,who can match your profound
knowledge and critical analysis of the reality on the
ground in Iraq.I say this because I happened to know
the Iraqi people very well and the political forces
that had run their affairs,in the seventies and the
eighties,through working with them on behalf of a
multi-nationals American corporation.The sooner the
occupying forces get out of Iraq,the better for every
sides involved in this criminally instigated war by
the self-appointed “experts” Neoconservatives chicken
hawks who were never elected by anybody and yet,by
hook or crook,succeeded in high-jacking the current
Administration’s policy,actions and inactions for the Iraq,Palestine and Lebanon.Enough is enough of
their garbages.The American people will eventually
be living in absolute poverty if this war in Iraq
continues.It is bankrupting us in every angle you may
wish to look at. Get out and just let the untainted
real Iraqi nationalists determine their destiny, not
bunches of puppets to the U.S. and Iran;and who live
in the comfort of the American Green Zone in Baghdad.

Mr. Ritter,I really feel I cannot thank you enough
for a really brilliant assessment of an extremely
complex political mosaic of the agonized Iraq.Superb.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By John Taylor, February 8, 2008 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If America pulls out of Iraq, Iran’s shiite gov’t will fill the vacuum. This, more than Iran’s nuke program is the greater concern for the administration. This means total Iranian (Russian/Chinese) control of the strategic Straits of Hormuz. The US will not let that happen. The problem will be left for Madam President to resolve. Expect more false flag terrorism followed by a joint US Israeli invasion of Iran with tactical nukes. It will be ugly and could likely ignite ww3. I don’t envy the next president.
By the way Russia has been conducting Mediterranean manoeuvers with fully armed ships and planes.

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By Stephen Smoliar, February 8, 2008 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Joe, thanks for setting the record straight.  In a similar vein it is worth recognizing, out of fairness, that Brzezinski was far from alone in advocating armed support for the mujaheddin.  Having recognized all that, however, I still have to wonder just what Obama was thinking in turning to someone as hawkish as Zbig.  It seems to me that much of Chalmers Johnson’s analysis of blowback always seems to trace back to hawkish policies, decisions, and actions, while much of Obama’s appeal seems to reside in his opposition to such policies, decisions, and actions.  On the other hand Obama may just want to use Brzezinski as the “big stick” he carries while he speaks softly!

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By not cynical enough, February 7, 2008 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only candidate Scott Ritter could advice is Ron Paul. The others have their owners who have already picked advisers for them.

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By Jules, February 7, 2008 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree and thought the same when I heard about this video. It seems ironic for us to be worried about this as the military recruiters have complete access to our own schools here, tempting children just past puberty with the “opportunity” of joining the armed forces. The hypocrisy is mind blowing. The reality is we are indeed furthering terrorism by continuing conflict in Iraq and the middle east. Democracy begins here. Is it too late for us as well?
Thank you Mr. Ritter for your clarity and your voice. You articulate the urgency of this crisis like few do.Our own democracy has a festering wound brought about by years of special interests bound in fossil fuel which we have allowed into our government like a parasite invading its host. Quite unfortunately, the host is oblivious to its own demise!

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By Joe, February 7, 2008 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stephen-  You are getting your info from corrupt sources. Brzezinski, after initially accepting the Shah as a stabilizing influence in the region, came to despise the man and the abuses he committed. Even the Republican author Slater Bakhtavar, president and founder of Republican Youth of America <cut> a frequent commentator and respected analyst on foreign policy issues, ...
(last sentence written by unknown commentator, so I can’t credit him)

see:
http://www.theconservativevoice.com/profile/2653


Bakhtavar credits Carter and, by extension his security adviser Brzezinski, with laying down the law with the Shah.

“The Shah of Iran was accused of torturing over 3000 prisoners. Under the banner of promoting human rights, Carter made excessive demands of the Shah, threatening to withhold military and social aid. Carter pressured the Shah to release “political prisoners,” whose ranks included radical fundamentalists, communists and terrorists. Many of these individuals are now among the opponents we face in our “war on terrorism.”

“The Carter Administration insisted that the Shah disband military tribunals, demanding they be replaced by civil courts. The effect was to allow trials to serve as platforms for anti-government propaganda. Carter pressured Iran to permit “free assembly,” which encouraged and fostered fundamentalist anti-government rallies.” This last well-intentioned push helped the Iranians get rid of their tormentor, the Shah. As things go, he was replaced by the religious leader Khomeini, who gave Carter unending grief.

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By Stephen Smoliar, February 7, 2008 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

I am less concerned over whether or not Brzezinski is nonpartisan and more concerned with his track record.  Remember that his only direct involvement with the Executive Branch was during the Carter administration.  Since Eric Meiers raised the concept of blowback, we should bear in mind that Zbig was responsible for two such instances.  First was his commitment to supporting the Shah of Iran, which had blowback for Iran and the Carter Presidency, if not the entire Democratic Party, as well as the global standing of the United States in the Middle East (not to mention our getting in bed with Saddam Hussein).  Second was his support of the mujaheddin in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which is what got Chalmers Johnson talking about blowback in the first place.  I am no more desirous of Brzezinsky returning to a “position of influence” in our government than I am of Henry Kissinger doing same!

