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The Road Out of Iraq Begins in Vietnam

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Posted on Dec 24, 2008
USAF / Michael B. Keller

U.S. Army paratroopers board a C-130 Hercules airplane at Fort Bragg, N.C.

By Scott Ritter

(Page 2)

If this advice sounds defeatist, it is. There is no way to spin the reality that America will not “win” the war in Iraq. All we can hope for is to recognize the fact that the decision to invade was in truth more about empowering a neoconservative cabal in American politics than it was about achieving lasting change in the Middle East. “Regional transformation,” long the battle cry of those in the Bush administration who sought American global hegemony, was a smoke screen that used national security issues to achieve domestic political dominance.

Now that the American people have spoken, and Barack Obama has won the American presidency, it is time to reject with finality the policies of the neoconservative ideologues who got us into Iraq and embrace instead a new direction which has America working multilaterally to achieve a model of global cooperation based on genuine peace and stability, as opposed to one built on unilateral coercion and violence. If a policy seeking a “decent interval” permits American forces to be withdrawn from Iraq, achieving “peace with honor” in the process, then the Vietnam parallel will be most welcome. If it is true that “war in an extension of politics, by other means,” then the converse, in which politics, by any means, is the tool for retracting war, must also be correct.

Let us hope that Obama is able to contain and control the domestic American political environment so that the war in Iraq is “retracted” as soon as possible.

Scott Ritter was a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998 and is the author of numerous books, including “Iraq Confidential” (Nation Books, 2005).

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By cann4ing, December 29, 2008 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

Still not convinced, TAO, but I thank you for your very thoughtful post.

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By TAO Walker, December 29, 2008 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

All the Ceremonies Tony Wicher asks about have the effect of both keeping us Human Beings healthily grounded in the Natural Living Arrangement here, and conscious of our place in the Great Hoop of Life Herownself…..as Persons and as Peoples and as a species.  Black Elk and John “Fire” Lamedeer, among many others, have offered insights into practices among Northern Plains Peoples.  The Pueblo Peoples (pardon the bi-lingual redundancy) are widely known for their Ceremonial cycles.  There’s a lot written, too, about the Ways Peoples all around the world ave found to do these things.

“Democratic socialism” is simply one more superfluous abstraction which tends to persuade its adherents that it’s something they thought-up theirownselfs that gives them access to the Gifts of Life.  “Green technologies” have a similar effect, mis-leading its possessors into thinking they’ve somehow outsmarted Nature to provide themselves with stuff they don’t really need to survive, but like having because it reinforces their conceits about being “the most intelligent” things on the planet.

Delusions, however seductively comforting, do not by-definition benefit the deluded.  So even if cann4ing, as a democratic socialist, were to accept some guidance from us Natives, it remains problematical whether he would take kindly to our recommendation that he give-up his belief in the efficacy of democratic socialism….the same holding true concerning green technologies.

So far indications are that these abstractions and gadgetry mean more to him than the integrity of his organic function within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.  That may well change, of course, as abstractions of all kinds and their technological counterparts continue to disintegrate all around him.

It seems probable that fears about their viability without all their present prosthetic “enhancement” is most of what has the domesticated peoples so resistant to suggestions they’ll be so much better-off without it.  That, too, will change.

HokaHey!

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By cann4ing, December 29, 2008 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

By TAO Walker, December 27 at 9:18 pm #

Even the relatively less toxic versions cann4ing suggests, like “democratic socialism” and “green technologies” are destructive of our Natural Living Arrangement when reliance on them fools people into thinking they are workable substitutes for healthy and respectful intercourse with all our Relations here, and can replace the Living Ceremonies that keep intact our organic functional integrity.
_______________________________________

I see no convincing argument, Tao, as to why democratic socialists, under the guidance of our Native American brothers and sisters, can not find a way to apply green technology so as to create a “healthy and respectful intercourse with all our Relations here.”  I would respectfully suggest, TAO, that there may be one than one way to achieve “The Way.”

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By Tony Wicher, December 28, 2008 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment

By TAO Walker, December 27 at 9:18 pm #

Even the relatively less toxic versions cann4ing suggests, like “democratic socialism” and “green technologies” are destructive of our Natural Living Arrangement when reliance on them fools people into thinking they are workable substitutes for healthy and respectful intercourse with all our Relations here, and can replace the Living Ceremonies that keep intact our organic functional integrity.
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TAO,

Would you explain a bit what these Living Ceremonies are?

