Just Above Sunset
May 23, 2004: Notes on the War Scandals
My friend Ric in Paris sent along these comments this week.
Bonjour Alan –
People in New York City are worried that 'the terrorists' are going to be looking for revenge. They are worried that they will be the target because wars no longer only pit trained soldiers in uniform against each other. Of course the people in New York City have already been hit, so they know it can happen, and they are pretty convinced that nobody in Washington will do anything to stop it. This is the only result - of the all-out 'war on terrorism' waged by armchair neocon hawks.
While few outside of America are 'surprised,' potential victims in America are disappointed and afraid. They lack hope. When New Yorkers become hopeless, this is a danger signal.
Is there anybody there with any ideas about how to get out of the mess the United States has created for itself? Try to guess what it means if the answer is 'no.'
If 'no,' expect the folly to continue. You have, as they say, not seen everything yet.
I am not following any of this carefully. I didn't 'follow' Vietnam either. But if any remember it - a classic example of folly - that war wasn't over in '69; it dragged on until '74 or '75, ending with the United States escaping from Saigon with only the shirt on its back.
The United States looks like it is setting itself up for another debacle and doesn't appear to have any way of changing the course of history that it's following.
What 'friends of America' think about this is irrelevant. What Americans think of it - well, it's your future. It's time to sit down and think your way out of the situation. This is not a reassuring message given the way things seem to be.
Yes. We created a mess.
Fred Kaplan has the best
summary you can find of the trap Bush is in with this prisoner abuse business in Iraq.
The White House is about to get hit by the biggest tsunami since the Iran-Contra affair, maybe since Watergate. President George W. Bush is trapped inside the compound, immobilized by his own stay-the-course campaign strategy. Can he escape the massive tidal waves? Maybe. But at this point, it's not clear how.
One thinks of the old “spies
and corrupt politicians” movie No Way Out – not a very good film (Kevin Costner is awful as usual)
but a great title.
The gist is that last year, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put in
place a secret operation that, in Hersh's words, "encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners
in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq."
Yep. That’s about it.
… Bush knew about it. Rumsfeld ordered it. His undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Steven Cambone, administered it. Cambone's deputy, Lt. Gen. William Boykin, instructed Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who had been executing the program involving al-Qaida suspects at Guantánamo, to go do the same at Abu Ghraib. Miller told Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of the 800th Military Brigade, that the prison would now be dedicated to gathering intelligence. Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy, also seems to have had a hand in this sequence, as did William Haynes, the Pentagon's general counsel. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, learned about the improper interrogations—from the International Committee of the Red Cross, if not from anyone else—but said or did nothing about it for two months, until it was clear that photographs were coming out.
In case you need at refresher
on one of these names, Lieutenant General William "Jerry" Boykin, see Who would Jesus assassinate? We ask our consultants. Lieutenant General William "Jerry" Boykin and his Christian Army learn from the Israelis for details - from last December in the daily weblog.
All of these hound-hunts will be fueled by the extraordinary levels of internecine
feuding that have marked this administration for years. Until recently, Rumsfeld,
with White House assistance, has quelled dissenters, but the already-rattling lid is almost certain to blow off soon. As has been noted, Secretary of State Colin Powell, tiring of his good-soldier routine,
is attacking his adversaries in the White House and Pentagon with eyebrow-raising openness.
Hersh's story states that Rumsfeld's secret operation stemmed from his "longstanding desire to wrest control of America's
clandestine and paramilitary operations from the CIA." Hersh's sources -- many of them identified as intelligence officials
-- seem to be spilling, in part, to wrest back control. Uniformed military officers,
who have long disliked Rumsfeld and his E-Ring crew for a lot of reasons, are also speaking out. Hersh and Newsweek both report that senior officers from the Judge Advocate General's Corps went
berserk when they found out about Rumsfeld's secret operation, to the point of taking their concerns to the New York Bar Association's
committee on international human rights.
The torture at Al Ghraib is a direct reflection of George W. Bush's moral character, his political beliefs and his military abilities.
Bush resigns? Unlikely.
This issue updated and published on...
Paris readers add nine hours....