Sunday, August 21, 2005

A memo, a flight suit, a vigil and Babylon

"For us, the organizers of the vigil are phony-baloney, betraying the sacrifices that those men and women make in Iraq, by demanding that we pull our troops out now and leave Iraq to go to hell," said Kristinn Taylor, co-leader of the [FreeRepublic.com] group's Washington, D.C., chapter. "This is a publicity stunt."
A publicity stunt? Did Cindy Sheehan conduct her vigil on the top of a telephone pole? Kristinn, that's a publicity stunt.

What Sheehan's genuine protest has accomplished, among other things, is to illustrate in human terms the fact that there had been inadequate planning for the post-war occupation in Iraq, the time period in which Casey, Sheehan's son, was killed. Had there been adequate planning, would the occupation have been as bloody? Would Casey still be alive?

The State Department memo from 7 February 2003 which was declassified recently and which warned State Department Under Secretary Paula Dobriansky about U.S. Central Command's lack of planning for the post-war phase is another illustration, an Exhibit B. One can only imagine what the response of the "top CENTCOM officials" was when Craner, Dewey and Simons of the State Department offered "technical assistance" to them. I can picture the CENTCOM officials smiling and saying "No thanks. We're good." Or "We can handle it. We're professionals."

So why was there inadequate planning for the occupation? Mickey Herskowitz, who in 1999 was removed as the ghost-writer for Bush's autobiography, told interviewer Russ Baker in 2004 that the idea of a "small war"—a quick get-in-get-out engagement—dates back to the Reagan-Thatcher years. Apparently it was Cheney, then the Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, who said something like "Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade." The Bush administration must have been convinced, right through the "Mission Accomplished" publicity stunt, that that's what they would be able to do. They would wage a small get-in-get-out war that they could walk away from and enjoy the prestige that a successful military campaign always provides a political leader. The concerns that were raised about the aftermath of the war were confidently ignored. It's probably safe to say that the Bush administration's obssession with invading Iraq wasn't motivated by a desire to bring about Armageddon and the
return of Christ, even though Bush has close ties with Tim LaHaye, the author of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic novels, of which 60 million copies have been sold. The premature "Mission Accomplished" stunt suggests pretty clearly that they expected to follow a get-in-get-out plan. Had Bush wanted to precipitate the "Rapture" and the "Tribulation," he would not have expected to be around to see the end of the war, except from a vantage point in Heaven with the other raptured faithful. Even so, this quote from a Rolling Stone article from January 2004 is a little chilling:
But the idea that Bush, in going to war against Iraq, might have been moved not by politics but by an apocalyptic vision is terrifying to some. Last October, the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance wrote a formal letter to Bush, saying, in part, "Please assure the American people that you are not developing foreign policy on the basis of a fundamentalist biblical theology that requires cataclysm in Israel in order to guarantee the return of Christ." So far, he has not received an answer, and the White House didn't return calls from Rolling Stone asking whether the president has read Left Behind.
As far as pulling our troops out now and leaving Iraq "to go to hell," as Kristinn described it, my suspicion is that the insurgency would diminish to the degree that the American presence in Iraq diminishes. If American troops were to pull out immediately, as Sheehan recommended, the very reason that the insurgents are fighting would be eliminated. I imagine they would celebrate the withdrawal beneath Arabic banners reading "Mission Accomplished."

4 comments:

enigma4ever said...

Great post.....and valid points....I almost threw up when I saw the Bush "Dolly" or is it "Inaction Figure"....I doubt the figure is anatomically correct....oh, that's right- neither is Shrub.....Sorry, that was rude...I am so sick the way the Right Wing Nuts think it is Just Fine to lamblast a grieving mom....and on some of these blogs...as a mom makes me a bit testy....My son now really wants to get one of these figures....I have a feeling it would meet a very sad fate.....

enigma4ever said...

Oh.. I forgot to say go over to our blog - Watergate Summer- we have some poll numbers you will love...( http://watergatesummer.blogspot.com/)

OTTMANN said...

To pull out now would certainly embolden the Islamic wackos to continue their Jihad against the world. For more on Cindy... see my current post.

Question: Have you ever read "The Ezekial Option"?

SPC C. Flowers said...

Hello:

Since you mentioned CENTCOM, I wanted to let you know that the website (http://www.centcom.mil) features the latest news coming out of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. There's a weekly newsletter, the monthly Coalition Bulletin magazine which covers accomplishments by the international coalition, photo galleries and more. The latest press release can be found at http://www.centcom.mil/CENTCOMNews/news_release.asp?NewsRelease=20050821.txt. I'll paste the text below.

All the best,

SPC C. Flowers
CENTCOM Public Affairs

# # #

August 22, 2005
Release Number: 05-08-21


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


SUCCESSES THIS WEEK IN IRAQ (12-18 AUGUST 2005)

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Some of the Iraqi citizens benefiting from reconstruction this week were school children. Several projects were completed across the country, including school buildings. The Iraqi Security Forces continued to display their capability, and local citizens contributed to the security of their communities.

Children in Dobak Tappak village of Al Tamim Province received much-needed school supplies, clothing and toys from the Nahrain Foundation, a non-governmental organization that focuses on providing proper nutrition, decent clothing and medical supplies to Iraqi women and children. The foundation received its supplies as part of a joint effort between American donations and a Coalition forces-run program known as “Operation Provide School Supplies,” which accepts donations from private citizens and corporations in the U.S.

More than 600 children will return to renovated or rebuilt schools in Maysan Province when school starts this fall. This week, renovation on the Al-Eethnar Mud School was completed, and the Al Eethar Mud School was replaced at a cost of $87,000, benefiting 500 students who attend classes there.

