Post American
Bush is a prisoner of his own demons, and we, in this era of the imperial presidency, are his prisoners, as he steers the country on a reckless road to ruin. The idea that there is something very wrong with that man in the White House, that he is wreathed in a darkness of potentially apocalyptic deadliness – that he is, in short, a deeply disturbed and dangerous individual – is chilling. From the image of the president as benevolent father-figure, we have come, in the historical blink of an eye that marks the time since the days of Dwight Eisenhower, to the chief executive as a reckless and wanton destroyer – not Zeus, but Loki. Blind to evidence, and rendered half-mad by a toxic mix of religious and ideological fervor, the most powerful man in the world is on a death-dealing rampage. No different, really, than one of those crazed gunmen you read about in the news, who go on a spectacular crime spree, kidnapping and murdering their way across several state lines, holding hostages and threatening to kill them the whole way.
We are, all of us, George W. Bush's hostages, and, what's especially scary is that we don't know what he's going to do next. He seems capable of anything. Hersh reports the creation of a special squadron detailed to crossing over the border and pursuing the insurgents into Syria, and certainly we have every reason to expect this war to spread. The reversion to air power perhaps augurs the dawning of new "shock and awe" campaigns, this time over Damascus and points west. This is what the War Party is gunning for, and unless popular opposition to the war forces an American withdrawal along lines suggested by Rep. Murtha – out in six months – that is exactly the prospect we face. We must escalate, or get out – we cannot "stay the course." The president and his advisers are beginning to realize this, and, given Bush's views – after all, I didn't entitle a column "George W. Bush, Trotskyite" for nothing – I leave it to the imagination of my readers which option he will choose.

We aren't cutting and running, according to Hersh: we're cutting and bombing. The idea is to substitute air power for boots on the ground and cut down our losses. It'll be just like in the Kosovo war, when the "Kosovo Liberation Army" acted as spotters for our fighter jets, who would rain down death on targets scouted out by the KLA. That this will greatly increase Iraqi casualties, civilian as well as military, seems not to be a consideration: the assumption is that we'll be killing the bad guys, with the Iraqis doing most of the grunt work. Not everyone, however, is happy with this new strategic turn. The Air Force, says Hersh, is balking, and he quotes a senior Pentagon consultant who defines the problem inherent in such a strategy: "A lot of Iraqis want to settle old scores," but "who is going to have authority to call in air strikes?" As Chris Matthews pointed out on Hardball Tuesday, you're going to have the Air Force at the beck and call of Ahmed Chalabi, a prospect that ought to transfix American policymakers with the sheer horror of it.
We aren't withdrawing from Iraq: instead, the war is being intensified, with the so-called
El Salvador option unleashed, as predicted here some months ago. Iraqi death squads are even now roaming the streets of our "liberated" province, murdering Sunnis and ravaging other centers of opposition to the consolidation of Shi'ite rule. The party militias – the Badr Brigade, the Da'wa Party, the Mahdi Army of Moqtada Sadr, and others – have taken over the Iraqi "police," and the fastening on of a new tyranny is taking place in Kurdistan, where the authorities are preparing an all-out attack on the Arab population. With the full authority and backing of the two major Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), Arabs are being systematically forced out of their homes. Meanwhile, the ultra-nationalist Kurdish parties subsidize "settlements" for "repatriated" Kurds from all over the Middle East, in a conscious imitation of the Israelis.
Israel by the way, is the Kurds' major ally and regional sponsor, as Hersh reported in a previous
New Yorker piece. Their agents, said Hersh, are crawling all over Kurdistan, even as they recognize that the American attempt to pacify the rest of Iraq is failing. This is their "Plan B," as Hersh calls it: if Iraq is being split apart at the seams, their best option is to grab a piece of it as it decomposes. That Kirkuk-to-Israel pipeline Chalabi promised his neocon backers may not be a pipe dream after all, especially if the Kurds succeed in their plan to shift the ethnic balance of oil-rich Kirkuk and seize control of the city they hail as their Jerusalem. This has American officers worried, and it contradicts the much-touted "pro-American" reputation of the Kurds as our trusted friends and allies: American commanders fear the Kurdish militias are about to precipitate a civil war, with our troops caught in the crossfire.
Once we make this an air war, the Kurdish parties will wield American jet fighters as a whip to be used against their sectarian enemies, lashing out at the Arabs, the Assyrians, and anyone else who gets in their way. While Shi'ite and Kurdish death squads comb the streets, carrying out search and destroy missions against alleged "terrorists," the Americans will patrol the skies, zapping entire villages as directed by our proxies on the ground.
There's just one problem with this strategy: "It's not going to work," says the former director of air power studies at the Royal Air Force's advanced staff college, Andrew Brookes, now an analyst with the London-based
International Institute for Strategic Studies. Hersh cites him as asking a very pertinent question, one that conjures up the same ghosts of interventions past channeled by van Creveld.
"'Can you put a lid on the insurgency with bombing? No. You can concentrate in one area, but the guys will spring up in another town.' The inevitable reliance on Iraqi ground troops' targeting would also create conflicts. 'I don't see your guys dancing to the tune of someone else,' Brookes said. He added that he and many other experts 'don't believe that airpower is a solution to the problems inside Iraq at all. Replacing boots on the ground with airpower didn't work in Vietnam, did it?'

"For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C. sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins."

isn't some poster over at or Democratic Underground talking: van Creveld is the author of some 15 books on military history and strategy, including Supplying War (1977), Command in War (1985), and The Sword and the Olive (1998), and has been on the faculty of Hebrew University in Israel since 1971.

Yes, says van Creveld, we must withdraw, and it will be a long and very painful retreat, likely to incur many casualties, but it is nevertheless "inevitable." Yet, in his view: "A complete American withdrawal is not an option; the region, with its vast oil reserves, is simply too important for that. A continued military presence, made up of air, sea and a moderate number of ground forces, will be needed."
your post deserves commenting- it is brillliant- an most importantly, you articulate things that I think. Let's get our priorities declared here. Yes, our country and people have been held hostage for quite some time.

In appreciation for your figuring out this blg thing, I've already lost at least two comments to you...

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Location: Albuquerque, The Homeland

So when do we get invaded to remove the rogue government that spies on its own people, gases its own people during anti War protests, stages "terrorist" attacks, holds crooked elections, attacks other nations without cause, and uses torture on innocent people looking for WMD that don't exist?

200501 / 200502 / 200503 / 200504 / 200505 / 200506 / 200507 / 200508 / 200509 / 200510 / 200511 / 200512 / 200601 / 200602 / 200603 / 200604 / 200605 / 200606 / 200607 / 200608 / 200609 / 200610 / 200702 / 200703 / 200704 / 201004 /

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