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By Joe, February 7, 2008 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

heavyrunner, February 6 at 10:19 am posted:

>>Ritter should Advise Candidates
“Barak Obama, according to James Ridgeway in his recent book outlining the advising teams of the various candidates, has as his principal foreign policy adviser Zibignew Breshinski.
He would be better served to listen to Scott Ritter.”

heavyrunner, your concerns are misplaced. The man’s name is Brzezinski. He is the foremost non-partisan analyst on international affairs, especially as concerns causes of future conflict. Scott Ritter has the potential to become a man of equivalent stature as he continues to develop in scope of regional and historical knowledge. Ritter would surely be a fine advisor but there is no one better than Zbig Brzezinski to advise on critical matters, especially in times of emergency. ZB has written several fascinating books for the layman interested in the dangerous side of international affairs.

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By Joe, February 7, 2008 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Ritter is right about the “embed” components throughout Iraqi society, there is no possible way for the McCain “victory” to ever come about. The sophisticated mix of interests and reluctant cooperation among opposing factions, and the self-control exerted by leaders such as Muqtada al-Sadr,
make it clear that any occupation force of any sort will simply be marking time for many years with the inevitable outcome being the usual for such occupations..the occupation will end with no apparent rationale for its former existence. If Bush and McCain would take the trouble to read any history, ancient or contemporary, they would understand that their approach can yield one benefit only: thinning out the world’s population. To call these leaders stupid is to tarnish the good names of hardworking stupid people worldwide.

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By Charlie, February 7, 2008 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why would anyone, take anything, this pedophile had to say, seriously.  His beef with the Iraq war is that he can’t contact, and arrange sexual encounters with any underage muslim girls while the fighting is still going on.

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By Ozone, February 7, 2008 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good to have Mr. Ritter’s analaysis here.  I believe that Sadr’s main thrust has always been nationalistic.  Now, whether this means a unified Iraq, or federalized states, is anyone’s guess, but it will certainly be determined by Iraqi’s (whether by force of arms or internal deal-making).  The FACT that Sadr has openly made alliance with like-minded Sunni nationalist groups, nearly assures that this will be the dominant power group.  Those that believe that Iraqi’s are only fixated upon their tribal or sectarian identities, are in for a shocking wake-up call.
In the end, the increasing impotence of US interference in others’ sovereign affairs will be revealed for the hubristic fairy tale it is.

The veil has been ripped away from both foreign and domestic machinasations (erg!sp!) for those with the courage to face their [many] mirrors’.  Beware…and prepare; it’s going to get extremely “interesting”, everywhere.

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By SamSnedegar, February 7, 2008 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

“Getting it” was never the point, nor was selling it. Controlling it means that it backs the dollar, giving the dollar a value it otherwise simply cannot obtain.

If you own a gravel quarry or some gas wells you never have to mine a ton of gravel or sell a cubic foot of gas to use both as WEALTH, meaning you can borrow enough money to create a string of hardware stores or shopping malls from which you can make tons of money . . . the gravel and gas makes your business propositions attractive because it means that you don’t NEED to borrow money, you just CHOOSE to do so.

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By Eric Meiers, February 6, 2008 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WE can afford nothing for domestic spending but to keep up a occupation that will surely breed terrorists and create a blowback for years to come all for the 628 mil what a country. Keep it up Scott proud to fight with you. Eric

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By Expat, February 6, 2008 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

^ of this.  I thought his (Mussolini) 1932 speech was particularly relevant to our situation today.  I felt the parallels were noteworthy.  Thanks for your comment.

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By Elmer Creek, February 6, 2008 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By “controling the oil” I hope you consider the option that maybe we just don’t want that cheap Iraqi oil on the market and are not just concerned about getting it for ourselves.  Just think what barrels of cheap Iraqi oil on the market would do to Bush’s Saudi buddies at OPEC !

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By cyrena, February 6, 2008 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

I couldn’t have said it better Sam…

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By Stephen Smoliar, February 6, 2008 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

I saw this on the BBC, which is still mainstream but not always as biased toward the American viewpoint as our home-grown media.  Those of us who saw the footage of the child soldiers pressed into combat in Africa (as in the conflict that dragged both the Ivory Coast and Liberia into its wake), have no trouble with the “believability” of this footage;  but this does not eliminate the possibility that it HAS been faked, since every good lie needs at least a ring of plausibility.  As to the general “rule of thumb” to trust no one, that rule has been in effect ever since the “liberation” turned into an “occupation.”  When you have no way to tell whether a kid is throwing a rock or something that could blow up your Humvee, you tend to assume the worst case.  This is why, as a Mennonite peace worker I met in Jerusalem back in the Seventies said about conditions there, “There is no such thing as a humane occupation.”

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By John Taylor, February 6, 2008 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Ritter is very perceptive and makes his points clearly and logically. His strongest points are the fact that the public knows very little about and cares less about the middle east.
I think he is wrong about the farce and failure of the surge to make headlines in 2008. I believe the mainstream media is a powerful a tool of the elite and the fiasco of the surge will remain hidden. Why??
  The US dollar is on the point of collapse and the economy is in a far greater mess than anyone cares to disclose in no small part to financing a war few Americans want. This has been under-reported by the media so Americans remain unconcerned.
  The new hope for America politicans come out of the same mold as the old crowd and Americans will again endorse one of them endorsed by the mainstream media and will continue to endure the old policies that are not working now. All the heavily promoted candidates favor continuing this war and none seem too opposed to stepping into Iran.
America is the only country in the world that believes it’s own propaganda.

