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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bookends (Three Sets)

From June 22 to June 28, six different stories gained some press covereage and were interesting enough as individual events. However, they act as bookends around three larger stories which are all part of a larger plot with a disturbing theme.

ONE -- Right and Wrong and Abu Ghraib. These both happened last week:

a) The June 24 airing of 60 Minutes included a re-run of the story of the soldier from Cumberland, ML who turned in the photos of the Abu Ghraib abuse to CID officials for investigation. A hero? Hardly. At least not in the eyes of his own hometown. Even the local VFW leader criticized him for putting Iraqis (nevermind mostly INNOCENT Iraqis) above his own platoon.

b) The June 25 issue of The New Yorker included an article by Seymour Hersch about Major General Antonio Taguba and the investigation he lead into the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. (#1) Taguba states he was "legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority." Taguba highlights several events which confirm interrogation techniques suggested by Major General Geoffrey Miller, reassigned to Abu Ghraib from Guantanamo Bay, were reviewed prior to 2004 by senior commanders in Iraq who concurred with their recommendations, which provide the gray area of accountability in which the abuse took place.

Many Americans have not yet acknowledged the true immorality surrounding our war in Iraq. Not the immorality of the deceit that launched it, the immorality of the tactical decisions made once it began, or the immorality of the faulty "better fight the bad guys on their land rather than ours" logic still used to justify continuation of the war.

TWO -- The Future of Iraqi Democracy. These both happened last week:

a) On June 22, CBS reporter Lara Logan filed a report from Baghdad that the Iraqis themselves have already given up on President Bush's surge strategy. An entire "shadow government" has been gathering on the sidelines in anticipation of the collapse of the current government within WEEKS. They recognize the factions within the current government are incapable of compromise and merely intend to use whichever levers of government they manage to control for their own advantage and to isolate and often murder the opposition. Logan's report included an interview with former Iraqi general Aziz Yasari who, on camera, characterized the surge thusly: "This is a waste of time / lives."

b) On June 25, a string of bombings killed about 40 people. One of the bombings hit the Monsour Hotel, thought to be one of the most secure buildings in Anbar province. The attack was conducted by a bomber who passed multiple security points to reach the lobby of the hotel where leaders of one alternative coalition were meeting. One of the people killed? Aziz Yasari, the very same guy interviewed by Lara Logan about waiting for a new government to emerge from the rubble of the current chaos. (#2)

The Iraq war certainly isn't over but America's Iraq war certainly is. We lost it. By every claimed objective at the start of the war, by every relocated milepost measure of success identified during the war, and by any useful criteria that could be identified now. No ifs, ands or buts. The only issue left is determining the lives to pride ratio that must be exceeded for our Congress to take the checkbook back and extract our troops from what will likely be a 20 year civil war. Democracy CANNOT work in an environment of polar opposites. It can only work where 75 percent of the citizens are roughly in agreement on 75 percent of key issues and the democratic process is used to steer the society on the little stuff. If no party in the society is willing to abide by ANY of the mores of any of the other parties, democracy will only last until it elects a faction capable of coalescing enough force and brutality to overtake and subdue the others.

THREE -- The Future of Democracy and the Rule of Law in America. These both happened in the last week:

a) On Friday, June 22, officials representing Vice President Dick Cheney filed a brief stating he has spent considerable time reviewing the Constitution and has decided he is not technically a member of the Executive Branch and therefore has no obligation to comply with document retention rules governing the White House or comply with subpoenas for Executive Branch documents. (#3)

b) After losing a 15-year Freedom of Information Act legal battle, the CIA finally released documents as old as 50 years old which confirm the CIA concocted a plan for the mob to kill Castro, tested drugs and chemical weapons on unwitting American citizens, intercepted private mail from US citizens sent abroad, illegally wiretapped reporters, spied on Americans, etc. The disclosure of the so-called "family jewels" confirmed much of the hysteria and dirty tricks involved with the previous great cold wars -- the one against communism and the one against people deemed insufficiently anti-communist. (#4)

We haven't learned a damned thing from 40 years of anti-communist cold war paranoia. The cold war evaporated when the opponent collapsed from within, leaving us with no bogeyman to scare the masses and distract us as our own government adopts many of the same centralized, top-secret-national-security, know-it-all tactics that toppled our previous idealogical opponent. Muslim terrorists have been more than eager to fill the role vacated by Communism since doing so allows America to become THIER bogeyman for exactly the same purpose --- distracting the Middle East masses from their own internal problems and solving them internally. The White House is filled with top leadership who earned post-doctorate degrees in paranoia from the Master -- Richard Nixon -- and have once again led America down an expensive, disastrous road.

You don't have to be a history major or music major to hear the rhyme in these events. The monotony of the tune is overwhelming.

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#1) http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/06/25/070625fa_fact_hersh

#2) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/25/world/middleeast/25cnd-Iraq.html

#3) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/22/washington/22cheney.html

#4) http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070627/27cia.htm