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By Tony Wicher, December 28, 2008 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, December 28 at 4:53 pm #

Of course ruling-class defeat is inevitable; however, I think we should understand that the r.c. will not just walk away from Iraq and the Middle East in general as they walked away from Vietnam.  They will probably struggle to the bitter end, the bitter end being most likely the economic ruin which has attended most modern attempts at empire and world domination.

The defeat of the ruling class will be good for the working class only if it becomes conscious enough not to support or permit another ruling class to arise in the place of the previous one.  This would be quite a step in consciousness, in culture.  It seems possible but improbable.  I’m working on it, though
——————————————————————————-
A,

There’s always the possibility of a boot stomping on a human face forever. Ruling classes fall but other ruling classes take their place. The boot keeps on stomping no matter who is in power. Always has been.

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By Anarcissie, December 28, 2008 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

Of course ruling-class defeat is inevitable; however, I think we should understand that the r.c. will not just walk away from Iraq and the Middle East in general as they walked away from Vietnam.  They will probably struggle to the bitter end, the bitter end being most likely the economic ruin which has attended most modern attempts at empire and world domination.

The defeat of the ruling class will be good for the working class only if it becomes conscious enough not to support or permit another ruling class to arise in the place of the previous one.  This would be quite a step in consciousness, in culture.  It seems possible but improbable.  I’m working on it, though.

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By TAO Walker, December 27, 2008 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

It is the extreme over-reliance on institutional and electro-mechanical systems, driven by ideological constructs that multiply even further already highly amplified deleterious effects, which’ve brought things to the pass they’re in today.  Even the relatively less toxic versions cann4ing suggests, like “democratic socialism” and “green technologies” are destructive of our Natural Living Arrangement when reliance on them fools people into thinking they are workable substitutes for healthy and respectful intercourse with all our Relations here, and can replace the Living Ceremonies that keep intact our organic functional integrity.

As a species, Humanity is only weakened by the adoption of all these superfluous prosthetic devices….both hardware and software.  People quickly become dependent on them, and their precious attention gets diverted from fulfilling our organic function here to making sure our drugs-of-choice are readily available.  In other words, ideologies, institutions, and technology turn Humans into junkies whose only pursuit is their next “fix,” be it gadgetry, policy, or “salvation.”

In the process (call it “civilization,” though domestication is much more honest and accurate), those Human qualities that made us such perfect “candidates” for captivity by our tormentors (adaptibility, alertness, cleverness, curiosity, toughness, resilience, and so on) are all eroded and reduced to levels much less than those we enjoy in our free wild natural condition.  Over time we inevitably sicken and die, no longer able to access the very things in both our own essential nature, and in Nature Herself, upon which our health and wholeness, as Human Beings, depend absolutely.  The same degrading outcome is evident in those of our Relatives that’ve been subjected to the process by the agency of tame Two-leggeds.  Even “pets” lose their vitality and integrity this way.

“Live Free or Die!” is not merely some defiant revolutionary motto.  It is a simple statement of fact….as demonstrated daily by the consequences of being “civilized,” which is by-definition NOT free, coming-home-to-roost more and more degradingly all the time.  This is so despite the desperate denial in which the domesticated peoples languish these days.

As for all this “stuff,” a lot of it will linger years after the beliefs and attitudes that invented it have vanished.  It will remain a challenge for our tame Sisters and Brothers to wean theirselfs off it, just so long as it offers them the false hope of “individual self-sufficiency.” 

Meantime, us surviving Savages, along with all our Relations and our Mother Earth Herownself, are here to help with the recovery.

HokaHey!

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By cann4ing, December 27, 2008 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, December 27 at 2:05 pm #

cann4ing—the motivation of the ruling class, to control every country and every person on earth, is the same whether its object is Cuba, Panama, Haiti, Vietnam or Iraq or any of the twenty or thirty other countries the U.S. has used force against.  However, the consequences of defeat are different.  When the U.S. was defeated in Vietnam, it made little strategic or economic difference, except for the money wasted on the war.  Defeat in Iraq means less oil, or maybe no oil; therefore, the end of American power.  Defeat in Vietnam could be shrugged off; defeat in Iraq and the Middle East in general is intolerable.
________________________

To an extent, I agree, but I would add that defeat in both instances was and is inevitable, as is the economic collapse that flows from devoting so much of U.S. resources to the military industrial complex and imperial conquest.  What Tao describes as “the tidal waves of exploitation and misery exported to all quarters of the world from america…coming back as a tsunami,” I would describe as imperialism coming home to roost, though, historically, the “waves of exploitation and misery” long ago flowed across the American continent as the U.S. expanded westward under the racist doctrine of Manifest Destiny.  The capitalist beast has returned to devour itself.