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By jbart, February 6, 2008 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I feel obligated to add this opinion, that is not (necessarily) directly related to this article nor to the blogs/opinions offered to respond to it.
I just saw the MSM (CBS) run a story about kids as young as 6 yrs. old being trained to be “terrorists” by AL QUEDA.  These “kids” wear masks/hoods and brandish guns. They even need to be “picked up” by adults to drop mortar shells into mortar firing tubes (as they’re not tall enough to reach on their own). WOW !!  We spend a zillion bucks on weaponry and have ALL adult soldiers but we need to get “nuts” because a 9 yr. old is now a terrorist.  Folks, let me tell you.  They’re running out of “believable” bullshit to try and sell us and now are relying on “selling” us the dangers posed to us with pre-pubescent warriors “prepared” to do combat. Sure, they used kids in ‘NAM.  But to fight us through “trust”, and to get us to leave their soveriegn nation.  We never considered THEM to be “terrorists”. Only, to trust no one, including kids.  Shit.  How stupid do they think we’ve become? Or better yet, HOW stupid have we actually become?

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By Hammo, February 6, 2008 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Ritter paints a sad and tragic, and quite possibly an accurate picture of the future of Iraq and the U.S. occupation.

I wonder if there is any hope of implementing strategies and deploying various assets that might improve the outcomes.

Are there any unconventional or “outside the box” approaches that Ritter might recommend? Food for thought in the article ...

“U.S. global peace officer or corrupt cop? ‘Peace operations’ explored” (AmericanChronicle.com, Dec. 20, 2007) at ...

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=46707

“Global peace officer or corrupt cop?” (PopulistAmerica.com, Populist Party of America, Dec. 24, 2007) at ...

http://www.populistamerica.com/global_peace_officer_or_corrupt_cop

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By ocjim, February 6, 2008 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

Most likely the surge was cynically planned with BushCo knowing that sectarian cleansing was spent. Considering that Bush never cared about the deaths and the savagery in Iraq, they were pawns to suit his own purpose and plans.

Last year’s report by the non-governmental organization International Medical Corps, said that 540,000 Iraqis had fled their homes from the February 2006 bombing of the Askariya Shrine in Samarra to early 2007.

Consistent reports in the Washington Post and the New York Times revealed stories of the nightly wails and cries of ethnic cleansing reaching a peak by the end of 2006 and into early 2007, when something like 2000 civilians a month turned up mangled and dead.

According to Pepe Escobar, the ‘Roving Eye’ for the online publication, Asia Times, in the rush of dawn hundreds of bodies were displayed to advertise the deaths of Sunnis living in the ethnically-mixed area of Baghdad, thus spreading grief among relatives and intense fear among the rest, causing leagues of Iraqis to leave their home and their possessions.

By the time that Bush announced the surge, the cleansing showed signs of ending and the Shiites were ready to cooperate with allied forces and Sunnis pledged to fight a small al Qaeda force. This might suggest that ethnic cleansing was already complete, and seemed to correspond with the Bush surge.

Some, who are always looking for cynically-calculated Bush policy, say that Bush forces knew this before they even planned the surge.

Even with the improvements, the latest figures show that more civilians died overall in 2007 (16,232) than in 2006 (12,360).

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By cyrena, February 6, 2008 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

Nabiah..

Thank you SO MUCH for this reminder on Eco. It is right in the nick of time, as I try to wade through all of these various definitions, and keep track for my exams.

Because, it IS complex. Just looking at the difference between Hitler’s fascism and Stalin’s fascism shows that while the practice of it may result in the many of the same atrocities, the methods and the ideologies are not always the same.

VERY complex.

Thanks again. I feel like I’ve been provided with a study guide, that breaks down these complex issues.

You ARE a dear. smile

Cyrena…

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By cyrena, February 6, 2008 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Kikosan, thanks for pointing this out. It IS the tragedy of the Iraqi people, above and beyond all of the rest, that it the totality of the tragedy.

And yes, Scott Ritter does have a tendency to gloss over that.

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By Listen to an Iraqi Expat Sadrist, February 6, 2008 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

a year ago:

http://www.saudidebate.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=573&Itemid=121

Mahan Abedin: Let’s begin by discussing the so-called “surge” of American troops into Baghdad. What is the real American military objective behind this campaign?

Munthir Al-Kewther: Maybe they are preparing the ground for a military campaign against Iran. They feel they have to sort out the mess in Iraq before they attack Iran. But I don’t think they can solve the mess in Iraq.

MA: Do you think it is too much of a coincidence that the briefing on alleged Iranian meddling in Iraq – including allegations that the Iranians are indirectly involved in the killing of American soldiers – came just before the start of the new military campaign in Baghdad?

MK: The two are clearly linked. They have been preparing the ground for a war against Iran for a long time. But obviously they are accelerating the media, propaganda and psychological warfare campaign as the date for their campaign approaches.

MA: What is your assessment of how the surge started? The Americans were very keen to start it in as low profile a way as possible.

MK: That tells you that the Americans and their allies in Iraq lack confidence. They don’t really know what they are doing. They expect to fail so they confuse things and try to blame others for their failures. But the Maliki government ends up getting most of the blame because its only role is to enforce American edicts in Iraq. The Americans use Maliki as a scapegoat.

MA: The Americans claim the surge is targeted equally at the mostly Sunni insurgents and the mostly Shia militias. Do you believe them?

