Saturday, September 01, 2007

America's Fate Depends Upon Whether Gen. Petraeus is an Honest Man

Having swept both houses in the mid-terms, the party of donkeys may be about to fall off a cliff into the trap set for them by the GOP. Some background: even though, it was Richard Nixon who escalated the Viet Nam war beyond anything previous administrations had dared think about, it was Democrats who paid the price. The GOP convinced the nation that Democrats were weak on defense. The strategy worked to set up Reagan's historic victory. An era of trickle down economics followed and the trend continues to this day: the rich get richer and everyone else falls into an economic black hole.

The GOP had help along the way. Iran undoubtedly cut a deal to delay the release of US hostages until Ronald Reagan was sworn in, It reinforced the "weakness" that stuck on Carter like taffy.

As Eleanor Clift points out, the GOP has pulled out and dusted off a typical GOP strategem, a tired tactic that has, nevertheless, worked miracles for them in the past. Bush, says Clift, will keep just enough troops in Iraq " provide a surface illusion of progress." Bush will leave it to the Democrats to pull out and cut off support for whatever regime is in place. It will not matter to the GOP that it will fall because it will never have been legitimate. The GOP will blame "weak-kneed, weak on defense" Democrats for the inevitable fall of an illegitimate puppet regime.

Viet Nam redux! Democrats paid dearly for having "...pulled funding from the South Vietnamese government." Wouldn't it be interesting, however, if Gen. Petraeus should be the one to explode the GOP strategy in their faces, in "full view of the world"?
This scenario was suggested to me by Ernest Evans, a professor of political science at the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kans. Several hundred of his former students are currently serving in Iraq. In a recent e-mail outlining his views, he wrote, “I do not believe a single serious student of unconventional war believes that the surge will help the US win in Iraq. The purpose of the surge is not to provide ‘space’ for Iraq’s politicians but rather to provide ‘cover’ for DC’s politicians.”

There is one other thing to keep in mind, he wrote, and that is the extent to which Petraeus, a serious scholar and student of history, might be influenced by Vietnam. Nobody knows what he will say or how Gillespie and the White House will massage the message. The expectation is that he will fall into line, but he could surprise everyone by giving an unvarnished assessment of how truly bleak the US options are in Iraq. The argument for why he may be the one to drop the horse’s head on Bush’s bed: the late Gen. William Westmoreland will always be remembered for the optimistic report he gave to Congress in late 1967, only to have the Tet Offensive occur shortly after, destroying the public’s confidence that the war was winnable. In Iraq, the holy Muslim holiday Ramadan could bring heightened violence reminiscent of Tet. Petraeus has his reputation to protect, and being remembered as the William Westmoreland of the Iraq War is something no Army officer wants.

Eleanor Clift, Marketing the War

Finger-pointing is always to be expected near the ends of lost wars. And Iraq, make no mistake, is a lost war. Too many writers have blamed Bush for not defining victory. In fact, victory could not be defined and there was never any way to win.

Much has already been written about a growing rift between Bush and the uniformed military command. Much of the blame has leveled at Bush and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Other deserving targets are Vice President Dick Cheney, General Tommy Franks, the former commander of US Central Command, Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy secretary of defense, and L. Paul Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. All but two are already out office. Bush is now on a second defense secretary, a third CIA director and the third commanding general in Iraq. None of the suffling has changed a thing. A lost war got even worse over time. This suggests that "personalities" had nothing to do with the very source of the problem back at the White House.

Was Petraeus put into his position to be a yes man? The future of the US comes down to whether or not Gen. Petraeus is an honest man or Bush's man, a real patriot or compromised GOP puppet.
In an internal assessment given to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, a senior intelligence analyst and a military planner for the US command in Baghdad call for shifting US strategy in Iraq away from counterinsurgency and toward peace enforcement, and they suggest that the Shiite-led ruling coalition is involved in the country's "low-grade civil war."

The Aug. 15 briefing, titled "Resolving the Conflict in Iraq: An Alternative Peacemaking Strategy," offers an unusual glimpse into the intellectual debate within the US military over the way forward in Iraq, and it comes just days before Petraeus, the top US commander there, is scheduled to testify before Congress on the progress of President Bush's war strategy.

--Washington Post, New Strategy Urged in Briefing to Petraeus

Much has been written on this blog and others about long term reforms that might make this a better country in Bush's wake. All are dreams until Bush and the GOP leadership that conspired with him is brought to justice.

They deceived the country into the Iraq War by abusing the intelligence gathering process and telling us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, leading us to believe that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks and was a direct threat to the United States. We now know that none of that was true and we continue to learn more about the ugly and dishonest process that took this Nation to War. I cannot conceive of a more significant reason to impeach a President and Vice President than brazenly misusing the capabilities of this government to start a War. That War has cost the entire world dearly. The price we are paying continues to grow. The country of Iraq has been destroyed along with over half a million Iraqi people dead. Our Nation has lost the lives of thousands of young men and women, seen many more come back wounded or disabled and disrupted the careers and family lives of our National Guard troops - the suffering and damage is beyond comprehension, and yet it goes on and grows. And beyond that, we have spent billions upon billions of dollars that have mostly been borrowed from future generations. Consider for a moment what those billions could have accomplished if they had not been wasted. And all of this for what? I am outraged by every part of the decision to start this war and the way that they have carried it out. And I ask you, are you outraged? I ask you, given this picture must Bush and Cheney be held accountable?

I am outraged that here in this country, they listened to phone conversations, intercepted emails and spied electronically on Americans with a program that was so clearly a violation of the law that even Bush’s own attorney general, John Ashcroft, refused to certify it as in compliance with law. I ask you, must Bush and Cheney be held accountable?

In this country, at Guantanamo and around the world, they illegally captured and detained people without appropriate hearings and safeguards in a way that was determined by the Supreme Court to be a violation of the Constitution. Just Friday, the Supreme Court took the very unusual step of re-opening its consideration of an appeal from Guantanamo. I ask you, must Bush and Cheney be held accountable?

They used torture and sent prisoners to other countries where they would be tortured even more severely -and the Vice President was one of the chief architects of the torture program. I ask you, must Bush and Cheney be held accountable?

And we see even more reasons to impeach - the blatant disregard for the rule of law is rampant in this Administration. President Bush uses signing statements to announce which portions of laws passed by Congress he will not obey or enforce. The Administration refuses to cooperate with legitimate Congressional inquiries or to comply with subpoenas. And then there is the secrecy and the covering up - the refusal to comply with Federal law about preserving secret information, setting up a separate secret email system and then deleting thousands of emails, the order to the Secret Service to destroy all logs of visitors to the President and Vice President. I can only imagine how many more grounds for impeachment there would be if we knew all they are hiding.

But, outrage and anger are not enough. We have a job to do and that job is to hold this Administration accountable and take this country back. The power to change history is on our hands. We share a positive vision that we can help our Nation change for the better. We are the ones that we’ve been waiting for. There in no one else who will do our job. But our job is not easy. As we’ve called for impeachment, we’ve heard many objections - even from those who believe that there has been serious wrongdoing.

--Impeachment: We’ve Got a Job to Do, John Kaminski, Chair of the Maine Lawyers for Democracy, at the Citizens Summit for Impeachment

Why Bush Must be Stopped!

Why Bush Must Be Stopped Before He Nukes Iran!

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