Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bush's Last Gasp Amid a Lost War

A strong voice has emerged that lays bare the fraud and incompetence behind Bush's Iraq strategy from the bombing campaign to the surge -a last desparate grasp for illusory "victory". The voice is that of Rory Stewart of Britain's Foreign Office. He brings to the table his experiences in Afghanistan and in Iraq as a Deputy Governor.

Stewart declares flatly that the Bush/Blair war on Iraq is already lost, there are no good options left Bush. A civil war has been underway for some time now. That opinion, of course, is also that of this blog and has been since its inception. Stewart made his case on BBC's Hardtalk where he was cross-examined by Steven Sackur. Stewart says of the surge that it will "...only kill a lot of people" (See: All the King's Men Sign a Death Warrant on American GIs) It is a failed strategy. Citing experiences in Fallujah and elsewhere, he says that Bush's proposal is doomed to fail.

"I see no reason to believe that this will not be the case again," Stewart says. He is correct to point out that so-called insurgents have always been unaffected by surges. Insurgents always return to an area when coalition forces pull out.

It is not only the sectarian nature of the conflict but Bush's inability to define victory that makes winning impossible. Certainly it has been noticed that when Bush administration officials used to talk of victory now they talk only of security. Even when expectations are thus scaled down, the Bush administration is mute on how security is achieved when warring sects comprise the government itself. As this blog asked long ago: when civil war breaks out in Iraq, which side will Bush be on?

Ideological slogans marked the run up to war. Tragically, no slogan defined success but all them may have been designed to make GOP ideologues feel good about supporting a war of aggression and the ongoing war crime in the wake of attack and invasion.

Stewart comes to the point. Stated US goals, he says, are not achievable. Indeed, it may be too late for the US to shape Iraq's future in any way whatsoever. The surge which we now know will involve some 21,000 additional troops is called a "grave mistake." Underscoring the point, Stewart states: "What we can do, we have done." I wonder if Stewart might also have been thinking about how the irreparable harm that has been done might be undone. That, of course, is impossible. The enemy is hard to identify. Conventional forces cannot just go in, Stewart says, and have any effect.

Sunnis and Shias have at least this much in common. Both want the Americans out! Both sects have other things in common but we may never know about them. According to Stewart, Britain actually stopped talks between the warring factions. Why would the coalition fear the possibility of peace breaking out in the war zone? When something might have developed, nothing was. Stewart concludes: "Getting rid of Saddam is pretty much all that we have accomplished." It is my opinion that even that is tarnished by the ludicrous nature of the kangaroo court that tried Saddam and, of course, the farcical and cruel nature of the lynching that followed. It is hard to imagine that Bush would have wanted to make of Saddam a martyr.

Bush claims that pulling out now would result in disaster. Stewart, however, sees a phased withdrawal as Iraq's only hope at this point. BBC's Stephen Sackur pressed the issue, asking if such a pullout would result in a terrible civil war. Stewart's answer: "There is a terrible civil war now."

Indeed, some 3,000 Iraqis die every month. Stewart asks: "What is achieved by staying another year, three years, or six years?" That question may have been answered by Edwin Starr at the height of American involvement in Viet Nam. War! What is it good for? Absolutely Nuthin'.

At last, the opinion of the world has turned against the Bush/Blair conspiracy to occupy Iraq.
Agree with many of your points written above, but no-one 'dragged' this country into the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Yes, Blair acquiesced to US foreign policy, but the invasion was also supported and voted for by a huge majority of our MP's.

The choice to invade and occupy Iraq was made by the elected representatives of Britain. No-one else is to blame for this idiocy - it's Blair and our MP's.

Still, every cloud has a silver lining . . . I hope to see Blair eventually prosecuted by an energised International Criminal Court. Subsequently, I look forward to the day when I, and other British taxpayers are forced to pay reparations to Iraqis for the horrendous consequences of this immoral and illegal act.

-Comments, Defiance and Delusion, The Guardian

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SadButTrue said...

One thing this post demonstrates Len is that being out of the country actually increases one's access to quality news and analysis regarding the U.S. of A. The corporate-dominated talking heads States-side are so bad that they must now be regarded as the noise obscuring the truth, no longer the signal.

Bush's speech in attempt to justify his escalation of the debacle in Iraqle (channeling Howard Cosell for a second there) was in defiance of Abraham Lincoln's advice; "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." The Imbecile in Chief merely demonstrated that he remains divorced and estranged from reality, having learned nothing from the advice of his generals or the Republican defeat in the November polls.

Is he even capable of learning? I ask that question in my latest post, Bush Defends his Plan -- NOT!!

Len Hart said...

You are correct, Sad. This interview would never have been broadcast in America during the run up to war in Iraq. Even now, one is hard pressed to get such a blunt assessment anywhere on the American media. Sackur is himself a brilliant interviewer having inherited Hardtalk from John Sebastian whom I understand created the program.

Thanks for the link to Les Enrages. I like this excerpt: "After a lifetime of having his ass pulled out of every situation, he apparently believes that number to be unlimited." Indeed, why should we have expected that Bush might have effected a different outcome in Iraq given his lifetime record of dismal screw ups followed by bail outs. Someone very dear to me predicted as much about five years ago.

Len Hart said...