MK: The real objective is to weaken the Jaish Al-Mahdi (Mahdi Army) because this is – by far – the largest and most popular resistance movement in Iraq. The Americans are also hoping to weaken the Sadrist movement as a whole. For the Americans there is no difference between Shias and Sunnis. The Americans fight anyone that resists them, but they talk about Shias and Sunnis in order to pretend the problem is among the Iraqis themselves, not between the American occupation army and the Iraqi resistance.

MA: Do you believe the Americans want a full-scale confrontation with the Mahdi Army? I say this in light of information that both sides are trying to avoid a full-scale confrontation.

MK: The Americans have started a low-profile assassination campaign against key Mahdi Army and Sadrist figures. In recent months they have assassinated some of the best and most moderate people in the Sadrist movement—the kind of people that were effective at helping the poor and oppressed. The best example was the assassination last December of Sahib Al-Ameri in front of his wife and children in his house in Najaf. Al-Ameri was the Secretary General of the Shahidollah Institute, a charitable organisation that helps poor and displaced people. He had no connections whatsoever to the Mahdi Army.

MA: How long is the surge likely to last in Baghdad?

MK: I doubt it will last long. It is not likely to succeed and the Americans are the first people to know this. Baghdad is a city of 6 million people. Stability for Baghdad requires one soldier or policeman for every 50 people. Therefore, to restore stability to a city of 6 million people, the Americans need at least 120,000 troops. The Americans cannot commit this number of troops. And even if they could they would still probably not succeed because the local population is utterly hostile to them. I am talking about the Iraqi people as a whole – Shia and Sunni alike – they all despise the Americans and are bristling for revenge. No amount of troops can overcome this level of hatred and determination.
....

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By Neocons Win, February 6, 2008 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real and only winner will be ISRAEL.  If this truth doesnt begin to be addressed- and LOUDLY- Ritter and Co are just pissing in the wind.

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By heavyrunner, February 6, 2008 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Barak Obama, according to James Ridgeway in his recent book outlining the advising teams of the various candidates, has as his principal foreign policy adviser Zibignew Breshinski.

He would be better served to listen to Scott Ritter.

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By heavyrunner, February 6, 2008 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Barak Obama, according to James Ridgeway in his recent book outlining the advising teams of the various candidates, has as his principal foreign policy advisor Zibignew Breshinski.

He would be better served to listen to Scott Ritter.

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By Stephen Smoliar, February 6, 2008 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

When teasing out the nature of a complex issue, it is always good to know every writer’s own biases.  Eco never misses an opportunity to take a Marxist jab at any topic he chooses to examine.  Unfortunately, his obsession with such rhetorical tricks usually tends to obfuscate, rather than clarify.  Still, for those who like that sort of thing, he can be very entertaining!

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By kikosan, February 6, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

although i have great respect for mr. ritter’s intellect and integrity, and avidly read every one of his articles and books, his seeming lack of concern when it comes to the sufferings of iraqi people and the constant praise he showers on american soldiers is striking. the soldiers in iraq don’t seem particularly “brave” but rather are a collection of average americans of average intellect, clueless to the iraqi culture and swallowing the racist christian vitriol of their leaders. they are seen as a brutal, vicious occupation army by the citizens of the country they’ve “liberated”. for every american killed, hundreds of iraqis die. mr. ritter’s focused concern on american soldiers is understandable in that he is, first and foremost, a loyal marine. for those of us, however, who are not, the suffering of the iraqi people is the central theme of this tragedy, a tragedy that seemingly has no end, given our current foreign policy paralysis.

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By Nabih Ammari, February 6, 2008 at 7:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Remember…  February 6

Expat,

Mussolini’s definition of fascism is just one single
definition.There are so many definitions given by so
many different scholars on the subject to the point
of utter entropic confusion.However,I have found that
the most comprehensive definition is the one given by
Stanley Payne,Professor Emeritus at the University of
Wisconsin in Madison,Wisconsin.

Furthermore,the nature of fascism is very complex.It
is made of 14 specific features,according to Umberto
Eco,Italian writer and is considered as one of the
top Italian thinkers.If you care to review the 14
features of fascism,please Google “Umberto Eco on
Fascism”.It is an interesting read.You may enjoy it.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By Max L. Cadenhead, February 6, 2008 at 7:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Ritter,
  Another excellent article.  You have been consistantly on the mark.  Keep up the good work. As for Sam Snegedar’s comments…they are all true as far as they go..but he never mentions the nefarious role of Israel and the Neo-Cons, without whose control of the US media, this farce could never have gotten off the ground.  Indeed, this unholy marriage of Pollards in the Israeli-american, (small “a” intentional), community, with the Corporate Fascists, is what created this evil, murderous mess.  Believe me, the rest of the world knows that the “average” American citizens’ hands run red with the blood of innocent Iraqis, even if these self-same “citizens” cannot, will not, see the gore.  It is OUR army, OUR president, OUR blindness, OUR apathy and OUR hypocrisy that sustains the Bushes, the Cheneys and the Neo-Con traitors.
  Keep up the good work, Scott.  You carry what is left of the Honor of the Republic on your shoulders.

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By writeon, February 6, 2008 at 5:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t think the invasion and occupation of Iraq was a ‘mistake’ or a temporary aboration, committed by a democracy led astray by a few evil men.

I think it represents the future of US foreign policy which will become increasingly; imperial, colonial and violent. Think of the US as a kind of enormously more powerful version of Israel in it’s relation to much of the rest of the world, especially those areas of the world that contain vital raw materials and/or threaten our ‘interests’ which always, always, in the final analysis, means our economic interests.

Given that the United States only has a few per cent of the world’s population, yet it consumes around a quarter of the earth’s resources, it’s debatable that this state of affairs can continue, especially as other, rising powers are also determined to access their rightful share of the ‘pie’. Something has got to give, somehow the American ‘slice’ is going to get smaller, and how will the US ruling class react to such a global redistribution of wealth? Considering how much of the wealth of the United States they’ve grabbed for themselves, it’s unlikely they’ll passively watch China and India challange the global position of the United States.

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By Expat, February 6, 2008 at 4:29 am Link to this comment

^ corporatism is fascism.  Musollini said it best; “Fascism is nothing more than corporatism actually.”

Musollini, 1932;
“Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism—born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision—the alternative of life or death….”

In so many words doesn’t this sound vaguely familiar?

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By Expat, February 6, 2008 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

I hate what my country has done to Iraq.  The leaders of my country are war criminals.
We are told by the “experts” our very presence is fomenting the insurgency and we should get out.  How do we stop it (the violence)?  Yes, I’m asking you.  How then do we stop it?  If getting out isn’t the answer, then what is your solution?  I really want to know.  I wish the best for you.

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By Outraged, February 6, 2008 at 3:46 am Link to this comment

Great Post Scott.  Your verbiage on a topic is great, seriously even when I disagree, although on this issue I definitely DO AGREE. 

Great Posts everyone else also, enlightening…. I might add.

One of the issues which undermines our representatives as well as our democracy is corporatism.  In this case oil and arms.  In reality the situation is much bigger.  Because the corporatocracy undermines our democracy, and this I fear is the bigger evil.  Definitely we should do what we can concerning EVERYTHING that everyone spoke of, however, there is (at least currently) a more ominous evil.  We don’t want to lose sight of the forest though the trees…...

Know that every fight for our soldiers and every fight for our rights and every fight for our sovereignty is actually one against corporatism.

As we hop from dot to dot fighting the battles step back and consider the war.  What is the war…?  It isn’t “terrorism” (at least not the one we are told is terrorism).  And it isn’t even Iraq if you focus on the “big picture”.  It is corporatism.  And currently, in fact for quite a while, this is where the undermining of our country and in fact the much of the world has been, especially when you consider human rights.

They have their hired thugs.  And they have infiltrated many of our institutions….tread carefully folks, but remember…if you kill a corporation, you’ve killed a business entity, not a human being.  There’s no flesh and blood involved, not in the bigger picture.

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By Expat, February 6, 2008 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

Count me in!  Great idea, I’m half way there already.  Only about an 8 hour flight from here.

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By A Khokar, February 5, 2008 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

It is worth repeating time and again that George W Bush and his team are guilty of numerous impeachable offences for repeatedly violating the Constitution and transgression of national and international law; as well as nonsensical war against Iraq, which has resulted in killing of some 4000 Americans and savagely butchering of more than 600,000 innocent Iraqis. This has been done without the declaration of war from American Congress as well as; it is in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international laws. The reckless disregard for life and property in foreign lands and constitutional law has been accompanied by the abuse of prisoners, including systematic torture, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

The conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced the image of United States to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world.

But have we really tried to peep behind the closed doors of ‘White House’ and found the real forces at work; which tends these figures like Bush and Cheney to remain on their toes all the time? It may not be difficult to grasp that there are some deep seeded policies being pursued behind these closed doors; away from the common public eyes; with a special mind set to secure US hegemony in the world. Thousands of people including many a think tanks are employed to plan and execute the tasks by means of covert operations through out the world. This may be our hypocritical face not to realise the truth of the matter that; it is in fact the policy of grand plan of ‘American Adventurism’ which is at its play and it has become a matter of contention for all the intellectuals of the world.

The divisive policies implied in execution through deception and fallacy by US is awful. The dismantling of sovereign states and to bring the havoc in the lives of millions and millions of defence less destitute people; to dislodge them and wipe them off from the face of earth; just in pursuance of US rapacious greed of her hegemonic hold in foreign lands are but the crimes against humanity? American adventurism is strife; a matter of concern for the entire world; a fearsome agenda concerning the future of the humanity on this planet.

Anarchy, mayhem in the house of purported adversaries and media manipulation to upkeep the climate of fear of terror, in our own society are the orders of the day. The evidence of government sponsored terror and how they use the fear of terror to control own society is evident and found bursting out at the seams. This horrific climate is keeping the world in its grips, which can easily be visualised that it will stay for many more decades to come. 

We find that US top political parties; Conservative as well as Democrats; with out exception; all seems in full agreement in pursuing the common dream of their hegemonic aspiration in the world.

Today it is Bush and Cheney’s team and tomorrow we will have another set of figures; may they are Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton with their teams; we will find them pursing the same evil policies?

The consolidation of the American standing in Iraq; (military wise as well as politically)and the efforts being implied to Secure it as a self propelled US mega base has turned Iraq into a good stepping stone; a launching pad very well secured to facilitate the next moves on the way to Central Asia and beyond.

All said and done; but in the days to come we might be praising this out going president as…a legend? that where politically he ditched himself and his personal credibility plummeted and touched almost zero; we might find our self giving him a credit that after all he did facilitate the ‘Dream Goal Plans of American Adventurism’.
——————————————-
Love for all, Hatred for none

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By Gabir, February 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

Dear Iraqi Friends in Need
I’ll be right over to help you
To overthrow the sadistic dictator
My elected representatives and my tax dollars created
While I satisfied that the correct steps would be taken
And justice would prevail for you as a long suffering country and people
The talking heads all weigh in with their opinions
They claim that this escapade is a failure
That the only wise choices are to bomb you into oblivion
Or leave as soon as the White House can find a respectable window of reason to slip out of
We hear that the American “people” have had enough of this debacle
But what of you as a people ? Do Americans even view you as human beings ?
Or just the unjust portrayal of Iraqis as violent , bloodthirsty animals
You did not ask for this war , only liberation from the blood dripping jaws of another American supported Dictator
America will more than likely abandon you , and after our departure point fingers and say
See - look at them - we told you so - a venture so wasteful in American lives and MONEY - MONEY !!!!!!!!
I will never forget you , but for many American “patriots” you are already in the morgue
Too bad you can’t just change the TV channel to escape your Hell the way most Americans do
American Idol anyone ???????????????????

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By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

I have decided that if the whole house of cards doesn’t fall on us before we get a new president (if we get a new president) and that president develops a well supported, diplomatic rescue mission for Iraq, then i will volunteer to and do my part.  I mean helping clear the rubble, rebuild homes, reestablish farm land, etc.

Perhaps we need hundreds of thousands of civilians willing to take the chance, with their own lives, to go help rebuild Iraq.  No guns, no Blackwater…just an honest effort to show the people of Iraq that what happened to them does not represent Americans.

Anybody willing to come along?

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By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

They spent too long in their thinktanks, divorced from any kind of reality.  They didn’t/don’t need realpolitik because they have all the answers.  This affliction seems to come from listening only to yourself talk for too long.

Unfortunately, this probably won’t be the last time either.

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By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

And it almost backfired on us.  I’ve read impartial on the ground assessments that the Soviets were beating the Mujahadin to nearly the point of victory.  After the initial attempt to use standard Red Army procedure failed badly, they changed their plan.  Lot’s of Spetznez; high altitude bombing; and those Hind gunships blowing the living hell out of everything and anything.  Hence the stingers which effectively neutralized the helicopter gunships.

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By cyrena, February 5, 2008 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

Another great piece from Scott, except of course that even he doesn’t go far enough in putting the reality out there, and REALLY calling a spade a spade…Because…

This isn’t a look into a crystal ball, it’s a look at reality, and we’ve seen it. The surge has ALREADY been ‘exposed’ as the grand debacle that is was before it even began.

From “BEFORE the beginning”...BEFORE one boot was on the ground in Iraq, we KNEW this was a farce..it didn’t take a farce ‘surge’ to prove that. The purple fingers were a farce before that, just like the alleged WMD were a farce before that…and on and on. 

It was an attempt by the Neo-thugs to steal a resource rich nation, and to remake the entire region in the image and likeness of these same thugs. The corporate neo-thugs, led by cheney, rumsfeld, wolfowitz, richard perle, jeb bush, and whomever else I’ve left out..but we all know them.

And, the destruction of Iraq was a signed and sealed ‘given’ as soon as the American public allowed their own government to be highjacked by the same cabal, which gave them the power to destroy Iraq.

The only possible thing that ‘might’ have “saved’ Iraq, (and I don’t consider it as any real salvation) would have been if they hadn’t attempted to resist the occupation and the assault on their sovereignty. If they had ALLOWED themselves to be colonized and enslaved by the conquers; that might have possibly spared some lives.

But, what kind of life is it really, to be enslaved, and forced to give up one’s independence to a brutal occupier? After decades of British occupation, (which wasn’t even close to being as brutal and bloody as the US occupation has been) how or why would anyone expect that the Iraqis (ANY of them, not just the Sunni minority) would NOT resist and fight against more of the same?

No, they were doomed from the start, if their only option was simply to give in, and allow themselves to return to a brutal colonial existence.

Meantime, it’s still anybody’s guess whether or not the Cheney thugs actually realized that there would be any resistance. But, there is NO doubt that they don’t intend to give up the original plan as a result of that. So, if that has meant leveling the entire country, and eliminating the entire population, (or anyone who stands in the way of full and permanent access to the oil) then they’ve long ago prepared to do exactly that. That’s why they set off the destruction to begin with, and nothing - aside for the whimpy will of the American people to remove these thugs from power- is going to prevent them from continuing the destruction of Iraq.

Of COURSE the resistance will continue to resist and fight the occupation, for as long as they have breath in them. But there is no “win’ for them in that, so it’s incorrect to suggest it.

The only ‘winners’ here have been the Cabal, as a result of the trillions upon trillions of dollars that they’ve laundered through the sands of Iraq, along with all of that blood.

And no, they AREN’T going to stop. That’s why George just did another signing statement to nullify any false promises that Congress thought they were making when they claimed they were forbidding any permanent military bases in Iraq. George’s latest signing statement, (like all of his others) says that he’ll damn well put them there and keep them there. Because, THAT WAS ALWAYS THE PLAN.

So forget about any ‘policy” Scott, because the people and the leaders of the US have failed to do the only thing that could have or can stop this in it’s tracks…and that’s to remove the criminal regime responsible for this. That starts with Dick Bush. They still have 10 months to continue to wreck havoc on Iraq, and the rest of the world, and that includes us. And, they WILL.

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By Bill Blackolive, February 5, 2008 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scott, you are accurate and I wonder might you agree that this honest-man-presence-of-Obama-as-president could change the fear climate enough for all this backwash of the 9/11 coverup to break through?

