Saturday, December 23, 2006


As some of you may know, when one searches for the word failure in either google or yahoo, the first result is the official whitehouse biography for President George W. Bush. Though this may be humorous, what is somewhat more astonishing and sobering is the general realization which Americans are undergoing that the war in Iraq is a failure. Even conservative elements are now acknowledging this with astounding declarations.

Henry Kissinger told the BBC that the main goal of the U.S. is not possible to achieve: "If you mean by clear military victory an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible."(BBC Sunday AM)

Vietnam War veteran and Presidential candidate John McCain was quoted in a widely distributed newstory as saying that soldiers who are currently in Iraq, are "fighting and dying for a failed policy." That's getting pretty close to saying that they are dying in vain. McCain favors increasing the number of troops in an effort to stabilize the country.

The Iraq Study Group's report has some astonishingly candid declarations as well: "Sixty-one percent of Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces."

"Our government still does not understand very well either the insurgency in Iraq or the role of the militias."

Regarding the coordination of economic and reconstruction assistance by senior management in Washington it said, "Focus, priority setting, and skillful implementation are in short supply."

According to the report, the Iraq War has cost $400 billion and "estimates run as high as $2 trillion for the final cost of the U.S. involvement in Iraq. "

"The executive branch presents budget requests in a confusing manner, making it difficult for both the general public and members of Congress to understand the request or to differentiate it from counterterrorism operations around the world or operations in Afghanistan."

"Our embassy of 1,000 has 33 Arabic speakers, just six of whom are at the level of fluency."

The realization is so profound and the moment so transcendent, that the President has delayed announcing how he plans to redefine the course until January. Yet what has filtered through is that George Bush is supposedly seeking to temporarily increase the number of troops in Iraq in an attempt to stabilize the country. According to an L.A. Times article published today, the top ranking officer in Iraq, General George W. Casey Jr., who has long resisted increasing troops in Iraq, has now changed his mind and will recommend an increase.

The question this immediately provokes is, "If the number of troops is increased, won't U.S. forces become a bigger target?" This would be the case if indeed funding, insurgents, and terrorists are crossing the border from Syria into Iraq and the U.S. refuses to engage Syria and Iran in dialogue as recommended by the report. More U.S. troops may attract more fighters, thus escalating the conflict.

At this point it is worthwhile to once again quote from the Iraq Study Group report. One general was quoted as saying that, if the Iraqi government does not make political progress, "all the troops in the world will not provide security."

It is predictable that a short term increase will turn into a long term increase. This is consistent with the Administration's world vision and its overall goal of building a larger military. An Army official was quoted in the L.A. Times as saying, "The genesis is his long-held belief the global war on terror is going to be a long one and we're going to need a military capable of sustaining our effort to keep the country safe."

Running contrary to the specter of a larger regional conflict and runaway military spending which the people who guide George Bush appear intent on creating, is the idea that the United Nations should take over in Iraq as expressed by Yasar Qatarneh, director of the Regional Center on Conflict Prevention, in Amman, Jordan in an interview with Spiegel Online.

"I believe that Iraq is a case for the United Nations, with full and unrestricted backing from the European Union. The UN has to take over the country."

"A multilateral force of peacekeepers not associated with the US invasion and its bloody aftermath would have to take the place of American forces. Meanwhile, in return for a place at the table the insurgents would have to agree to reject al-Qaida forces in the country. Once a UN-sponsored peace and reconciliation process is in place, the Iraqi insurgents' goals, focused as they are on control of the Iraqi State, would be easily distinguishable from those of al-Qaida, which is waging a permanent war against the West, with Iraq as a sideshow. "

Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich who ran for President in 2004 and has announced that he will run in 2008 as well, expressed a similar view recently at a hearing in which the results of an investigation by the British medical journal Lancet revealed that 650,000 Iraqi civilians had died in the Iraq war.

"Now, I have no doubt that the best course of action for our nation is to extract ourselves from Iraq as fast as possible, while enabling the United Nations to establish a peacekeeping force. Such action would remove our troops from harm's way, remove the largest impetus for the violence and begin the healing process, which will take decades to complete."

"Our president does not seem to understand the necessity to get out of Iraq. Thus, it is imperative that Congress do the one thing the Constitution of the United States provides for: Congress must cut off future war funds and demand that the President use the current funds in the pipeline from the October 1st $70 billion appropriation to bring the troops home. "

In related news, the price of oil is rising and the dollar keeps losing its value against the Euro and other currencies.