Poll: Americans oppose Iraq troop surge

An excerpt: "The opposition to boosting troop levels in Iraq reflects growing skepticism that the United States made the right decision in going to war in the first place and that a stable, democratic government can be established there. Just 35 percent think it was right for the United States to go to war, a new low in AP polling and a reversal from two years ago, when two-thirds of Americans thought it was the correct move."

"Sixty percent, meanwhile, think it is unlikely that a stable, democratic Iraqi government will be established."

"Fully 70 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops, and a like number don't think such an increase would help stabilize the situation there. The telephone survey of 1,002 adults was conducted Monday through Wednesday night, when the president made his speech calling for an increase in troops. News had already surfaced before the polling period that Bush wanted to boost U.S. forces in Iraq."

damien said...

Len, it's nice to get an authoritative assesment from Rory Stewart. No good can come from the current exercise. It's all PR. The troops will make little difference on the ground. Most of the bloggers, antiwar, counterpunch etc are looking to an attack on Iran. I think they'r right. In that regard it's worth noting that former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte said in April 2006 that the nuclear threat from Iran was overrated and not likely to eventuate soon:

Our assessment at the moment is that even though we believe that Iran is determined to acquire or obtain a nuclear weapon, that we believe that it is still a number of years off before they are likely to have enough fissile material to assemble into or to put into a nuclear weapon, perhaps into the next decade, so that I think it's important that this issue be kept in perspective.

The Iran issue is going to flair up again very soon. I found some articles helpful (1 2 3 ) but there is a lot of good stuff out there. I am also concerned about a lack of appreciation on the part of the general public of the dangers of an US-Israeli attack upon Iran. It really is opening up a can of worms that could lead to WW3. Bush must go. Two years is too long and he's too dangerous.

familyguy said...

I think by doing his speech Bush got the feedback that he didn't expect, and this is in the last 12 hours maybe less...and I think that the war was lost before it started because wars are not won, they are ended. Some how Bush still menages to keep his stocks up

Sebastien Parmentier said...

Some toons...

BenMerc said...

It is amazing how much of this war has been exposed and continues to be. You should have seen Robert Wexler of Florida's 19th district FRY Condi Rice the other day, that and other exchanges were revealing and intense. And yet other then pissing off all of those that have been for some time, (like since 2000 for me, although Len I know you had to live with the bone head for years as Gov...but don't feel too bad, we got stuck with his weird-o little brother) I digress...where is the outrage?

Yet we watch the mainstream punditry lay the foundation for Bush's possible segway into Iran. Failure in Afghanistan, Iraq and now we are being set up to be propagandized into allowing the bombing of Iran. I do believe many that have stated in theory that a total regional breakdown and war was and is a neo-con goal. At what cost short and long term? Or what may be the global impacts...WWIII? This leadership and those that carry their water are a menace to humanity across the planet.

I do agree the US needs to decide and follow through with a long term concise policy and effort concerning the Middle East, something that has been avoided for years. One of the first things we should have done and had several wake up calls to do so over the past 35 years, was to extricate our economic dependence on the region. Only then will an honest approach be made possible to help , if we are asked to do so. As far as I can tell we are already 35 years behind, and then we allow the Bush group to take a monumental task and create an impossibility out of it, spreading not democracy ...but misery and death.

Len Hart said...

...where is the outrage?

It's there...but hasn't yet found a voice.

...we watch the mainstream punditry lay the foundation for Bush's possible segway into Iran.

Congressman Ron Paul of Texas had warned that Bush may pull off a *Gulf of Tonkin" incident, blame Iran, and go to war. WWIII. Hold on to your butts. Better yet, oust the illegitimate usurper who stole both elections. One is tempted at this point to support a military coup d'etat by generals sympathetic to the ones Bush discard when he shopped around for "men" who would tell him what he wants to hear.

BenMerc said...

It will be interesting to see how much an empowered Dem congress will take. If Bush/Cheney go for it, I have a feeling the Murtha's, Leheys's , Kennedy's etc may just have something up their sleeve. I hope they (his "people") get Bush under control, but after witnessing how staff and administrators including the top dogs, just blew off Jim Baker...I thought, this is going for a show down, no doubt about it.

damien said...

The Congress and even some of the media are on to the idea of a 'Gulf of Tonkin' incident and they're voicing their concerns. OTOH, defending Israel from a major attack might be compelling...

BenMerc said...

Yeah, that is where it usually ends up...and despite the long holding treaties made with some Arab states, it seems ALL parties involved would rather a military show down to settle this long term conflict. And, of course we (U.S) have over the years been slowly embedded in the most twisted and convoluted manner, and our schizoid, hypocritical policies have proved that out. Watching the Moyers doc the SAD has posted up-thread brings all that old sludge back to mind.

There have been many that have worked diligently and honestly over the years to truly resolve what may seem as insurmountable social, economic, cultural/religious divides. But at the end of the road we have the twisted Reagan policies and the neglect of the Bush/Clinton years not to mention the corrupt and complete incompetence of Bush jr to thank for this end game. And at this point other then when the big issues as they are now coming to a head emerge, most Americans don't really seem to care what goes on ...until it becomes a problem. so, we elect people that we thought have had our best interests in mind, when in fact wholesale special interests are typically well ahead in line before the interest of our nation in general.