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By Bubba, February 5, 2008 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Well, Scott, this is quite an evaluation.  I’d like to know how much is based on known data and how much is speculation. 

In forthcoming articles, I’d be interested to read more about the following:

“all-out civil war between the KDP and PUK”;

“the Sunni resistance continues to use al-Qaida in Iraq as a useful tool”.

Thanks for a most interesting read.

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By ender, February 5, 2008 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

Good post and points.  Couriosity had me doing a search for that war, wondering if the Soviets went in there to get control of part of the Afghan border with Kurdistan where the Soviets have long wanted to build a oil pipeline.  This popped up on Wikepedia.  Once again, we reap what we have sown:

Carter advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski stated “According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise.” Brzezinski himself played a fundamental role in crafting U.S. policy, which, unbeknownst even to the Mujahideen, was part of a larger strategy “to induce a Soviet military intervention.” In a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski recalled:

We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would…That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Soviets into the Afghan trap…The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the Soviet Union its Vietnam War.[18]

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By dobropet, February 5, 2008 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Rather than offering a word-for-word renouncement of the president’s rosy assertions concerning Iraq, I will instead initiate a process of debunking the myth of American success by doing that which no politician, current or aspiring, would dare do: predict the failure of American policy in Iraq.”

Are you completely sure that there is no politician, current or aspiring that would dare do such a thing? I believe this statement is only in retaliation because of the current administrations strangle hold upon the constitution, this being done by corporate interests as Ender has stated(with whom I agree). Funds exceed the American peoples interests, when corporations are involved, thus providing the military-industrial complex with unequaled power. We have been warned about this matter well before.

I’m printing this report in hopes that sharing this with my family will open their eyes to the real problem, thanks for your insight and coverage.

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By oye-pensador, February 5, 2008 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The framing of a debate/discussion is of utmost importance.  By framing the USA’s OCCUPATION of Iraq as one “battlefied” or “war” in the “war” on terror those (democrats, republicans, common everyday people) who believe that imperial ambitions through violence is acceptable get the upper hand.  IT IS NOT A WAR!  It is an occupation! An illegal occupation at that!  As Ritter says, let’s call a spade a spade.  Those who oppose the occupation should first begin with the correct interpration/usage of terms with which to define this huge American problem.
If you are reading this Mr. Ritter, I implore you to do just that.  (And everything I’ve read by you always seems to be on the mark.)  It would refine your argument better, I believe.
Not many answers, lots of questions, they call me:
OYE

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By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Agreed.  Particularly on the issue of Euros vs. dollars.  I don’t know how many times i’ve mentioned that in public and private…people’s eyes just glaze over.

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By ender, February 5, 2008 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

You can’t ‘unfck the pooch’.  Iraq is an artificially created state that was created in such a was to guarantee it could only be kept stable by an evil b@st@rd such as Saddam, whom we helped maintain power as long as it served our interest.

The reason for this invasion was that under ‘oil for food’, Saddam began trading oil with Euros vs Dollars, just as Iran has now done, which is why they will be invaded next.  If the Iranian oil bourse gains a significant foothold, say to the point that China began trading for oil in Euros, the dollar becomes worthless.

The foreign policy for this war was dictated by the Federal Reserve and sold by PNAC.

We continue to manipulate other nations and use our military to maintain our economic hegemony as long as our controllers are a group of international bankers and old money families.

Eliminating the Fed, then nationalizing energy production and the arms industry are the only way we will ever regain a say in the actions of our gov’t.

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By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

Keep in mind that Scott Ritter was a UN weapons’ inspector who has been a vocal critic of the invasion since before it began, because he is enough of an expert to have seen where this would lead.

And i don’t think he’s suggesting that we sweep it under the rug.  Our withdrawal would need to begin with diplomatic solutions and involving the whole world in the necessary work of not leaving Iraq as a festering hell hole.

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By Stephen Smoliar, February 5, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

I find it interesting that one of the points that Jacob Heilbrunn makes in his study of neoconservatism concerns the extent to which the neocons developed their ideology in opposition to realpolitik.  This is probably the primary reason why the Iraq Study Group was ignored in any capacity other than sop for the general public (probably on a global, as well as national, scale).  On the other hand this is hardly the first time that efforts to reason about policy have been dangerously clouded by ideology!

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By Gabir, February 5, 2008 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

“On The Turning Away”  (David Gilmour, Anthony Moore)

On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won’t understand
Don’t accept that whats happening
Is just a case of others suffering
Or you’ll find that youre joining in
The turning away

Its a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting its shroud
Over all we have known
Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we’re all alone
In the dream of the proud

On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord
Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerized as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
Its not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there’ll be
No more turning away? (Pink Floyd)
——————————————————————————-
This is such a cold-hearted , black-hearted world - a world of greed , callous indifference , and violence . We have become a throw away culture which has gone from tossing out material possessions to tossing out human beings . The dying , suffering and poverty of Iraqis is meaningless to most of you . Our government has created a nightmare and now Scott Ritter states that we have no option but to leave Iraq . Scott Ritter be damned - Scott Ritter , rot in hell . How much does Ritter get paid as an “EXPERT” ? The only life Ritter cares for is his own . We sat back and watched - our elected representatives went along for the ride - as the present administration totally destablized the Middle East over the last seven + years . And now we will leave ??? Yes , let’s just sweep this little mess we made in the Middle East under the “RUG” , and get out !!!

