General Petraeus Takes The Hill

So, there were a couple of hearings on Iraq yesterday in the Senate.

There was the predictable charts and graphs showing a reduction in violence in Baghdad, the main target of the “surge.” (Surprising just how much ethnic cleansing a few well-motivated death squads can accomplish when they really put their minds to it.) And in Western Iraq, where the US is now paying protection money to some 100,000 “former” Sunni militants not to shoot at us, for now, while they prepare for an all-out civil war against the Shi’ites.

However, there was the awkward fact that some 66 people were killed and hundreds injured in Baghdad since Sunday alone, and 900 in the month of March, the highest recorded toll since September. Not to mention the death of 16 US troops since April Fools Day, or the relentless mortar bombardment of the heavily guarded Green Zone, which is now on emergency lockdown. (And as if the residents of Baghdad didn’t have enough to worry about, Condi Rice’s State Department announced a new contract with Blackwater USA, under investigation for the murder 17 innocent civilians six months ago.)

It took a while to drag it out of future White House candidate General David Petraeus and his sidekick, Ryan “Tonto” Crocker, but they’re definitely on the same page as George Bush. And the saintly, straight talking, war hero, John McSame, who for the fifth freakin’ time confused Arab Sunni al Qaeda with Persian Shia Revolutionary Guards. I guess that’s what happens when he doesn’t have Joe LIEberman whispering sweet nothings in his ear. But I digress.

Bottom line of the testimony? A bit circular in shape, but here it is:

We’ll be in Iraq for as long as it takes to accomplish whatever is necessary to insure we stay there forever.

Or at least as long as we’ve been in Japan, Germany, and Korea, which anyone with half a brain can see is basically the same thing. That is, if you overlook the fact no Americans in those places ever found themselves occupiers fighting an armed insurgency. Or forced into the role of policemen while playing both sides of a bloody sectarian civil war.

Other conclusions:

We must honor the sacrifice of tens of thousands of dead and grievously wounded Americans by sending a like number of their fellows to experience the same fate.

This is just so plain stupid that sophistry would be too good a label for it. But it should get an honorable mention at this year’s Darwin Awards.

We must instigate a post-surge pause in troop reductions to levels above pre-surge levels to prove how easily Congress was duped into funding a Trojan Horse escalation.

This will help Bush run out the clock and evade responsibility for the abject failure of his Iraq policies.

And what of the goal of the surge, providing the Iraqis with “breathing room” for political reconciliation? After giving props to Petraeus for doing as good a job as can be expected under the circumstances, here’s what Prof Juan Cole writes in his blog today:

“Al-Maliki started out with a national unity government. He had Sunnis in his cabinet. He had Sadrists in his cabinet. Islamic Virtue Party. Iraqi National List. All gone. His government is more fractured and less representative than before the surge began!”

Mission accomplished.


  1. Propagandee

    Hi Michael:

    Thanks for the kudos.

    I had the great fortune of reading Joseph Heller’s brilliant novel Catch-22 while I was still in high school, during the Vietnam War. It alerted me to the craziness of war you describe, and the often ingenious rationalization structures used to justify it.

    “There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

    “That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” Yossarian observed.

    “It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.”

  2. Michael Hart

    “We must honor the sacrifice of tens of thousands of dead and grievously wounded Americans by sending a like number of their fellows to experience the same fate.

    Just excellent, Prop. . . when you finally see war as it is, it’s so fucking insane.

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