Hope lies in the possibility the American working class can learn from these “defeats.”  If they do, what you term as “defeats” for the ruling class will prove to be victories for the working class and for the environment, with the advent of green technologies reducing reliance on fossil fuels and ending the relevance of oil.  (Tao and I have gone round and round on whether a coupling of the development of green technology with democratic socialism or a return to what the Lakota refer to as “The Way” provide the more effective means for achieving this.)

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By TAO Walker, December 27, 2008 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

Scott Ritter is talking through his hat….again.  Developments today in Asia (Palestine, Pakistan, and India particularly) are about to reveal his musings here for the completely irrelevant inanities they are.  Of course, all papered professional experts try to define “The Situation” in-terms of their own proclivities….like the blind men examining the Elephant.

Events and circumstances are already overwhelming the limited capacity of the “global” managerial class to even respond effectively, nevermind actually “control” them.  So their drug-of-choice will continue to be to ramp-up even further their efforts to control populations, with the object of protecting their sponsoring “vested interests” from suffering the repercussions of their own avarice and stupidity.  It’s all in-vain, of course, and all vanity to-boot.

Those among theamericanpeople who continue slap-happily to believe the worst of all this can be somehow kept “offshore” better think again.  The tidal waves of exploitation and misery exported to all quarters of the world from america are coming back as a tsunami that will wash everything “american” from Turtle Island once-and-for-all.

There’s even more good news.  Whoever can let go of their make-believe allamerican identity has at least an even chance weathering what’s coming.  Unfortunately it looks like very few of ‘em will be able to do that while there’s still time.  Us old Indians are surely willing to be pleasantly surprised about that, though.

As for the rest of the world, those lands, too, will be lightening considerably the burden of tormentor-driven, tame-two-legged-engineered-and-carried-out depradations.

So it looks like it’s wise-up or wash-out, for the domesticated peoples.  No blame, just fact.

HokaHey!

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By Anarcissie, December 27, 2008 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing—the motivation of the ruling class, to control every country and every person on earth, is the same whether its object is Cuba, Panama, Haiti, Vietnam or Iraq or any of the twenty or thirty other countries the U.S. has used force against.  However, the consequences of defeat are different.  When the U.S. was defeated in Vietnam, it made little strategic or economic difference, except for the money wasted on the war.  Defeat in Iraq means less oil, or maybe no oil; therefore, the end of American power.  Defeat in Vietnam could be shrugged off; defeat in Iraq and the Middle East in general is intolerable.

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By cann4ing, December 27, 2008 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

y Anarcissie, December 27 at 7:33 am #

There is a profound difference between Iraq and Vietnam, in that Iraq has a lot of oil whereas Vietnam had nothing.
________________________

Vietnam had rubber.  Iraq has oil.  But it is a mistake to think that imperialism sets its sights only on those nations with the most valuable resources.  Think Haiti!  Consider what John Perkins had to say about his interaction with Panama’s Omar Trujillo in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:

Torrijos essentially told Perkins that he was on to the EHM game; that he was not interested in huge construction projects that would saddle his nation with massive debt but was interested in loans that could be used for the benefit of the Panamanian people, stating:  “Give me what’s best for my people, and I’ll give you all the work you want.” 

“What he proposed was totally unexpected,” Perkins writes.  “Surely, he knew that the foreign aid game was a sham…It existed to make him rich and to shackle his country with debt…; [that] the system was based on the assumption that all men in power are corruptible, and that his decision not to use it for his personal benefit would be seen as a threat, a new form of domino that might start a chain reaction and eventually topple the entire system.”

During the Vietnam war the “domino theory” was advanced supposedly to prevent the “spread of Communism,” but in reality it reflects the imperialist desire to control every nation, to establish what George H.W. Bush referred to as the “new world order.”  The greatest danger to neoliberal Empire has never been the “Communist menace.”  It can be found in Democratic Socialism.  Both democracy and socialism are an anathema to neoliberal capitalism.