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By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

And their world view of fear and paranoia only perpetuates itself, right down to making those of us who detest the madness become fearful and paranoid of those whose world view is nothing but fear and paranoia.

And it too often makes people like me write sentence that are too long, too Dickensian, and borderline unintelligible.

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By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

I wish that i could disagree with you on any of the points you made, but alas, i cannot.

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By G.Anderson, February 5, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

The same people who benefited from the War in Vietnam, have benefited from the War in Iraq. The same political leadership, the same political thinking is behind it all.

For the politically insane there is no other course than destruction, that is the outcome of all their searching for power and control. Their world view is one of fear and paranoia.

It is much more dificult to be creative, to be nurturing because it requires compassion and sensitivity. This is an impossibility for those mad with power.

What have we created in Iraq?

Yes there are those who we’re sane enough to try and help, to care about the Iraq people. But most of the time their voices we’re drowned out by the barking dogs of war. 

Eventually the madness will pass, because life always finds a way to be, even in the most desperate of times.

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By SamSnedegar, February 5, 2008 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

Ritter, why do you keep on writing about things that Iraq was never about and refusing to write about the only important thing that Iraq IS about?

We are not there to control the people, their governance, their insurgency, their daily lives.

We are there to control the oil. We cannot control the oil if we leave, ergo we cannot leave.

If you examine what REALLY happened in “the surge,” I am positive you will find that the whole idea was to get crack troops into place guarding oil and pipelines while reserves and cooks were sent to Baghdad where there wasn’t so much activity anyway, at least according to McCain and his friend from Indiana who said the markets there were just like the ones in Indianapolis.

OIL, Ritter. If you refuse to talk about it, then you are just stringing meaningless words together for money. Of course, there are a lot of others doing the same, so I suppose I can’t blame you for wanting to cash in like they do.

Oh, I’m well aware that stealing Iraq’s oil has created tons of problems for us, and most of those problems would go away if we just got out of Dodge, but leaving Iraq would mean leaving control of the oil to others, and that is unacceptable to Cheney and his masters, never mind the moron who lives at 1600 and cannot begin to fathom what is really going on here and now.

You see, the question can’t be avoided: what happens if we DO leave Iraq and its oil to others (along with the rest of the oil we likely intend to steal from the Emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia)? I suspect that we have no plan for leaving Iraq, AND I suspect there is no plan to allow Democrats to take over the white house.

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By SuGee, February 5, 2008 at 8:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree wholeheartedly with Scott Ritter.  He stated prior to the war that there WERE NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION in Iraq.  The whole reason that the serial killer (Our Beloved “President”) pre-emptively attacked Iraq was precisely because there WERE NO WEAPONS.  He told the Saudi royal prince/ambassador/good buddy that he was attacking Iraq.  After all, they wanted the U.S. bases out of their country and Bush was only too ready to accomodate them.  So whenever he spits out another lie, remember that he is a WAR CRIMINAL.  The “Surge” is merely another scam to default this country.

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By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

I fear that this will turn into a comment thread about domestic politics.  But i am grateful to Mr. Ritter for keeping the realities of the situation in clear focus.

At one point, after he’d left the White House, George H. W. Bush was asked why he did not pursue Saddam Hussein all the way to Baghdad.  For all the evil that he may embody, Bush 41 was the last president we’ve had who understood foreign policy.  His staff (who later became the utterly ignored Iraq Study Group) was also well versed, and though they were rabid Cold Warriors they mostly practiced realpolitik.  He knew, and said as much, that he did not drive to Baghdad because such a move would lead to what we see now.  We would become an occupying power in the Middle East and get horribly bogged down in a “war” that there would be no chance of winning.

A conventional army cannot defeat an insurgency…i repeat, it CANNOT defeat an insurgency.  Heavy handed military tactics in a situation like this are incapable of separating combatants from civilians, and if you kill one civilian for each insurgent you will make 2-3 more insurgents.  Ho Chi Minh warned the French that they could kill his troops at a ration of 10 - 1 and he would still win.  His reasoning being that he had more men to begin with and every 10 of his men who died had family who would be motivated to join the insurgency by the death of their family or friend.  Furthermore, for the insurgent there are only two ways home: death or victory.

I am not suggesting that Iraq is (or is like) Vietnam.  The only similarity is that a conventional army is fighting an insurgency.  And in this case it is a mostly urban insurgency which further decreases the usability of the one advantage our military does have.  The M1 Abrams is a fantastic piece of hardware that does absolutely no good sitting at a crossroads where the enemy can take a good long look at it for weak spots.  Our airpower only breeds insurgents through the tears and blood of “collateral damage”.

Mr. Ritter speaks of the dissolving of Saddam’s power structure back into the population.  Perhaps some of you remember the few news stories that talked about how our commanders on the ground were paying Iraqi commanders to abandon the fight.  It played well on TV, the swift drive to Baghdad…but all those men left, with whatever arms they could carry, to fight another day.

Finally, the destabilization of Iraqi Kurdistan is a grave, grave threat.  The population spreads into not just Turkey but also Iran.  Two regional powers, an ethnic population, and a great power are one misstep away from further inflaming the Middle East.

If we leave Iraq today, it may indeed be ugly and messy.  But we have no choice, and we never had any choice.  Once upon a time we gave the USSR its own Vietnam; Afghanistan ended up being the death knell of the Soviet Empire; Iraq is not Vietnam, it is our Soviet-Afghan War.

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