Thursday, June 12, 2014

Can We At Last Admit the Iraq Occupation Was A Waste? Have We Finally Learned the Lessons of Vietnam?

These questions bear asking as we behold  all the effort of 8-plus long years of Iraq occupation evidently all for naught as thousands of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq in Syria)  militants rage across the country - taking Mosul, Tikrit, Samara and bearing down on Baghdad. In the meantime, the $100m the U.S. spent prepping an Iraqi Army appears to have been wasted, along with the $150b reported wasted in Afghanistan this morning,  on equipment never used - only stored.  This, as we beheld images of the Iraqis cutting and running even tearing off their uniforms

Let us go down memory lane and recall here that every manjack with a brain knew Saddam was no angel, but at the same time no one would be stupid enough to displace him - given it was his strongman secular stranglehold that was in fact preventing Muslim factionalism and civil war between Shi'ites and Sunnis. Let us also recall, lest memories have become ossified or lost, that the U.S. actually cultivated Saddam as its own 'creature' (in the 1980s)  to leverage against the Iranians. (A video still exists from the media, likely found on Youtube, showing Donald Rumsfeld praising Saddam for his efforts.) In addition, the U.S. supplied Saddam with billions of dollars in weapons to carry on the fight against the Ayatollahs - some of which were believed to be the "WMD" the Bushies used as a pretext to launch the Iraq invasion. See e.g.

After being shoehorned into the Oval Office by the five conservo Supremes in 2000, Bush was now in position to implement the "Project for the New American Century" (PNAC) which had originally been designed for 1992 after an expected Bush Sr. election win. This plan had been originally designed by the likes of Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld to extend American power in the world starting in the Middle East, namely Iraq and Afghanistan. Oil also figured mightily into the planning, and no surprise a big Oil honcho (Halliburton) like Cheney would be humping and pumping it to the nth degree.

All the best laid plans went askew after Clinton won the 1992 election, and so the PNAC plan had to be put on hold, specifically its plan for an Iraq invasion and occupation.  The plan sprung to life anew after the Bush Jr. win in the 2000 general election (though Al Gore won the popular vote). Cheney, Wolfowitz et al knew they needed an excuse for invasion, however, since "Americans are still suffering from Vietnam hangover" as Wolfie once put it.  The event for springing into action occurred with 9/11 - and all the Bushies needed was a means to link Saddam to it - even if it was all bullshit.

The Bushies did a well known propaganda two step, first perfected by Hitler ("If you repeat a lie often enough, most people will believe it.") . They started by using the Reepo-friendly FOX bunch to keep repeating a link between al Qaeda and Saddam. As this specious crap kept being repeated the Bushies became elated as watching pro-intervention poll numbers increase. Now, they needed another more believable Act Two.

They attained it via a dog and pony show after enlisting  Colin Powell to be their stooge in front of the UN. Using every sort of ruse - from 'yellowcake' to aluminum tubes and alleged claims of possible "weapons of mass destruction" (from a rat named 'curve ball') - the Bushies pumped up a bogus case for invasion, just like Hitler and the Nazis did (using faked imagery of German fraus being raped by Poles) to justify an invasion of Poland in 1939. Once he had the U.S. corporate media on his side it was merely a matter of drum beating a sheep-like American public into giving him the poll numbers he desired to launch an invasion in March, 2003.

Those of us who knew history, watched the hijinks in disbelief, wondering how or why so many - especially in the media - could believe it. Some tried to head it off, like Joe Wilson in an op-ed in the WSJ, pointing to the fact the whole "yellowcake in Niger"  thing was a ruse. But Wilson was crucified by the Bush bastards in a vengeful media onslaught (mainly on FOX) and in addition they outed Wilson's wife  (Valerie Plame) as a CIA agent.  Not one damned thing was done to the putative bastard who did it, which is why I don't get exercised now when the same weasels insist Edward Snowden is a "traitor".