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By Anarcissie, December 27, 2008 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

There is a profound difference between Iraq and Vietnam, in that Iraq has a lot of oil whereas Vietnam had nothing.  Vietnam was a mistake generated by the domestic politics of anti-Communism; hence it could be terminated at will.  But the question of who will control the oil is serious ruling-class business which is not going to go away because the people have become tired of a particular public fantasy.  Instead, they are being given another fantasy, and there is dancing in the streets.

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By libertarian, December 26, 2008 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OT but hope Ritter will write a brief piece on a possible near-term conflict bet. Pakistan and India.

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By cann4ing, December 26, 2008 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

By namer, December 25 at 5:58 pm #

Iraq WAS liberated from the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein.
_____________________________

More than one million Iraqis have been “liberated” from their obligation to breathe.  Countless others have been maimed and disfigured.  Much of Iraq’s infrastructure has been “liberated” from its functionality.

Sunni & Shiite were not killing one another before their American “liberators” arrived and began funding and arming sectarian death squads, exploiting ancient antagonisms in a classic, divide and conquer anti-insurgency strategy that is now known as the Salvador option.

On 9/11/07, at the same time Gen. Petreus was spinning his surge success story before Congress, independent journalist Rick Rowley appeared on Democracy Now! where he exposed the reality of this so-called “liberation.”

Rowley embedded with the Shiite Mahdi Army in order to travel to the Shola refugee camp at the outskirts of Baghdad, filming of which, when placed within the context of “the surge is working” propaganda, calls to mind the observation by Tacitus of ancient Rome:  “They created desolation and call it peace.”  Narrating, Rowley described the Shola refugee “slum” as a “stronghold of the Shiite militia…considered too dangerous for the international media.  We were the first…to film with these internal refugees.  The Sadr office says that 14,280 refugee families have already registered with them in this neighborhood alone….Shiite residents who left Falahat now crowd into these tiny cinderblock houses….There are no schools here and no doctors.  None of these cinderblock houses have running water.  And residents walk in 120-degree heat to get polluted tap water from a hose.  The Iraqi government provides no aid to these people. The UN doesn’t exist here….The scale of the crisis is astronomical.  Nationwide, campaigns of terror and sectarian cleansing have forced between four and six million Iraqis to flee their homes.”

Asked by Amy Goodman to compare what he found on this last trip to his earlier visits to Iraq, Rowley stated:  “It’s definitely worse than it was the last time we were there….The Tigris River is bloated with corpses.  The city of Baghdad is divided into armed camps.  There are snipers who take people out as they enter and leave neighborhoods….We heard Petraeus and Crocker say that staying is hard, but leaving is worse.  I would flip that…leaving is going to be hard, there’s going to be violence when the US leaves, but staying is infinitely worse.”

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By oldog, December 26, 2008 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

The biggest lesson we learned from the debacle in Viet Nam was “Don’t get tied down in a land war in Asia”

Well…ok… should have learned.

President-elect Obama. please don’t delay, get out today! Sixteen months is MORE than enough time to disengage- six months would be better.

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By namer, December 25, 2008 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

By Fadel Abdallah, December 25 at 11:27 am wrote:

”..Congress is an Israeli-occupied territory ..”

And how many members of Congress are actually Israeli?
===================

...the road to the liberation of Iraq and Palestine…”

Iraq WAS liberated from the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein. Blame Iran, the Shiite Mahdi Army, and the dead-ender Sunni Al Qaeda factions for the chaos in Iraq now. Those people are not Americans, and it is they who are responsible for the violence there. As for the “liberation of Palestine” bullshit, all you need to do is eliminate the Hamas and Fatah gangs.

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By cann4ing, December 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

Wow!  I should read more carefully before posting.  I said that the war profiteers learned two things from Nam and then proceeded to list three. Oops!

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By cann4ing, December 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

By Fadel Abdallah, December 25 at 11:27 am #

Yes, I agree that the road out of Iraq begins with learning the lessons of Vietnam. However, alas, the merchants of death and greed will never be able to learn from history.
_________________________

The problem, Fadel, is that they draw the wrong lessons from history.  Those who profit from war learned two things from Vietnam:  (1) When the media is given open access to provide the unfiltered reality of the horrors of war, the American public is at first repulsed and then incensed, (2) the existence of the draft gives rise to greater resistance to war because greater numbers of American citizens are at risk of being maimed or killed, and (3) greater profits can be extracted from war by not merely manufacturing the weapons of war but by privatizing the battle field, replacing a major percentage of the enlisted personnel with skilled, highly paid and mostly unaccountable mercenaries, like Blackwater.

