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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bring The Troops Home NOW!

Well. Isn't that just ducky? Raw Story tells us that, after reviewing hundreds of thousands of captured Iraqi documents, the Pentagon has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein had any connection at al with al-Qaeda.

Apparently, the only links between Saddam and any terrorist groups were just like ours. Just as we funded and armed Osama bin Laden to wage Islamic Jihad against the Russians when they invaded Afghanistan in support of Babrak Kamal's government, Saddam Hussein funded and armed groups to attack "Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime."

The study is due to Congress and for general release by midweek.

The article, penned by Warren Strobel of McClatchy's Washington Bureau, states, in part:
[...] the upcoming Pentagon report promises to be a particularly stark and thorough refutation of one of the primary Bush administration arguments for the invasion of Iraq [i.e., that Saddam Hussein was linked to al-Qaeda. Another Bush Misadministration argument, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, has already been thoroughly refuted.] The subsequent war has come at the cost of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, nearly 4,000 US troop deaths, and some half a trillion US dollars and counting.
Mr. Strobel's math skills are poor &mdash or perhaps McClatchy prefers to err on the cautious side of the balance ledger. Current wisdom has it that the total cost of Shrubya's Little Misadventure will run to over three trillion dollars. These costs do not address the Iraqis we've maimed and wounded, or the bills that other countries foolish enough to join in the "coalition of the willing" face. Britain, for example, announced today that their estimated cost will total approximately ten billion pounds sterling.

The article adds that the Bush Misadministration continues to lie about Saddam's Iraq and al-Qaeda, despite previously released documents and reports indicating the same findings as the forthcoming extensive review. As recently as last April, Vice President Dick Cheney again asserted a link between the Iraqi dictator and the terror network. So, if you know anyone stupid enough to listen to them and believe, please buy a copy of the review when it is released and use it to beat some sense into them.

The study is entitled "Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents." Although it has been essentially complete since last year, it has been undergoing what one U.S. intelligence official described as a "painful" declassification review.

The article notes, in a painful aside, that "In fact, al Qaida in Iraq didn't emerge until 2004, a year after the invasion." Was that before or after Commander Codpiece was strutting around on the deck of an aircraft carrier in a uniform before a banner that screamed "Mission Accomplished," to the collective spooging of the shameless press corps?

Photo montage from with the request that you spread it around

Meanwhile, we note that almost exactly a month ago, Auntie Beeb published a piece about the "reverse surge" that appears to be grimly prophetic. That article was pointing out the increase in violent incidents, many of which seemed to be targeting the Sunnis that the U.S. has been wooing with large sums of money:
US commanders on the ground [...] have pumped money into local economies by employing tens of thousands of young Sunni men as local auxiliaries - now re-named "Sons of Iraq" after several unhappier titles such as "Concerned Local Citizens" - to act as the eyes and ears of the US and Iraqi troops in the struggle against the militants.

They are also trying to encourage the Baghdad government to be more proactive in providing services and job-creation schemes in areas where the insurgents have been driven out.
But as we, and many others, have pointed out, the war has been going on for five years at this point. It's a bit late to start trying to win "hearts and minds." What's more, as the U.S. military strategy in Vietnam might suggest, the buying over of the "Sons of Iraq" sounds suspiciously like Tricky Dick's "changing the color of the corpses."

Al-Qaeda, and those Iraqis who are fighting the U.S. military will treat as traitors any Iraqis who side with the U.S. military. The U.S. is not going to stay in Iraq forever, John McCain or no John McCain. We simply cannot afford to. Sooner or later, our internal economic straits will be so dire, as a result of siphoning money out of the country to fund a prolonged war, that our economy will collapse. The U.S. is not willing to accept Iraqi refugees in any significant number. Despite the fact that more than 4 million Iraqis are now refugees, either in their own country or in Syria, Jordan, and other neighbouring nations, only approximately 7,000 have been accepted into the U.S. to date, and the original target of 25,000 has been lowered to 7,000.

Besides, the "hearts and minds" that the U.S. military is trying to win are deeply split even among themselves. We've said this repeatedly: Iraq has always been a fractured, heterogenous nation, with many different ethnic and religious groups, divided loyalties, in many ways still adhering to family, clan, tribe and feudal notions of society.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that Auntie Beeb once again informed us just yesterday that a woman had detonated her explosive vest when she came calling on a Son of Iraq. Chances are that, just like the Issawi celebrants mentioned in the previous link, the woman was either a member of the tribe of the slain "Son of Iraq," Thaer Ghadban al-Karkhi.

According to Auntie Beeb, Al Karkhi was the head of one of the majority-Sunni Arab Awakening Councils, allied with the US military against al-Qaeda in Iraq. How true that is, we have to wonder, since the same piece identified "Sheikh" Abdul Sattar Abu Risha as the head of the Awakening Council in Anbar, a key US ally who was widely credited with having defeated al-Qaeda in much of western Iraq. Greg Palast can give you the lowdown on the "Sheikh."

We ourselves have blogged about the "Sheikh's" mysterious trips with U.S. money. $75 million worth, fellow-taxpayers.

Meanwhile, to add further credence to Auntie Beeb's prognostications, Raw Story is telling us that forty-two people died in Iraq today as the result of violence. Forty-two. Do you know forty-two people? Add up your family members. You might have to include a few neighbours or colleagues.

Now imagine that these people who you, maybe, love, or like, or just know, were blown to smithereens. An assemblage of body parts, bloody meat, barely recognizable as human. Now imagine that happens to you every day. You probably don't know enough people to sustain that kind of loss every day for a year, probably not even a month. Well, for the Iraqis, this has been going on for five long years. And some days, it's a lot more than forty-two people.

In other news, eight U.S. servicemen were also killed. When are we going to bring our troops home? Because this has gone on too damned long. The troops did the job they were sent there to do. An army's job is to fight. They fought. The other stuff has to be done by non-military qualified and experienced civilian personnel. But Boy George wanted to send his friends and cronies out there to bilk the taxpayer, and because they're the friends and cronies of an incompetent boob, to no one's surprise they too are incompetent boobs. So now we have a failed state, in which people are being killed every day in large numbers. And it's too dangerous to send qualified experienced civilian personnel out there to help to fix the mess we made.

Every day that the soldiers stay there is one more day that they present a target to a people furious that their country has been invaded, their jobs are gone, their economy is faltering, they don't have power or light or working telephones, their streets are unsafe, and their wives, sisters, mothers, and daughters are being raped and beaten and killed, while their sons, brothers, fathers, and husbands are kidnapped, tortured, and killed. Get them out NOW. Bring them home.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, articles like this are just beginning to show up on the radar. The article states that railcars due to ease congestion in Philadelphia will be delayed. See if you can guess why.
New SEPTA Regional Rail cars will be at least four months late, delaying relief for riders on the increasingly crowded rail lines, SEPTA officials said yesterday.

[...] delivery of the rest of the 120-car order will also be pushed back at least four months, Nowakowski said. Final delivery of all the railcars is now scheduled for October 2010.

Rotem [the company building the cars, Ed.] was unable to procure enough of the type of steel specified in the SEPTA contract because the U.S. government has cornered the market; it is using the steel for armoring vehicles bound for Iraq, Nowakowski said.
For the sake of the dying, dead, maimed and wounded, in Iraq and at home; for the sake of the faltering economy, the people losing their homes, the people without health care, or with inadequate care; for the sake of the families that are being fractured by the stresses of this war; for the sake of the nation that is tottering under the accumulation of debt and the loss of its sons and daughters &mdash bring them home. End the war now.

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