In addition to reconstruction on schools, eight newly constructed schools in Wassit and Babil Provinces are receiving new furniture before the start of the school year. Each of the school projects will receive office desks and chairs, file cabinets and new student desks. Collectively, 400 three-student desks will be proportionally divided among the schools, based upon the number of students.

More reconstruction projects in Sadr City started this week, including the $13 million electrical distribution project for sectors one through eight. When complete, an estimated 128,000 people will have a reliable source of electricity. The project includes installation of power lines, 3,040 power poles, 80 transformers, 2,400 street lights, and power connections to individual homes, complete with meters.

Construction started on the $3.8 million Al Rayash Electricity Substation project in Al Daur District of Salah Ad Din Province, located between Tikrit and Bayji. The project, which is expected to be completed in early December, will provide reliable service to 50,000 Iraqi homes and small businesses. An electric distribution and street lighting project in Daquq was completed on Aug. 17, providing new overhead distribution lines and street lighting in the community.

Approximately two million people will benefit from the Baghdad trunk sewer line, which was completed this week. Workers cleaned and repaired the Baghdad trunk sewer line and its associated manholes and pumping stations. The $17.48 million project restored principal sewage collection elements in the Adhamiya, Sadr City and 9-Nissan districts of Baghdad, and will provide for the intended sewer flows to the Rustamiya wastewater treatment plant.

In Basrah, construction is complete on phase one of the $865,000 Basrah courthouse project. This five-phase project is expected to be entirely complete in October of 2005. This main courthouse in Basrah, expected to hold a number of high profile trials, continues to operate during construction. Iraqi subcontractors are working on the project, and employing an average of 70 local Iraqi workers daily.

Iraqi security forces benefited from reconstruction projects this week as well. A patrol station in the Karkh district of Baghdad Province was completed, as was a $390,300 border-post project on the Saudi Arabian border. A division headquarters building for the Iraqi Army in Salah Ad Din Province was also completed this week. The $7 million project includes a single-story building with a concrete roof and interior office space to accommodate the unit. Additionally, a $2 million firing range in Taji was completed this week.

To accommodate additional detainees, a new prison project was started in Khan Bani Sa’ad, a mountainous municipality in the Ba’quba District of Diyala Province. The $75 million project will house up to 3,600 inmates. The entire site is approximately 550,000 square meters, which includes an educational center, medical facilities and administration buildings. The project will employ approximately 1,000 Iraqi workers during construction.

In another move that highlights the increasing turnover of security responsibilities to Iraqi forces, generals from Iraqi and Coalition forces joined local tribal leaders at a ceremony where Forward Operating Base Dagger in Tikrit, one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces, was officially handed over to the 4th Iraqi Army Division this week.

Iraqi Security Forces continued training this week. In Taji, Iraqi soldiers completed a Strategic Infrastructure Battalion Train-the-Trainer course. The 90 graduates will go on to serve as instructors at an Iraqi Army training base. A class of future IA non-commissioned officers graduated from their primary leadership development course on Aug. 15 in Tikrit. Iraqi Army unit training also included combat lifesaving, staff training, computer skills and weapons training.

This week, the 1st Iraqi Army Brigade succeeded at implementing the first Non-commissioned Officer Academy in the country. Iraqi soldiers from the most recent class were the last group to be instructed by the U.S. Soldiers who had developed the training. During Saddam Hussein’s regime, an NCO corps did not exist in the Iraqi Army. The class will continue after the U.S. instructors leave, and will be taught by NCOs from the 1st IA who assisted earlier courses.

Baghdad police continued to demonstrate their capabilities this week. Iraqi Police Service officers in the New Baghdad District conducted a variety of operations including raids involving over 450 officers. Police confiscated 30 AK-47 rifles, two hand guns, and one machine gun during the raids.

They also arrested 30 suspected insurgents, three of whom were targeted in the raids. In addition, police at the Al Khanssa Police Station in Baghdad captured a kidnapper involved in the abduction of a local physician, whose family paid a ransom to have the victim released. Following the arrest, police officers recovered the doctor’s vehicle as well as the ransom money paid by his family.

Iraqi Army soldiers found a weapons cache under a vehicle in Rawah this week. The cache contained two light machine guns and 3000 rounds of ammunition, nine AK-47 rifles and 500 rounds of ammunition, one NATO machine gun and 200 rounds of ammunition, four concussion grenades, one fragmentary grenade without fuses, and various other ammunition.

Based on two separate tips from Iraqis, Coalition forces discovered weapons caches that contained rocket-propelled grenades and two launchers, 16 mortar rounds and a launcher, and five boxes of anti-aircraft ammunition hidden in northwest Baghdad.

Another tip led Coalition forces to a large cache of artillery shells in the early hours of Aug. 16. The shells were apparently intended for use as improvised explosive devices. The 25 to 30 individual rounds, located inside a building within Al Anbar Province, were destroyed after security forces confirmed there was no one in the building.

After a local Iraqi identified his neighbors as insurgents, Iraqi Army soldiers and Coalition forces conducted a joint cordon and search operation in northwest Fallujah and detained two suspects.

Iraqi Security Forces killed terrorist Abu Zubair, also known as Mohammed Salah Sultan, in an ambush in the northern city of Mosul this week. Zubair, who was wearing a suicide vest when he was killed, was a known member of Al Qaeda in Iraq and a lieutenant in Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi’s terrorist operations in Mosul. He was being sought for his involvement in a July suicide bombing attack of a police station in Mosul that killed five Iraqi police officers. He was also suspected of resourcing and facilitating suicide bomber attacks against Coalition, Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi citizens throughout the country.

Local Iraqi citizens, along with the growing Iraqi Security Forces, are contributing to the security of their communities. Reconstruction efforts also provided Iraqis with improved basic services, paving the way for a safe and secure environment.