The Bush I administration dealt with the first problem by limiting reporters to “pool reporting” during Gulf War I, and the Bush II perfected this approach by not only limiting access to embedded reporters but by preventing the broadcasting of “disturbing images.”  Some efforts were relatively inexpensive, such as the instruction on the inside bulletin board at the Doha media center to Pentagon PR personnel not to discuss depleted uranium or forbidding photos of flag-draped coffins.  Other methods involve enormous expense, albeit to the American taxpayer and not to the propagandists.  One example was revealed by an October 17, 2001 article that appeared in London’s Guardian.  Faced with the prospect that the western media could acquire access to high resolution satellite images of Afghan civilians slaughtered by so-called “smart bombs,” the Pentagon spent millions of dollars to purchase from Space Imaging, the company which operates the Ikonos satellite, the exclusive right to all satellite photos that had been taken since the beginning of the bombing campaign.

For those who have not experienced it, the ugly truth about war is not easy to comprehend.  Viewed from a safe distance, even graphic images fail to reveal what Chris Hedges describes as the critical element—fear.  “There is, until the actual moment of confrontation, no cost of imagining glory…the experience is sterile.  We are safe.  We do not smell rotting flesh, hear the cries of agony, or see before us blood and entrails seeping out of bodies.  We view, from a distance, the rush, the excitement, but feel none of the awful gut-wrenching anxiety and humiliation that come with mortal danger.  It takes the experience of fear and the chaos of battle, the deafening and disturbing noise, to wake us up, to make us realize that we are not who we imagined we were….”

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By Fadel Abdallah, December 25, 2008 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

Yes, I agree that the road out of Iraq begins with learning the lessons of Vietnam. However, alas, the merchants of death and greed will never be able to learn from history.

Equally, the road to the liberation of Iraq and Palestine must run through the U.S. Congress. However, alas again, since Congress is an Israeli-occupied territory as well as merchants of death territory, there will be no warriors for peaceful change expected to come from such quarters! So wars and conflict will continue to dominate the world till a Merciful God decides to deliver humanity from the evil ones!

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By godistwaddle, December 25, 2008 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

It is the patriotic duty of every decent Iraqi to try to kill Americans until we leave their country. How could we possibly “win”?

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By cann4ing, December 25, 2008 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

By Tony Wicher, December 24 at 8:50 pm #

Re desertdude, December 24 at 2:03 pm

The objective of the Vietnam war was to subdue the people of Vietnam and prevent them from choosing their national hero, Ho Chi Minh, to lead them. It did not matter how many battles the military won in Vietnam because the military could not perform the political task of legitimizing a corrupt government not supported by its own people.
___________________________

What people like desertdude do not understand is that whether we deal with Vietnam or Iraq, from the standpoint of ordinary people both here and abroad, the only “winning” strategy is to never go to war in the first place.  Neither Iraq nor Vietnam had anything to do with maintaining the security of the people of the United States. Both wars were based on a lie common to all imperial conquests—that the invader is seeking to “liberate” the target population.  (There’s your valid comparison, Scott—that and lies about the Gulf of Tonkin incident and about Iraqi WMD serving as cover for naked conquest).

As observed by Chalmers Johnson in “Nemesis,” since “1947, while we have used our military power for political and military gain in a long list of countries, in no instance has democratic government come about as a result.” 

While I certainly admire the courage displayed by Scott Ritter in trying to expose the lies about WMD at a time when it really mattered during the run up to the war in Iraq and appreciate the depth of his knowledge of Middle Eastern cultures, the current piece reflects a failure to grasp the extent to which his own world view has been severely compromised by long-standing trends of U.S. militarism and imperialism—the former being precisely what Presidents Washington & Eisenhower warned us about during their Farewell Addresses.

Most are aware of Eisenhower’s warning about the danger of the military industrial complex, but it was Washington who said, “Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as hostile to Republican liberty.”

