Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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George Bush flew to Iraq last week to create one of those photo-opportunities that flatters the press into obsequious sucking. In a follow up press conference, he commented that an untimely withdrawal of troops would create the worst possible situation in Iraq. He should know. He wrote the book on creating the worst possible situation in that country.
His trip to Iraq was to shift attention away from the many troubles the military is facing there by focusing on the installation of an Iraqi government. The administration managed to get both houses of Congress to put forth initiatives on which the members voted concerning Iraq. This is the technique of misdirection.
In the ensuing debate, administration supporters have accused war critics of not wanting to win, of failing to support the troops, of being soft in the war on terror. These must be either the most dishonest or stupid--or both--people in the country. The Bush war on Iraq set up 2,500 American troops for slaughter. A slaughter that would not be necessary if false information was not used to manipulate the country into war. For those who had doubts about the original reasons for war on Iraq, such as Hans Blix, the Bush administration set up a campaign of malignity that ranks right up there with Nazi-Germany and the Soviet Union for slandering people it wants to portray as enemies of the state.
Now the justification for the war on Iraq is that it removed Saddam Hussein. No doubt, Hussein is one of the leading criminals against humanity, but he shares the billing with dozens of leaders throughout the world. The question is if we intend to take out those others who commit crimes against humanity, also. It is insulting to people of intelligence and good will to be inflicted with rhetoric so stupid and so dishonest.
But it does seem to divert attention away from some hard facts about Iraq. We have compiled quite a record of misconduct in this war with the handling of interrogations that are considered illegal by our own military rules and with the killing of civilians, such as the 24 in Haditha.
Dr. Silas, who was in Viet Nam and became a drill sergeant, and I had an exchange of e-mails on the responsibility of the commands over their soldiers. We recalled that as military instructors, we were told that we would be held responsible for any misconduct of personnel while they were under our direction. That made us hard-asses, to use the military nomenclature. When we were delegated responsibility for the behavior of troops under our supervision, we were told very clearly that we were acting in behalf of the command all the way up to the commander-in-chief. The rule was, "If you fuck up, the whole country fucks up." And so it was.
Because of the way military orders and tasks were established, I have never been able to understand what was going on at Abu Ghraib. I understand some things about what might have happened at Haditha. But I also understand that not all people who wear the uniforms of their country are models of good will, meticulous conduct, and lofty character. There are those who live to satisfy a blood lust. There are those totally devoted to self-gratification. And there are those who live with a driving resentment and schemes of revenge against someone for some reason. If they fuck up, the whole country fucks up. In Iraq, they fucked up.
In Iraq, George Bush fucked up. Royally. His trip to Baghdad and his "stay the course" song should not divert attention away from the misperformance that has got us into and kept us in this war.
Yes, something needed to be done about Iraq. But making it the worst possible situation our troops and our country could be in was not what needed to be done.
We support our troops who loyally and bravely do what they are ordered by the command. We do not support a command devoted to fucking up and covering up.
America needs to be a model of humane decency, not a model of perfidy and moral incompetence. That's what our founders wanted it to be. That ideal is what the Bush administration tries so hard to destroy.Check out this analysis in the Chicago Tribune