Friday, June 01, 2007

Why We Fight, Part II

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Imperial fortress beside the Tigris

The US Imperial embassy rises beside the Tigris River in Baghdad. The largest embassy of any nation in the world, larger than Vatican City and built as a fortress, it puts the lie to the claim that we are not intent on remaining in Iraq indefinitely.

At 104 acres, the US embassy under construction in Baghdad is roughly half the size of China's Forbidden City (177 acres), but still larger than the Vatican City.

Amazingly, the $592 million (!) project is coming along nicely, on time and under budget, according to informed sources. Not so amazingly, part of the reason is that the construction firm, Berger Devine Yaeger, Inc of Kansas City, MO, is using imported labor, which has raised some interesting questions.
This aerial plan shows that the embassy will be, in fact, a small city, albeit heavily fortified. Residents of the present-day embassy in the Green Zone (a former Sadaam Hussein palace) are required to wear flak jackets and helmets when going out of doors. The present embassy operations involve about 1,000 staff, and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. God only knows what they do.

From these virtual images, the embassy looks for all the world like a prison complex. Note the blast-resistant walls running around the entire compound.

These images were pulled from the Arthur Magazine website, as the same images on the BDY site were pulled at the request of the State department, for "reasons of security." An images request at BDY's site results in 404 error messages.

"In total, the 104-acre compound will include over twenty buildings, including one classified secure structure and housing for over 380 families," the Web site says. The compound will include the embassy building, housing, a PX, commissary, cinema, retail and shopping areas, restaurants, schools, a fire station, power and water treatment plants as well as telecommunications and wastewater treatment facilities.

One assumes that the brig facilities will be outsourced. Probably to Uzbekistan.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Why Congress caved to Bush

I don't like Patrick Buchanan very much. In fact I despise him, but the guy knows enough to call a spade a spade. Why did the Democrats in Congress stab their constituency in the back? Pat lays it out in no uncertain terms.

Why Congress caved to Bush

By Patrick J. Buchanan

05/25/07 "WorldNetDaily" -- -- The anti-war Democrats are crying betrayal – and justifiably so.

For a Democratic Congress is now voting to fully fund the war in Iraq, as demanded by President Bush, and without any timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal. Bush got his $100 billion, then magnanimously agreed to let Democrats keep the $20 billion in pork they stuffed into the bill – to soothe the pain of their sellout of the party base.

Remarkable. If the Republican rout of 2006 said anything, it was that America had lost faith in the Bush-Rumsfeld conduct of the war and wanted Democrats to lead the country out.

Yet, today, there are more U.S. troops in Iraq than when the Democrats won. More are on the way. And with the surge and retention of troops in Iraq beyond normal tours, there should be a record number of U.S. troops in country by year's end.

Why did the Democrats capitulate?

Because they lack the courage of their convictions. Because they fear the consequences if they put their anti-war beliefs into practice. Because they are afraid if they defund the war and force President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops, the calamity he predicts will come to pass and they will be held accountable for losing Iraq and the strategic disaster that might well ensue.

Democrats are an intimidated party. The reasons are historical. They were shredded by Nixon and Joe McCarthy for FDR's surrenders to Stalin at Tehran and Yalta, for losing China to Mao's hordes, for the "no-win war" in Korea, for being "soft on communism."

The best and the brightest – JFK's New Frontiersmen – were held responsible for plunging us into Vietnam and proving incapable of winning the war. A Democratic Congress cut off aid to Saigon in 1975, ceding Southeast Asia to Hanoi and bringing on the genocide of Pol Pot.

Democrats know they are distrusted on national security. They fear that if they defund this war and bring on a Saigon ending in the Green Zone, it will be a generation before they are trusted with national power. And power is what the party is all about.

Yet, not only does the situation in Iraq appear increasingly grim, with rising U.S. and Iraqi casualties, other shoes are about to drop that will reverberate throughout the region.

Support for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with his war in Lebanon a debacle and his leadership denounced by a commission he appointed, is in single digits. Waiting in the wings is Likud super-hawk "Bibi" Netanyahu, the most popular politician in Israel, who compares today to Munich 1938 and equates Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Hitler.

If and when Bibi comes to power, he will use every stratagem to provoke us into attacking "Hitler."

Also drumming for war on Iran are the floundering neocons and the Israeli lobby. Under orders from the lobby, Nancy Pelosi stripped from a House bill a stipulation that Bush must come to Congress for authorization before launching an attack on Iran.

With Democratic contenders reciting the mantra "All options are on the table," and Iran defying U.N. sanctions, pursuing nuclear enrichment and detaining U.S. citizens, Bush has a blank check to launch a third war.

Lebanon is ablaze. Gaza is ablaze. The Afghan war is not going well. The Taliban have a privileged sanctuary. The NATO allies grow weary.

In Pakistan, the most dangerous country on earth – one bullet away from an Islamic republic with atom bombs – our erstwhile ally, President Musharraf, is caught in a political crisis over his ouster of the chief justice.

Presidents Musharraf in Islamabad, Kharzi in Kabul and Siniora in Beirut, and Prime Minister Maliki in Baghdad, sit on shaky thrones. No one knows what follows their fall. But it is hard to see how it would not be crippling for America's position.

With such volatility in this crucial region of the world, with such uncertainty, it is easy to see why Democrats prefer to be the "dummy" at the bridge table and let Bush play the hand.

The congressional Democrats are cynical, but they are not stupid. If the surge works and U.S. troops are being withdrawn by fall 2008, they do not want it said of them that they "cut and ran" when the going got tough, that they played Chamberlain to Bush's Churchill.

And if the war is going badly in 2008, they know that the American people, in repudiating the party of Bush and Cheney, have no other choice than the party of Hillary and Pelosi and Harry Reid.

That is why congressional Democrats are surely saying privately of the angry anti-war left what has often been said by the Beltway Republican elite of the right: "Don't worry about them. They have nowhere else to go."

And that is why the anti-war left was thrown under the bus.

Copyright 1997-2007 - Inc.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

hree thousand, four hundred fifty four dead US soldiers in the Iraq occupation, and counting...

This president has lied to us from the beginning, and he continues to lie to us about the Iraq occupation. When he asks for the opinion of his generals, they tell it like it is and they get fired for it. But the truth will out, as seen here, in this letter from a former ground commander in Iraq.

General Eaton's Letter to President Bush on Veto May 1, 2007

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Today, in your veto message regarding the bipartisan legislation just passed on Operation Iraqi Freedom, you asserted that you so decided because you listen to your commanders on the ground.

Respectfully, as your former commander on the ground, your administration did not listen to our best advice. In fact, a number of my fellow Generals were forced out of their jobs, because they did not tell you what you wanted to hear -- most notably General Eric Shinseki, whose foresight regarding troop levels was advice you rejected, at our troops' peril.

The legislation you vetoed today represented a course of action that is long overdue. This war can no longer be won by the military alone. We must bring to bear the entire array of national power - military, diplomatic and economic. The situation demands a surge in diplomacy, and pressure on the Iraqi government to fix its internal affairs. Further, the Army and Marine Corps are on the verge of breaking - or have been broken already - by the length and intensity of this war. This tempo is not sustainable - and you have failed to grow the ground forces to meet national security needs. We must begin the process of bringing troops home, and repairing and growing our military, if we are ever to have a combat-ready force for the long war on terror ahead of us.

The bill you rejected today sets benchmarks for success that the Iraqis would have to meet, and puts us on a course to redeploy our troops. It stresses the need for sending troops into battle only when they are rested, trained and equipped. In my view, and in the view of many others in the military that I know, that is the best course of action for our security.

As someone who served this nation for decades, I have the utmost respect for the office you hold. However, as a man of conscience, I could not sit idly by as you told the American people today that your veto was based on the recommendations of military men. Your administration ignored the advice of our military's finest minds before, and I see no evidence that you are listening to them now.

I urge you to reconsider your position, and work with Congress to pass a bill that achieves the goals laid out above.

Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA, Retired

Major General Paul Eaton is a retired United States Army General and former Office of Security Transition Commanding General. He was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004. Eaton was commissioned upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy in 1972. He is fluent in French, receiving a Master of Arts from Middlebury College in French Grammar and Civilization.

Eaton's awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.

Also: Year Four: Simply the Worst