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By Ron Ranft, December 25, 2008 at 1:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Generally speaking, I think Scott has presented some food for thought but I also take Scott with a grain of salt knowing enough of his background to know he has his own axe to grind. The US should never, ever win another war until such time as it has been directly attacked by another country. Osama was not a country and the Afghans had as much to do with 9/11 as Saddam had. I remember that the Taliban tried to arrange for Osama to be turned over to a third neutral party so he could be charged with crimes and sent to the World Court or the US could ask for extradition. Bush refused! I remember that he also refused Rafsanjani’s attempt to naturalize relations between the US and Iran which led to Ahmadinejad’s election. The public doesn’t know, unless they watch something other than the MSM that the Pakistani’s have been training and arming the Taliban all the while Bush and Cheney danced with Mushareef pretending that he was necessary to fight the GWOT. More less to cover up their duplicity.

As someone else pointed out, the US and Isreal have much in common. Both countries were born in and of terrorism and have kept the war machine churning out the goods of war and War to keep those machines oiled. War, not Peace is what we do best. It is like a mantra. Our first response to everything is to threaten war or to go to war. And then Americans express their bewilderment as to why “they hate us so much.”

I prefer Nader’s solution. Give the Iraqi’s 6 months to get their act together and then bring everyone and everything home. The Iraqi government has no vested interest in our leaving as soon as possible because they are corrupt and need the US to support them from their people. The same is true in Kabul. Go watch last weeks Bill Moyers at PBS.org and hear what an American female journalist who lives and runs a business in Afghanistan has to say.

We need to get out of all the countries we have military bases in. It is bleeding us dry. We can no longer afford the cost of these attempts to make the world over in our image with our military and also support our corrupt corporations who are spoiling the peoples lands in other countries and enslaving their people.It is time for the People to put a stop to what these people are doing in their name and 9/11 was just one of what I think will be an ever increasing attempt at payback for our letting the Power Elite run amuck. The world does not and should not look like the US in order to run smoothly. We should not win any war because it only encourages us to do it again and again.

As for you desertdude, you are right, the military did not loose the war, the People who sent us there did. I was there during the Tet offensive as a crewchief on a Huey. But it did not matter, it was never our war to win. Had we kept our nose out of it the war would have ended when the French pulled out!

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By Tony Wicher, December 24, 2008 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

Re desertdude, December 24 at 2:03 pm

The objective of the Vietnam war was to subdue the people of Vietnam and prevent them from choosing their national hero, Ho Chi Minh, to lead them. It did not matter how many battles the military won in Vietnam because the military could not perform the political task of legitimizing a corrupt government not supported by its own people.

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By Tony Wicher, December 24, 2008 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

By cann4ing, December 24 at 4:41 pm #

It’s sad to say, but the reason the anti-war movement was so much more effective in the 60s was because everyone’s a$$ was on the line.
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c,

It wasn’t so damn effective then either. I went to my first anti-war demonstration in 1964, and we didn’t get out of Vietnam until 10 years later. I think the Vietnam experience did leave a mark on the American psyche. People turned against the war after only two or three years this time.

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By gummingit4fun, December 24, 2008 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cann4ing—better take another look. Aside from his seeming agreement with your quote, the rest of the article basically endorses your view.

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By cann4ing, December 24, 2008 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

Scott Ritter states:

“It has often been said that Iraq is not Vietnam and that any effort to compare the two wars is misguided and intellectually dishonest.”
_______________________

Said by whom, Captain Ritter?  Both Iraq and Vietnam reflect failed U.S. efforts at imperial conquest in which the U.S. resorted to brutal counter-insurgency techniques and massive fire power to try to terrorize the subject population into submission.  Both wars proved quite costly, both in terms of civilian and military casualties and in the impact of exorbitant expenditures on the military-industrial complex with a corresponding reduction in the availability of public funds for public needs here at home.  The diversion of troops and money to Vietnam prevented President Johnson from proceeding with his “War on Poverty,” and the Bush regime’s expenditures on Iraq—which Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates will cost $3 trillion has certainly added a severe drain aiding in our present collapse—much as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan facilitated that nation’s collapse.

You may be an expert on WMD, but I suspect you are too young to really remember Vietnam, Captain Ritter.  I’m not.  I spent the better part of 1968 in Vietnam’s Central Highlands (4th Infantry) before returning home to college and the anti-war movement.  The only difference between the current war and Nam—aside from our now paying private contractors from KBR to pull KP—is that back then we had a more effective anti-war movement because we had a draft.  (I was a draftee).

It’s sad to say, but the reason the anti-war movement was so much more effective in the 60s was because everyone’s a$$ was on the line.

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By desertdude, December 24, 2008 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

THE MILITARY DID NOT LOSE IN VIETNAM. WE DESIMATED
THE VIET CONG ON TET 1968. WE NEVER LOST A BATTLE BUT
THE POLITICIONS LOST THE WAR. NOT ONE OTHER COUNTRY WENT COMMUNIST. RITTER TAKE YOUR LEFT HAND AND GRAB YOUR RIGHT EAR AND DO THE SAME TO YOUR OTHER EARE AND PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR BUTT.

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By SamSnedegar, December 24, 2008 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

“...He is taking the 2011 date seriously, even though it is likely the birthday of the next excuse…”

Scott Ritter may have been a Marine once, but he changed all that when he became a spook for the CIA. If you believe ONE thing he says EVER, you are a fool. Oh, he’s made a lot of money out of his part of the adventure, but he is still ever and always a SPOOK. The “enablers” are the ones who read Ritter’s crap and believe one single word of it.

Happy holidays.

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By Bill, December 24, 2008 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ritter:

“All that is needed is a “decent interval” in which the perception of an American-induced stability catches hold among the American people, and by extension, American politicians.”

No way I play this political game. No Way anyone should die for it.

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By MAR, December 24, 2008 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

The only parallel is that both wars were unnecessary in the extreme, caused by self-delusion of US politicians a) that they were necessary and justifiable and b)both were conducted with little regard to the United Nations in the delusion that thge US had been appointed cop of the world - only in the eyes of its own politicians.

The “war on terror” is nonsense. The people who were sacrificed on 9/11 were few compared to the tens if not hundreds of thousands sacrificed in the US’s self-righteous pursuits. One US death equals one non-US death but that is not the scale used by the self-justifying politicos in the US. The troops in Afghanistan, whethr US, Candian, Brit, whatever, should be pulled out immedoiatel as there will be no permanent difference the their occupation. Islam will erase any benefits from their presence as soon as they leave.

Kill one Afghan accidentally and you immediately creatwe ten Taliban, I believe.

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By yellowbird2525, December 24, 2008 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

And in Afghanistan the USA who set the image “just like them” are corrupt abusive to citizens gunslingers; who pay $1b a year to the Pakistani Gov to have THEIR military set up & TRAIN the “taliban” as al queda were small & no guns at all or very few; per Sarah Chayes on Bill Moyers Journal: however, properly brainwashed by the deceitful political BS here in USA; youtube power of nightmares demonstrates how Romsfelf with others based of false reports & deception deceived the PUBLIC into “they are a force for good” THE USA: TRUTH is: Rumsfeld got FORMALDEHYDE put right thru the FDA which FOOLS the public into thinking it & other agencies & THIS Corrupt nazi minded Gov is “good”; they deliverately LEFT BEHIND American POW"S told Nam to give them to LAOS so they could tell the public here there were none left in Nam. (didn’t want to ransom them); wanted instead to use the $ on perversion they are well known for.

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By Tom Semioli, December 24, 2008 at 11:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America is not at war in Iraq, and never was. We are occupying Iraq- big difference. All this nonesense about withdrawal is laughable.

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By Shift, December 24, 2008 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

There is no honor in Washington, only self-serving corruption.  If soldiers were asked to choose between two choices:  Come home now, or stay three years to create the illusion of honor, what would they choose?  Screw honor let’s go home would be the answer.  Now there’s an independent thought!

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By Bruce Mullen, December 24, 2008 at 8:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

George bush did not start America on its road to crime. He is just another dupe on its long, long road of destruction. America was born of war, nourished by war and will die, not of war, but of diseases brought about by these wars: greed, corruption, arrogance and ignorance. It will be a painful death for those who had such high hopes for America and for democracy.

During it formative years it fought the French, the Mexicans, the British numerous times, the Spanish, its Native People for 250 years, and even itself in its worst war in history to become what it is today.
It fought useless, stupid world wars in Europe, in Korea, against Japan, and in Vietnam of course, for no other reason than to become the power it is today. It has bombed at least 25 countries since WW2. Moreover it has overthrown almost every socialist country in the world in which its leader has tried to give some of its wealth back to his people. It has done this in all of Central America, Haiti numerous times, most of South America, the Middle East, all of Africa, South East Asia, and just about any other part of the world in which people love in misery, poverty and sickness. And it has supported the Zionist of Israel who are not only destroying the Palestinians but Judaism as well.

Finally it seems it is now about to gag, if not die, on the evil, corruption and greed that has taken it to this place in history. And it blames this on a political simpleton from Texas, a man so innocent of the world that he thought he thought Africa was a country! No, George is not the problem. The problem is America. Its dream has long been a nightmare for the world and the nightmare has come home.

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By oujiQualm34, December 24, 2008 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

I find Scott Ritter’s article kind of like a pacification campaign for those left of Obama who REALLY want to end the war. He is essentially saying to the eleven remaining anti-war activists calm down, allow more time.  He is taking the 2011 date seriously, even though it is likely the birthday of the next excuse.

I went to a speech of Scotts once when he told us to stop criticizing the democrats on Iraq.  NO!  They are pure eneablers.

We need to remember that there is specific propaganda aimed at pacifying theso called left.  Pls. see the history of Encounter magazine, the CIA funded “left” magazine—aimed at keeping this small but in-need-of-taming group in terms of limiting their criticism of global Cold War policies, while making it seem like “Were with you ” on safer issues like national health etc.

Of course I am not saying that Scott Ritter has this explicit intention.  Reguardless, the history of Encounter is historical reality,  We need to use history, not wait for its shelf-life to expire.

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By coco, December 24, 2008 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Whoever in Bush ones administration told Saddam that Kuwait had no strategic advantage to the U.S. so much as told him to invade Kuwait. And after the Bush administration told him to withdraw as his military was stretch from one end of Iraq to the other. A known Alli, the U.S. attacked and destroyed their whole military. Then comes Bush two who launches a senseless war against one of the weakest countries in the world to brand hisself as a war time President. A senseless war we couldn’t afford or win. Then to top it off he puts the country in debt a trillion dollars a year for every year he was in office and sets the stage for total collapse of the economic system in the country. If ever a man was guilty of the stupidity of war crimes and crimes against humanity, it would be GWB and his administration.

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By eileen fleming, December 24, 2008 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

“An eye for an eye will leave US all blind.”-Gandhi

When we speak of the Middle east-ALL roads lead US to Jerusalem.

Baghdad is an open air prison which divides Sunni and Shia populations behind 12ft high walls:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2008/mar/17/baghdad.city.of.walls


Those concrete walls in Baghdad are dwarfed by the 30ft high concrete ones in the ‘Holy’ Land; which is in pieces, Bantustans.

Both builders of those walls claim to be democracies and that the walls are for Security.

Both builders of those walls exhibit the schizophrenic discipline of thinking two contradictory truths at the same time.

Coined by Orwell as doublethink, the Ministry of Peace wages war, the Ministry of Truth fabricates lies and the Ministry of Love tortures and kills any it deems threatening. Most threatening for Big Brother are those with independent thought.


After the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, Israel’s economy was devastated, but then came 9/11, and “suddenly new profit vistas opened up for any company that claimed it could spot terrorists in crowds, seal borders from attack and extract confessions from closed-mouthed prisoners…

Many of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs are using Israel’s status as a fortressed state, surrounded by furious enemies, as a kind of twenty-four-hour-a-day showroom—a living example of how to enjoy relative safety amid constant war…Israel now sends $1.2 billion in “defense” products to the United States—up dramatically from $270 million in 1999…

That makes Israel the fourth-largest arms dealer in the world…Much of this growth has been in the so-called “homeland security” sector.

Before 9/11 homeland security barely existed as an industry. By the end of this year, Israeli exports in the sector will reach $1.2 billion—an increase of 20 percent.

The key products and services are …precisely the tools and technologies Israel has used to lock in the occupied territories.

Israel has learned to turn endless war into a brand asset, pitching its uprooting, occupation and containment of the Palestinian people as a half-century head start in the “global war on terror… Israel’s policy of erecting walls and checkpoints to seal off the occupied territories are also “laboratories where the terrifying tools of our security states are being field-tested Palestinians—whether living in the West Bank or what the Israeli politicians are already calling “Hamasistan”—are no longer just targets. They are guinea pigs…” [2]

excerpted:
http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=860&Itemid=198

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