Let's also bear in mind that congress was the last bulwark to stop the Iraq invasion and they punted. Though yes,   Bush and his craven neocon slime confected an "Iraqi War Resolution" enough courageous congressmen could have killed it - but they were yellower than the yellowcake link the Bushies claimed- as most signed on to it. So even if Bush and his cohort designed the plan, congress as the last bulwark to preventing an outlaw act could have stopped it. They didn't.

And it indeed was an outlaw, illegal act - invading a sovereign state under a pretext to launch a pre-emptive war. Bush’s aggression then exposed other unsavory aspects about ourselves as a nation:  a willingness to violate Nuremberg Article IV to actually launch a pre-emptive, aggressive war just as the Nazis did when they invaded Poland in 1939. The rich humor of it all is that at the time the Bushies actually compared Saddam to Hitler!  Some 'Muricans actually swallowed this shit up and took it as gospel!

Again, to those of us who know and RECALL history, it also disclosed disturbing similarities to Vietnam.  For example, LBJ employed the ruse of the North Vietnamese firing on the Maddox and Turner Joy in international waters in August, 1964 as the basis to ramp up the Vietnam War. Later documents released under the freedom of information act showed it was all based on deceptions and lies.

 In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded that the Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there were no North Vietnamese Naval vessels present during the incident of August 4. The report stated regarding August 2:

“At 1505G, Captain Herrick ordered Ogier's gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, the Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first”

and regarding August 4:

"It is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night. [...] In truth, Hanoi's navy was engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on August 2"

In other words, the U.S. aggressors used it as a pretext to demand the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and launch a war that killed nearly 58,000.

In the aftermath, the more sober heads believed the U.S. had finally learned its lesson not to intervene in other nations on the basis of false pretexts. The losses, in blood and treasure, were just too costly. Vietnam rang up a loss of $269b compared with $ 4 trillion in Iraq.  The sad part is that our unjustifiable meddling in Iraq showed we never learned the lessons of Vietnam.

Worse, through all the years of military waste and intervention - in both Iraq and Afghanistan - we could have better used those trillions to  attend to our own nation's needs: repairing our crumbling infrastructure, bolstering our social insurance programs and providing money for students in affordable loans. What one hopes now, in the case of both Iraq and Afghanistan -  is that we finally re-learn the lessons we ought to have learned after Vietnam. That is to stay the fuck out of places where our immediate domestic security isn't threatened and not to invent bogus pretexts to make war on others. 

Were all those troops that went to Iraq and Afghanistan "fighting for my freedom"? Hell no! They were fighting for Wall Street, the Bushie opportunist Oil imperialists and their privateer companies (like Halliburton and Bechtel) and the advance of Amerikkan Neoliberalism. Believe it! (Some, of course, loved the 'high' of 'war' - as professed yesterday morning by the guy who did the recent documentary 'Korengal' and fought in Afghanistan. He claimed on CBS Early Show he got "addicted" to the "brotherhood" and the "action".)

It's about damned time future troops understand what they're getting into before they enter some hyped- up "freedom crusade" - and they also understand that when they sign onto a "volunteer army" (even for later supposed "benefits")  they become de facto mercenaries in the service of war capitalists.  As for getting "high" on the fighting, and "brotherhood" - I suggest they join a gym, take up amateur boxing, and sign on to a club volunteering in positive ways to assist their communities. You don't have to blow up villagers and kick down their doors to get "get high". Or shoot them dead.

To that end, all citizens also need to understand how Bush has recently  tried to whitewash his crimes in Iraq using the venue of his Bush Library. To see Rachel Maddow's  take down of this nonsense, go to one of my previous blog posts here:

When the militants finally get to Baghdad, as they will - and the media will show the imagery non-stop-  let's remember all the above and how we really only have limited control over our own plot of the planet. Let's mind that before we fuck around with others in the future! The Neocons, their puppets in the media (like the WaPo's Trudy Rubin) and other miscreants will scream for "boots on the ground" but that ain't an option! Besides, with a backlogged VA,  where will all the additional wounded go for care?  If the Reepos aren't going to fund the VA they have no right to call for any more wars, or ground troops!

See also: